I represent people that kill people. Some of the killers that I represent have not even reached the age of twenty. They are children. People constantly ask me, “how could you represent people like that?” My question is, “how could I not?”
By the time a killer has been placed in my care, the fact that we have failed as a community is glaringly obvious. And, while the community spews venom and hate toward my client for the horrible act that he/she has committed, I am mad as hell at the community, myself included, that failed this child. Many of the young male and female killers that I get to know are not psychopaths who need to be institutionalized for the rest of their lives. They are children that have lost their way because they believe there is no hope for their lives. They are forced into situations and circumstances they have absolutely no control over, and, they are not equipped to deal with these circumstances.
What is a young boy or girl, with a crack addicted mother supposed to do when he spends many nights hungry and cold?
What is a young boy or girl supposed to do when their parent has so many children, despite his or her best efforts, they are not able to properly care for their babies?
What is a young girl or boy supposed to do when they are raised by parents who lack the capacity to teach them right from wrong?
What is a young girl or young boy supposed to do when his or her parents do not see the value in education as a means to potentially overcome poverty?
What is young girl or boy supposed to do when their parents primary concern is current day survival so they are quick to label their children, understanding that the proper diagnosis will bring additional income into their homes?
What is a young boy or girl supposed to do when he or she has a parent that simply does not love them?
Many would argue, the child is supposed to pick himself up by the “boot straps” and work hard so that he/she can rise above the circumstances to which he/she was born. I would argue that such a mindset is putting a tremendous and unreasonable burden on children. How have we become so detached, and cold, as a society that we place the responsibility of survival on a child whose biggest worry should be whether or not he can finish his homework fast enough to get some free time to play?
What is even more shocking is that many that adopt this “boot strap” approach, are parents that are doing their level best to provide a nurturing and loving environment for their own children. Because they see the value, when it comes to their own children, of love and support. To them I simply ask, why do you provide so much love and support to your children if it doesn’t matter?
As a community, i.e. village, why do we take the easy way out? Why are we so quick to play the blame game? Why would we rather shun the parents for being “sorry” and “dead beats” instead of using that energy to breathe life and hopefulness into the lives of a young child. The reality is, everyone is not born into a loving, supportive household. Nevertheless, all children, despite their circumstance deserve a chance to thrive and succeed in this world.
As a community, i.e. village, we should all commit to that child that:
goes home to an empty refrigerator,
shows up for school in dirty clothes,
doesn’t have a warm coat,
needs a little extra help with math or reading,
doesn’t have parents that are equipped to nurture and love.
If enough of us truly embrace the village concept, I guarantee we can make a difference. If you don’t believe me, just try it!