Oct 21, 2005

And A Child Shall Lead Them

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One of the most disturbing aspects of the North Toledo riot for me was the age of many of the protesters. In this photo (once again by the mighty Isis) a very young man leads the charge back up Mulberry Street after the first wave of teargas cannisters and flash-bang devices had been fired.

This fearless-looking boy of perhaps 10 years of age was not intimidated by the presence of police in riot gear, nor of the SWAT team in the front of the police forces. I am momentarily setting aside the issue of why this child was present at the riot; I do not know his circumstances, so far be it from me to comment on his family situation.

Why, though, would this young man have such conviction that his path lay in seeking direct conflict with Toledo Police? What events in this child's life could cause such distrust of the police that he would seek this type of confrontation?

There are complex social issues at play here - pervasive poverty, declining economic opportunity, and struggling parents, to name just a few - influencing the life of this child, and simplistic "lock 'em up" responses do nothing to improve the conditions that helped shape the life of our young friend.

Until we stop ignoring neighborhoods like LaGrinka, scenes like this will become all the more common. Perhaps, if nothing else, the North Toledo riot on October 15 will force us to take a hard look at what needs to be done in American cities.

Photo copyright 2005, Isis.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

creepy

Anonymous said...

who is that child?

IsisDC said...

He is the child in all of us....

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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historymike said...

Dear neo-Nazis:

If you want to spew hate, go somewhere else. Don't waste your time typing racist nonsense.

It will take you 5 minutes to type your hate-filled missive, and 1.4 seconds for me to delete it.

It's not an efficient use of your time, and, frankly, there are much busier blogs in which you can flame and troll.

Have a nice day!

Mrs. Phoenix said...

He is a child that should be involved in a positive prevention program like Self-Expression Teen Theater (SETT). Unfortunately, this organization, which has been in existence since 1986, has a waiting list of children who are mostly SELF-REFERRED. This is because SETT receives FEW FUNDING DOLLARS; yet this agency is known to be FISCALLY SOUND AND EFFICIENT.

And that is the problem. There are agencies like SETT that exist in this city, but are not being allocated the dollars to serve the community. That is the REAL reason why October 15th will go down in the local history books!

Lady Phoenix

Anonymous said...

Could it be that he was put up to it by the "bloods" standing behind him?

Hooda Thunkit said...

A strong family sense of religious values and parental involvement in the child's early education, to me, would be a pretty good place to start.

Sadly, these are fading from our society, which is in decline...

Anonymous said...

Holy paternalism. I'm annoyed that you would make assumptions that have broader implications about this kid's family and life based on the fact that he was participating in a riot or protest. Did anyone think of the positive aspects of this or look into the history of social protest movements? Children are a part of the community which means that at times they are apart of social protest movements.

The paternalism of this entry to me stems from its underlying assumption that because a kid was involved in a riot he must have bad parents. That's not really doing much better than the kinds of racist generalizations that the NSM was spouting.

But maybe I'm missing something.

historymike said...

Yes.

You are missing what I wrote:

"I am momentarily setting aside the issue of why this child was present at the riot; I do not know his circumstances, so far be it from me to comment on his family situation."

I specifically did not make assumptions about this child.

Read my post again, dear anonymours reader.

I did use the words "struggling parents" to describe the area of North Toledo. I think that is a fair assumption, given the poverty, unemployment, and pervasive addiction problems in Toledo's poorer neighborhoods.