Day after day we read about senseless shootings on Buffalo's mean streets. The perpetrators are getting younger and younger. In a recent week, 13-, 15- and 17-year-olds were arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
As a social welfare examiner for the Erie County Department of Social Services in the emergency aid unit, and the mother of a police office and a teacher, I am deeply disturbed and believe that much of the answer to the question, Why?, is the result of how social agencies attempt to aid and assist the underprivileged in our community.
Every single day we see homeless families; most often they consist of a mother and her child or children. Rarely is the father in the picture. These children are dragged from shelter to shelter, and the odds are certainly against them. Often the mother cannot take care of herself, let alone her children. They are truly the victims, and in turn, they are very hostile and angry at a very young age. It is then that society, in general, becomes the victim. No one is safe from their anger and their wrath.
Illiteracy and illegitimacy is higher in Buffalo than it is in New York City. A system is in place that continues to enable and reward socially unacceptable behavior. Generations of lives are being sacrificed because of liberal attitudes toward the poor. We have no expectations of this population and encourage behavior that is detrimental to society.
Many years ago, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan could see the handwriting on the wall and feared for inner-city survival. He said he believed part of the solution was to "cut off their life line." Needless to say, liberals were appalled. Well, the result of our continued enabling, expecting nothing in return, is certainly at hand. Senseless murders every day -- no regard for authority is an everyday occurrence in the City of Buffalo.
I would hope that all politicians and community leaders would stand up and confront the problem head on. We cannot continue to blame "society" for these young parents' inability to take proper care of their children. Choices are made to bear these children when they are fully aware that they cannot take care of them. How can a community offer jobs to the vast majority when they are uneducated and refuse to take responsibility for themselves?
Though the answer will never be easy, it is time these young parents take responsibility for their actions or risk losing their children. Perhaps Newt Gingrich was correct in stating that orphanages may be a viable option. At least these children would know they had a place to sleep, know that they were going to have three meals a day and were not going to be subjected to drug and alcohol abuse on a daily basis.
The time is at hand where we can no longer make excuses for the individuals who are responsible for the violence that is destroying our community fabric. This issue should be a priority for every politician, educator and community leader, regardless of race or religion.
Rosie Evans lives in Buffalo.