To The Daily Sun,
The recent incident in Claremont, N.H., where a group of teenagers pushed a biracial boy of eight off a table with a noose around his neck was despicable. The poor kid wound up in the hospital. My best thoughts and prayers go out to the boy and his family.
Of course, due to laws protecting the identities and records of juvenile offenders, we do not know all the details. It may have been a true hate crime or it might have been some ill-raised teen’s idea of a “joke.” In fact, it is probable they will use that as an excuse. Whatever the motive, it was not at all “funny” and those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We have such laws to protect juvenile offenders at an age where they may not totally understand the nature of their behavior. However, for older kids, like teens, sometimes they are turned over to the adult criminal justice system on the principal that “if you commit an adult crime, you do adult time.” Depending on the age of the defendants, this should be given serious consideration in this case. The current political climate created by our president and his ilk encourages racial and anti-Semitic violence and strong messages need to be sent that we do not tolerate this behavior in our state or our nation.
I am glad the governor is asking the N.H. Attorney General to investigate fully but if this was a hate crime, should not the Feds be called in? Again, we have a lack of information but could the teens in question have been part of an organized hate/white supremacist group? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), New Hampshire is not immune to such groups and these groups do exist for young people.
There are all sorts of reasons kids might do something so horrible but bad parenting certainly plays a role. Most people, including young people, know this sort of thing is terribly wrong. Were the kids being parented in such a way that the teens thought something like this was O.K.? Kids are not born racist. They have to be taught that.
Perhaps the parents need to be investigated and if they in anyway encouraged this, at the very least they should lose custody of the kids responsible for this atrocity. Although it is difficult to do, could the parents be prosecuted if they encouraged these actions in any way? “Parental rights” often go too far. Parents normally have a right to raise their kids according to their own values but they do not have a right to raise children with THOSE values. Hopefully, all these questions will be answered in the investigation.
E. Scott Cracraft