Off the rails

It’s an age-old question, but a hopelessly quaint one: What’s the matter with kids today?

Historically, the answer has been: not quite as much as adults think. It used to be that the question was an overreaction – to hair length, to Elvis’ hips and such.

Today, however, it’s a very good question with an extremely urgent and vexing answer: plenty.

Just a couple of recent examples:

Two 12-year-old boys in New York Sunday dropped a shopping cart four stories onto a woman – just for fun. She likely would’ve died, if not for a doctor who happened to be nearby. As it is, she was in a medically-induced coma early this week.

The woman, identified as Marion Salmon Hedges, was out with her 14-year-old son buying Halloween candy for underprivileged children.

The New York Post reports that the two young suspects were laughing and joking as they were led away by police.

Closer to home – literally – a gang of teens and an 11-year-old were in custody after a home invasion Sunday in Grovetown in which a woman was forced to the floor at gunpoint. Only the sound of a man upstairs – reportedly locking and loading a gun – inspired the assailants to flee without further mayhem or injury.

Thank goodness the resident was armed. Unfortunately, no weapons can protect one from falling objects.

And how utterly perverted that the shopping cart in New York managed to find someone on a humanitarian mission.

In Aiken, S.C., a 10-year-old trick-or-treater – playfully threatened with having his candy taken – brandished a 9-mm handgun at the teaser. He had the ammunition on his person at the time. Unbelievable.

In Florida, reports say a 9-year-old girl recently threw a four-felony tantrum that included spitting on a school bus driver, throwing rocks at the bus and tossing a patio chair at a law enforcement officer and threatening, in profane terms, to kill him. Unbelievable.

In Columbia County, two Greenbrier students have been arrested this week in an alleged plot to kill a classmate. Unbelievable.

So back to the question: What’s the matter with kids today?

The answer: with the vast majority, not a thing. But with the few, there is seemingly more wrong than ever before. There have always been wayward youths, but there’s a sociopathic edge present today that is more pronounced and widespread than we ever remember. When 12-year-olds are dropping heavy objects on innocent passersby for sport and 11-year-olds are participating in home invasions, at least one of society’s wheels is completely off the rails.

Home invasions are a particularly alarming incarnation of evil – even when there’s an acquaintanceship, as there apparently was in the Grovetown case. Since this country’s founding, it’s been an American birthright to be secure in one’s home. Increasingly, that sacred line is being erased by a growingly brazen and amoral criminal class.

One has to suspect it’s all due to a great convergence of some not-so-great influences: absent and awful reproductive vessels parading as parents; an anything-goes culture that not only eschews moral values but mocks them; omnipresent entertainment media that have no core principles; the God of life being replaced by the gods of materialism and indulgence; packs of self-absorbed youths who’ve been fed cartons of imitation self-esteem, and whom adults no longer feel empowered to correct. The list goes on.

As long as adults don’t hang together, they’ll hang separately.

Or have shopping carts dropped on them during the commission of a good deed.

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