Others Experiencing Problems from Teenagers in Shaw/U Street?

“Dear PoPville,

On Friday, I was leaving work and walking to my car, parked on V Street NW between 11th and 12th. Typical scene– dog walkers, middle schoolers heading home, and so on. I got into my car and as I leaned out to close the door, one of the middle school girls slammed my door. At first I thought she was trying to show off in front of her friends, but soon those friends started kicking my car and abruptly ran off. I unsuccessfully tried to follow them, and I didn’t get a look at their uniforms to identify what school they were coming from. There was no damage to the car, but I’d really love to know if others in the U Street/Shaw area are experiencing similar situations so that we can open up a discussion on how to address the issue of teenage violence towards adults.”

95 Comment

  • Such a legitimate topic, but so tired of thinking about it. I just want these destructive people to act better.

  • gentrification anger…Im sorry but your world is changing.

    • They learn it from their parents. I and a group of friends had fireworks shot at us on July 4th by 10 year olds. Their parents were laughing. Can’t wait till their housing is finally all gone.

      • And there was a story a year or so ago about a woman arrested when her 5 year old (FIVE!) was caught lifting phones and wallets from purses at an outdoor restaurant– and she was the one who told him to do it.

      • Yep. And then they can study and work hard and choose positive and beneficial behaviors, and soon they’ll be able to pay market rates like the rest of us. Or they ought to be able to.

      • “They”.

        Oh yeah, that’s the kind of talk that will bring harmony to the city.

    • Children are angry at a car because of gentrification?

  • i had an issue with pre-teens and a few teenagers blowing spitballs at me on the green line. i got off at columbia heights where they proceeded to follow me (closely — within steps) out of the metro and taunt me, and make a few grabs at my purse. i waited in a local business and reported them to the police. the officer brushed it off as “schoolbus syndrome”, but i was still left pretty shaken.

  • Someday these kids will mess with the wrong person and while I’d like to think that they would learn a lesson, I get the impression that an inability to learn is exactly what has put them in such a situation.

    • Someone is going to go all Bernie Goetz on these kids and it’s going to be a media sh#tshow.

      • There are two benefits to that situation, though:
        1. ) that victim won’t actually be victimized, but will have the upper hand. Epic win for crime victims everywhere.
        2) that will hopefully start a serious, frank conversation between white people and young black teens and the parents of those young black teens about why race relations in the District are the way they are, and how that overflows into every conversation about education, social services, affordable housing, etc.

        Nobody says it because it’s not polite to say out loud, but if you look at those e-alerts from the city about crimes, 90% of them that have a suspect look out have one for a young black man (or group of black men). Seriously – go look at @DCPoliceDept on Twitter if you don’t believe me. People are afraid of young black men, and also to a lesser degree young black women, because all you see in those e-alerts, in the Post, and on blogs like this one are images of this demographic as criminals. And we’re all guilty of perpetuating that image, and what it’s done to our view as a society.
        The problem is that nobody talks about it – certainly not elected officials – so it never gets dealt with. It just goes through the same cycle again and again.

        • +10001

          Which means, unfortunately, you’d be an idiot NOT to “profile” when you find yourself in a vulnerable position, such as seeing a group of unknown black teens with dreads and droopy pants saunter towards you menacingly when you’re (for example) emptying the trash in your alley.

        • Oh please, ShawGuy. Of course there is a racial component to this but if you think it’s that simple you are really lacking any insight at all. This kind of crime is almost always by teen and young adult males, and usually they are poor. How many white teenagers live in Shaw? Any?

          So youth and socioeconomic class are much bigger parts of the problem, even though, yes, of course these crimes in this area are largely being committed by poor black youth. And I’m not naive. I’m very aware when I’m approaching groups of teens, especially if there are not many other people around, but let’s not make the issue be related to their color. It’s their age, poverty and lack of parental involvement.

          • @Kevin, I’d love to believe you, but I’ve lived in plenty of places all over the world where the overwhelming majority of poor young folks with disconnected parents were of other races, and they did not run around robbing people or kicking their cars or whatever else. They applied themselves and sought to better their lot in life. There is something else at play here beyond finance, age, and parental involvement – it’s cultural, and it seems to be pretty unique to the US, and pretty intense in DC. I don’t know exactly what it is or how to stop it, but it’s here, and it’s affecting young black men at an alarming rate.

          • Kevin, thank you for your thoughtful insight. ShawGuy obviously is adhering to the us versus them mentality. It is not just as simple as saying that poor black people commit crimes. Institutionalized racism perpetuates cycles of hopelessness and if they could work hard and have the same opportunities as some of you that were privileged enough to not grow up poor and black, they could get out of that cycle. The callous generalizations here, without facts is idiotic noise to make some of you feel better about yourselves. Why don’t you just join the tea party and start with your ‘bootstrap’ philosophy.

