The Wasteland


Posted by: June Cross in June's Blog on May 14, 2009

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I couldn't help but shake my head in sadness when I read this dispatch from the Times-Pic about the murder of a Church of Christ pastor and his wife by an intruder looking to kill a witness in a carjacking trial.

Police chief Riley is quoted as saying "The youth in our community are hardened at a level that I have never, ever seen. "

And we wonder why.  You take a population that was traumatized and living on the edge before Katrina, put them through an even more traumatizing experience of dealing with Katrina, and tell them to go on and get on with their lives.  And we wonder why they act like crazy fiends from hell?  They have lived through hell.  In the eighties, when young men across the United States discovered Colors and began acting like hooligans gone wild, public health experts made a connection between early trauma and exposure to violence and expressions of violence on the streets.  The country even made a commitment to a series of violence prevention curriculum in the middle school and high school level.

No more.  Whenever I raised this issue in New Orleans while I was researching my documentary, folks just blamed a "criminal element."  Well, now we have a group of teens hardened into criminals by a city and a government indifferent to their suffering from long before Katrina.  And innocent people are paying the cost.