Editorial: Tough kids, tougher realities-A A +A
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
THE first two of three gun ban violators, the police reported are minors. All three were armed with sumpak, an improvised handgun with real bullets.
We can take heart from the first incident, where a 15-year-old suspect who figured in a riot and shot a boy in a rival group in Toril, was handed over to authorities by his mother. We can surmise that the mother, while losing control of her child, still knows that her son needs the help of authorities much more powerful than she is. There's hope for this boy for as long as the social welfare group closely monitor the child and that he is kept busy, whether in school or in some livelihood development program or if deemed needed, rehabilitation.
The second may be in bigger trouble because he was with his adult brother when they were caught in Buhangin after shooting a 33-year-old man. This boy is in bad company, worse because that bad company is his brother.
In both instances, these incidents are supposed to bother those in authority, and parents and elders of a community.
For kids to be the first to be caught violating the gun ban points to three scary facts: a) they are armed; b) they do not know the law, and c) they disregard the law.
Some may bring in the issue of their iability to truly discern what is right and wrong, simply because of their youth. That makes it even scarier. Armed children without discernment of right and wrong.
How can you crack down on these children not unless they break out in a riot or go around shooting some passers-by? It will be very difficult because there are many more looking like them, but are not armed. Children of the slums, children hanging out with their peers trying very hard to look tough.
This is where the family and the community comes in.
Granted that many of these children come from dysfunctional families, it is to the best interest not only of the child, but of the whole community, if their actions and words are kept in check by a constant reminder from respected elders.
It takes a village to raise a child. The villages now may not be the ideal and idyllic villages they used to be, but the concerns remain the same - a better future for the children. In the same way that life has become tougher for everyone, especially the adults; these same adults just have to take in the tougher challenges of rearing children in these tough environments.
That two minors were among the first three gun ban violators arrested in Davao City already points to a problem. It is up to the community to act.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 16, 2013.