          • “Of course there is a racial component to this”

            So you assume, even though nothing is said about the race of the OP or the teens who kicked his car.

            And LOL @ your idea that (1) there is not one white teenager in the entire neighborhood of Shaw and no white teenager has ever walked through there and that (2) a teenager has to move into a neighborhood before he/she does something idiotic there.

            You should teach a class on Internet comment section assuming.

        • Yeah no one ever says that blacks are criminals. The problem is that when people like you share you’re wrong opinions about crime (no, whites aren’t the most likely victims of black violence), you corrupt the conversation and encourage half the voting population here to lose sympathy. “Us against them-ing” crime might work in other big cities where black people are a minority and there’s are a large enough bloc willing to dismiss the entire black population as criminals, but it’s a non-starter here.

      • people have been saying that for decades.

        • True, but it’s just a matter of time before it happens.

          • What, was Goetz a legendary fairy? If you want to shoot some teenagers, shoot some teenagers. He was just some guy with a gun, you can do it too if you want that to happen. What’s with mewing cowardice, hoping that some other person comes along to take the rap while you reap the benefits if you think shooting some bad kids on the train is all it takes to fix everything?

  • Yep someone I know got hit in the face by a group of kids last week in that area.

  • Unfortunately, the problem is that these children know that they can do whatever they like with no repercussions. They likely won’t get caught (what just happened in your case), and even if they did get caught, the juvenile justice system in DC lets all but the absolute worst of them go. And there is absolutely no will on behalf of the City Council to change things like that. Sometimes I think I am the only person in all of DC who abides by the laws and thinks being tough on violent criminals is a good thing.
    Personally, I’d be more than happy to have a bill pass the DC Council that says if you are found guilty of mugging someone or randomly attacking someone on the street that you have a mandatory minimum of five years in jail for your first offense and fifteen years in jail for your second offense. I’m even okay with life for a third offense – if you’ve done this three times, you do not deserve to be out walking among the rest of civilized society, and I sure don’t want you breeding a new generation of criminals to come up and take your place in twelve years. And, here’s the key – this guideline applies to every criminal age 12 or up. I’d also love to see some actual hard labor involved in the sentence. I hate to say it, but the thugs are getting younger and younger, and a lot of that is because they know if they’re under 16 that NOTHING will happen to them unless they actually murder someone. If there were actual, severe, seriously unpleasant consequences, they would stop. Or, at least they’d be off the street for five or fifteen years, which, if they won’t stop, is the next best thing in my opinion.
    The other solution is one most people are wary of, but that is pretty darned effective. I saw a guy get mugged by two kids a couple years back, and as soon as they had their backs turned, he punched one of them in the back of the head and knocked him down and then chased the other one for a half a block and tackled his sorry butt and pounded on him for a few minutes before taking his stuff back, getting up, brushing himself off, and continuing on his way. I know, I know, nobody likes hitting children, and they could have a weapon, etc, but I’m pretty sure getting his face beaten in made that kid think twice about doing it again to someone else.

    • Ah, the good old “Three Strikes” trope… didn’t work for other states and certainly wouldn’t help DC and our overburdened criminal justice system.

      • Yeah. Three Strikes is a huge waste of money. Can you imagine the court costs? Three Strikes only benefits the prison-industrial complex and attorneys. The tax payer is the big loser.
        I’m also have serious moral qualms with sending someone to prison for life for 3 muggings.

        • I would rather pay double in taxes to put them away than get killed by some teenage punk on his third violent offense before finishing 10th grade. I have no moral qualms at all with sending someone to prison for life after you engaged in not one, not two, but three violent attacks on an innocent person where if things had gone wrong an innocent mother or father or son or daughter could have been killed.
          I would, however, never be able to forget having to be the one to call some person’s family and say “I’m so sorry, but your loved one was just killed in an iPhone robbery gone wrong by a convicted criminal. Why wasn’t he in jail? Well, we just didn’t think long prison terms were a good idea for him. We were hopeful he might get better someday. Anyway, sorry about your dead child!”. We put down aggressive dogs after just one such encounter. At least these thugs get to live. Safely. In prison. Where they belong.

          • You clearly are not from California or another state that has seen just how bad a 3 strikes policy is.

          • Three Strikes is quite literally bankrupting California. The law forces the state government to send an ever-increasing amount of financial resources into the prison industry. Money that could spent on education, healthcare, business development, etc.
            Of course, if you removed the non-violent drug offenders from the prison system, you’d cut the prison population by more than half. So maybe let’s start with that first? Then we can discuss how to craft an improved Three Strikes Law.

