Dear Dartmouth North,
City planning aside, the vast majority of the problems in your community lie within your control. You are the criminals because your children are the criminals. There is nothing to do so they commit crime? Not true. They have no direction or control in their lives so they choose to find it one way or another. An ignorant parent shows little regard for their child's activity? That child will seek attention any way they can. They just want to know, at some level, you care about where they are and what they are doing. They come from an abusive household so they escape to an environment over which they can extend some control—gangs want their territory. Escape from an abusive family still leaves a person wanting a family. Their security, lacking in the family unit, is gained through an organized group of attentive and loyal brethren—fellow lost youths who will defend them to the death (at times literally). Don't assume your child is innocent just because you don't see the paint cans or lack knowledge of what "colours" represent. Know what your child is doing with his/her free time. Refuse to assume their innocence just because "my baby would never do that." There has never been a parent who was aware that their child would grow up to be a serial killer or a Nobel laureate. Our children can only become what we help them to become. And we have no one to blame but ourselves when they don't. The Boys & Girls clubs are great. And when they close, parental involvement has to step in to prevent "idle hands" that are all too easy to blame for problems that are a lot closer to home than most of us would care to admit. Suck it up, princess. You didn't obey all of your parents' rules. Take some responsibility in your life. If not for yourself, for your children…before you damn them and their futures.
By Matthew Campbell