Childrearing

Five Indianapolis Teens Shot: Police Say Parents Are Partially Responsible

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Indianapolis St. Patrick's DaySt. Patrick’s Day seems like a fun-spirited and harmless holiday filled with green beer and plenty of shamrocks. It’s never been my favorite, but lots of people who aren’t exactly Irish still take the opportunity to celebrate and have a good time. I’m sure that’s what most revelers were expecting as they congregated in downtown Indianapolis this Saturday evening.

The entire downtown area was in high spirits, with parties all along the green-dyed canal in the city. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all toasts of “Slainte.” That night, five Indianapolis teenagers were shot while out with their friends. Ranging in age from 14 – 17, none of the adolescents were killed, though some did land in critical condition.

All together, there were two gunshot wounds to the legs, one to the back, one to the chest and one to the face. There were four male victims and one female. As of Sunday, only two were still in the hospital, both in serious condition.

The incident stands out because it wasn’t a single shooter on a rampage. This wasn’t an individual targeting people he conceived to be his enemies. This was a fight that broke out between two groups of kids. Though the police haven’t specified yet, there’s the opportunity that these shootings were the result of multiple guns being wielded without much experience by young kids who don’t realize the severity of their actions.

So far, no arrests have been made in this case, but it hasn’t stopped the Indianapolis Police Chief from issuing a statement about the shootings. And he definitely points out one group of people who are partially to blame for this weekend’s troubles: the parents of these teens who were hanging around downtown. Police Chief Paul Ciesielski said,

“Parents just need to be more responsible and not use the downtown as a baby sitter… Two of the victims were 14 years old. Why were they there at 10 p.m. without parental supervision? Who are they hanging with while downtown?”

The officer brings up a very valid point. Holiday or no, these kids were probably freshmen in high school. They were downtown with numerous beer tents and bar parties without any adults present. And of course, they somehow had access to firearms. As a parent, that seems like a questionable situation to allow your kids to walk into.

Then I think back to my own freshman year of high school. I’m pretty sure that my curfew was around 11 or 12pm. I was allowed to go out with older friends who had cars and were able to drive us around. While I would’ve never had a gun, I’m sure I had the opportunity to get one if I was really interested in it.

I don’t think that the existence of children in downtown Indianapolis on a Saturday night is the problem here. Minors with guns are definitely a problem. Minors who put so little value on human life that they’re capable of shooting one another to settle an argument are a big problem. Young kids who use violence to solve their issues instead of their brains are a huge problem.

If we’re going to put the blame on parents, we should probably make sure we’re directing it in the correct avenue. Letting your children out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the cause of this tragedy. Failing to teach teenagers to value life and respect their peers, that’s what made a news story out of Indianapolis’s downtown.

What do you think? Are the parents to blame? And what should we learn from these shootings?

(Photo: Drudge Report)