We like to think that horrible acts only occur in far-away places. But this morning, I was reminded that sometimes they happen right under our noses. This past Saturday night, two teenagers attacked a man sitting on a bench in Downtown Summit. (There was an article in this morning’s Star-Ledger. ) While these two local teens were beating a Summit resident who had just finished his shift at a local restaurant to death, a third teen filmed the entire episode and then posted it on youtube.
We do not yet have all the facts. But it is clear that as a community, we need to figure out a response to this. Something is very wrong when a group of local kids thinks that this is entertainment on a Saturday night and that it is so cool that they should share a video of the incident with friends.
I know that most kids would not have made the same choices as these three – despite their exposure to violence in film, on TV, in video games and on the internet. However, I think we need to have a conversation about the impact of all these images on our kids.
There was an article in yesterday’s NY Times about the impact of violent images on the people who are hired to screen those images and pull them from the internet. These are adults who go into the job knowing exactly what they will see and they get counseling. Our kids are – for the most part – on their own.
As a community, we need to do a better job of guiding our children through vast quantity of information and images available to them each and every day. If we didn’t already know that, this incident comes to remind us.