Re: Punk asses in burke walmart shopping center
Date: February 12, 2011 10:58AM
As a former local and Fed law enforcement officer, a local Fairfax County resident, and father of two "tweens" I understand much of the anger (fear?) of those expressing their views on this blog. Let me express my personal views -
1- it is not only right but a responsibility for us (adult residents of this community) to help keep our communities safe and sane. I say "help" because now matter how big and mean a person is, if you cross the line into taking issues into your own hands, you are no better than those you are combating. That being said, local law enforcement can only do so much, and it depends on both the local community leaders, businesses and residents to assist in these efforts.
2- local businesses have a responsibility to ensure they provide a safe environment. If all this activity is occurring primarily at the Walmart shopping center, have the businesses there been contacted to a) post no loitering signs, b) brought in shopping center security to patrol the area, and c) addressed their concerns with FFX County police? The local police need business to be proactive in these issues too. If residents don't want to shop due to real or perceived threats, then the businesses are the ones who are going to lose.
3- the wiring in kids brains is not finished yet. I was there, and from what I've read above, and so were you. So . . . don't aggravate the situation by backing into the kids and slamming on your brakes just to establish your moxie and then speed off when someone calls your bluff. Understand that prior to mid-twentyâ€™s most kids are a work in progress . . . some of us (them) take a little bit longer. They are from good families, bad families, rich and poor, one, two and no parents. It is not necessarily a choice theyâ€™ve had an influence on. But Iâ€™ll bet to a person, they all want to be someone of significance, and I also know from my experience that it is extremely rare to find a kid in this grouping that wants to be bad, a loser, in jail, waking up with cuts bruises or worse from a fight in some shopping center. How they get on the track to positive significance is influenced by both those close to them â€“ parents (if any) and friends, and their internal drive to do something good, right, and significant. What is good, right, and significant is a whole other subject so . . . back to this blog.
My recommendations â€“
1- Get involved with the shopping center management to address your concerns about safety and what they risk to lose by letting these kids take over. I donâ€™t recall if there is a roving security patrol, but this should be a priority along with posting signs about loitering (this will give security the authority to initiate (positive enforcement) actions.
2- Encourage shopping center management to meet with local law enforcement to express their concerns and develop a plan to counter the negative influences identified on this blog.
3- Donâ€™t surrender this shopping center to negative influences. Donâ€™t take them on by yourself, but by going through #1 and 2 above, and possibly establishing something akin to a neighborhood watch there a options that I donâ€™t have time to address here. An adult can have a lot of positive influences to these kids who quite possibly have not experienced a good upbringing. Stand firm with them, if necessary, assert authority. But be aware that kids donâ€™t think like an adult â€“ that is why many of the leaders of the murderous gangs in Rwanda forced teenage kids into their armies as the neurons in their brains had finished the intricate design. Many of these kids are eager to prove how brave and strong they are. If it comes to a physical confrontation, it is better not unless you have to protect yourself or your family. There is always strength in numbers. This goes both ways. Kids will feed on it; adults need to recognize it. You may have heard about the adult male who was attacked by a group of high school kids at the Lâ€™Enfant metro station several weeks ago. Of all the adults in the station at that time, not a single one came to his assistance. All it would have taken was one adult (male or female) to step in to help even the numbers. This was a sad commentary on our society when no one wanted to get involved. In may experience a group of kids (not hardened gang members) will back off when confronted by two or more adults.
4- DO NOT go on the hunt / create a confrontation by waiting in your car with a baseball bat. If at all possible leave confrontations to security and law enforcement.
I did not mean to write a sermon, but looks like this turned out to be more than just a thought. I could probably go on, but I'm burnin' daylight and got stuff to do.