Getting into mischief is nothing new for youngsters, but when it results in damage or even death, it’s downright dangerous and tragic.
Last Wednesday (Oct. 25, 2017) in Flint, Michigan, five teenage boys decided to play a game of “dinging” on an overpass above Interstate 75. According to print, online and broadcast reports, the boys threw 20 rocks onto passing vehicles below to hear a “ding” as the rocks hit metal on the vehicles.
One rock, unfortunately, smashed into a vehicle carrying two men heading home from construction jobs. One of the men, age 32, got hit in the head, and the 6-pound rock subsequently landed on his chest. He died, leaving behind his fiancee and their 5-year-old son.
The five teens, ranging in age from 15 to 17 years old, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and related charges. They remain in jail without bond and could face life in prison.
Some experts say that adolescents often act without thinking of consequences because that’s the way their brains are developing. True, but throwing rocks at moving vehicles — how could you not see that it is just plain wrong? Small or large, heavy or light, a hurled rock is going to do some kind of damage. These teens need to answer for their actions and be held accountable for what they did. If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.
Watching the broadcast of the boys entering a courtroom, shackled at the waist, and their parents’ reactions, was heartbreaking. No parent wants to see their child hurt or in trouble. On the other hand, no child should have to learn that daddy isn’t coming home again because of a senseless act.
With so many stories of young people in the news today involved in bomb threats, violent plots, fights, mischief and more, one must wonder why other youths see these incidents and copycat them. Maybe the think they are invincible, that “it can’t happen to me” or “I won’t get caught.” Unfortunately, it can happen, and they do get caught.
As parents, we need to educate, emphasize and remain involved in our children’s academics, activities and social lives. Know who they hang out with, communicate with and what they are doing. While things can, and do, still happen, if tragedies like the Flint incident can be prevented, it’s all for the better.