When it comes to the alarming incidence of teen car thefts, we know that well-intentioned leaders such as U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and State Sen. Darryl Rouson are on the case for more youth programs. We also know that state legislators have tightened the law for the worst offenders, and that the Department of Juvenile Justice is rethinking its detention center operations.
Well and good, if inadequate for the here and now. We also need to acknowledge several overlapping bottom lines.
* There are a number of people in a position to make a theoretical difference in young lives, but none are more important than the adults at home. What good does it do to have more recreational activities if the operative question remains: “What else is there to do at 3 a.m.?”
* Even more to the point, joy-riding punks in speeding cars with no lights is an obvious public safety menace. It’s de facto domestic terrorism for all other drivers. This can’t be part of “the new normal.”
* Stupid enablers: How do you not lock your car and pocket your keys? It’s your property–and now you’ve jeopardized innocent lives because of what could play out.
* It’s been reported that St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway is planning to visit the Juvenile Detention Center to talk to “the kids.” Good idea. But what took so long? Pinellas County leads, as it were, the state in arrested car thieves. As a black police chief, Holloway is uniquely positioned for come-to-Jesus meetings with juvenile offenders, most of whom are black, some of whom will become road kill.
* “Black Lives Matter“: Any interest yet?