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19-YEAR-OLD SUSPECT IS NOT 'JUST A KID'

Listening to a local TV channel cover the surrender of a suspect in the shooting death at a local community center, I was shocked to hear: "He's crying his eyes out, he's scared, he's a 19-year-old kid."

Excuse me? Nineteen years old is not a kid. He is old enough to vote. He is old enough to serve his country in the military. He is old enough to accept responsibility for his actions. And he certainly is old enough to know right from wrong. It is wrong to carry an illegal weapon. It is wrong to fire that weapon. It is wrong to cause the death of another human being because of a basketball game.

I am tired of hearing people make excuses for individuals who act irresponsibly by claiming "they're kids." When are more people going to stand up and demand that parents, community leaders and politicians insist that "kids," regardless of their age, must be accountable at home, in school and on the streets?

It is the failure of any and all who do not teach morals and ethics to these "kids" that is at the root of today's social decline.

DONALD J. VOIT

Buffalo

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