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I often don’t bat an eye at crime reports much anymore here in the Santa Clarita Valley as most are minor car break-ins, shoplifting, burglaries, and the occasional domestic violence. Every once in a while, there is a horrific murder; for the most part crime has been falling in SCV. But last week there was one that stopped me in my tracks when I read about it in a Sherriff’s department release. Four teens, around sixteen-years-old, robbed the Circle-K convenience store at Decoro Drive and McBean Parkway. They stole beer and cigarettes while stabbing the store clerk, a veteran and retired police officer, before running off.

Why?

These are young men that live in the neighborhood near the Circle-K. They are all presumably from decent families and are in school. I can almost comprehend that they might have wanted grab some beer and run—petty shoplifting—but taking it beyond common decency and stabbing a hardworking clerk; that makes no sense whatsoever. Thankfully the store clerk will survive his wounds after undergoing surgery.

All I can surmise is that there is a parenting problem with those families. The parents are equally at fault for what their children have done. Yes, I blame the parents for raising a child that would go out and commit such a heinous crime because it is a sign to me that the parents shirked their parental duties.

We have all seen some of the disrespectful, spoiled brats that are being reared in parts of the Santa Clarita Valley. Just last year, one beat-up a mentally disabled student at West Ranch High School. Another, trying to show off to friends, gunned his car turning through an intersection so fast he lost control and totaled it on a traffic light pole. I’ve witnessed other incidents where high schoolers were abusive and out of control in public to strangers.

That shows me the parents are not doing their job—likely because they are self-absorbed preening on themselves—a common practice among the soccer mom set in SCV. The results are evident; garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t teach your children right from wrong, how to behave, to be respectful, to say please and thank you; then what do you expect the results will be? Exactly, just like those four that robbed and stabbed the convenience store clerk, offspring that don’t know basic decorum.

I have no doubt that those parents were shocked at the arrests. I’m sure that they are trying to defend their kids as well, but what those teens did is indefensible. As it stands, one is being charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and two counts of robbery. I hope that the District Attorney will charge him as an adult. That guy needs to go to prison for a long time and frankly so should his parents.

Unfortunately, there will be all kinds of plea bargaining going on because to the parents it was all a mistake, these teens didn’t mean it— they made a bad choice and need another chance. I can hear it all now and see the hand wringing. Yet, I believe that at least the one that did the stabbing should be held up as an example to other wayward teens and their parents. He should get the harshest possible sentence, he doesn’t deserve a break and neither do his parents. In fact, the store clerk should file a civil suit against the parents for their breach of parental responsibility that allowed their child to commit such a crime, they are equally responsible.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of parents that are doing it right, but there is a disproportionate that are not in SCV. Maybe holding the parents equally responsible for crimes will make other absentee parents take notice.

Instead of throwing money and cars at their kids, they might make them work for it—teach them to take responsibility for their actions. Instead of being bullies, thieves, and shallow individuals, some of these truant parents might want teach their children to be respectful, charitable, and moral young adults.

We can all dream.

Dave Bossert—Commentary

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on several boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.