          • I would love to be able to “put down” a violent teen after one offense. #notjoking

          • Three strikes for drug use might or might not be a good idea, and may or may not have driven California into financial ruin, but either way that it’s what’s being debated here or what I proposed. I propose dramatic, severe sentences for violent and intimidation based crimes, and that they escalate quickly for repeat offenders, up to and including life in prison the third time you pull something like this. These are people with no redeeming value to their lives, and there is absolutely no reason to allow them to interact with my kids or my siblings or my neighbors in any way ever again as long as they live.
            And @anonymous4:42 – I’m completely with you there. If someone at the Wilson Building proposed bringing back the death penalty in DC and managed to do it, I’d quit my job and work for them for free and I’d use my life savings to finance a parade for them.

    • I have a friend who was attacked by a 16-year-old who was bigger than him. This was about 15 years ago, and my friend was in his late 40’s or early 50’s at the time. The 16-year-old caught him by surprised and managed to take him down. My friend was able to turn things around, got the kid in a choke hold and put the kid out (my friend was a military veteran and knew how to do this correctly). He released the choke as soon as the kid was out, and didn’t do any more than he had to do to prevent the kid from hurting him. My friend was convicted of felony something-or-other related to child abuse and served time in jail for it.

      I’m all for defending yourself and not letting somebody pound you, but nothing good comes of beating up a kid, regardless of how justified it might feel.

      • That’s what you get out of your friend’s story? I get: how outrageous that your friend didn’t get a medal of honor instead of jail time.

        • Nah, I’m not such a deep thinker. All I meant was my friend did less than the other guy who was being lifted up as a hero in the previous post and he went to jail for it…so, as good as it might feel, don’t do that.

    • I’m actually 100% with ShawGuy.

      Thing is, during the transition period, a lot of people would get put away. But soon enough word would get out, and those informed enough and bright enough to make rational decisions would think twice about committing these now-costly crimes. And they undeterred? Throw away the key.

      I *def* would pay a little extra tax to remove predators from society.

      • Thanks @Anonymous4:34 – the one point I will make here is that while I think it is incredibly harsh to beat someone 50 to 300 times across a bare back with a leather whip for spitting gum on the sidewalk, you have to admit, there is no gum anywhere to be found on the sidewalks in Singapore. It’s harsh, but it’s sure as hell effective.
        We can have that kind of order in our society too, if we actually decide that we want it. Sadly, it seems like the majority of my fellow District residents would rather encourage more crime and acting out like this rather than seem like they don’t have faith that every young person who goes through the criminal justice system could / will be completely rehabilitated and end up winning humanitarian awards. The truth is ugly and it hurts, but the simple truth is most of them are beyond saving the minute they show up in a courtroom, and we are better off to realize that and protect ourselves from them no matter the cost or method needed.

      • Uh, I think you need to get a better grasp of Singapore law. Caning is for certain felonies, not spitting gum onto the sidewalk (which would be a massive fine).

        • There is in fact gum on the streets in Singapore though much less than in most places. It’s not a “massive” fine either, something like $400 USD. No worse than the littering fine in many US states.

    • So in a country that has far and away the highest percentage of its population locked up of any industrialized nation you are suggesting the answer is to put more people in prison — including children — for LIFE? I’m so glad you aren’t in charge of things, ShawGuy.

      These are complicated issues. Your solutions are not. And they won’t work (in fact, they are not working).

      I’m going to suggest that maybe you shouldn’t be living in Shaw. I think maybe Clarendon might be more your speed.

      • Meant to put my name on the above “Anonymous” post — Kevin (who still thinks your answers are simplistic…and cruel).

      • Seriously. Pretty much every place in the world that has a sizable population mired in entrenched, institutional poverty has much higher incidents of violence and crime. From Africa, to Europe, India, Latin America, and the United States the story is the same: if you live near poor people, your odds of being a victim of crime shoot up. A lot. Don’t want to be exposed to crime? Don’t live next to the poor. And especially don’t draw attention to yourself with all your nice things.
        Why anyone would expect that to change simply because a few upper-middle class white folks moved into Shaw, North Capitol Street, NE DC, or SW just boggles my mind. What did you expect when you moved into those places? The only way you’re going to solve DC’s crime problems is to forcibly remove the poor in these areas. Short of that and you’re tilting at windmills. Consider it a “cost of doing business” when moving into these areas.

        • So the solution is to only live in affluent areas and leave the poor to their ghettos? How unhelpful for everyone. It’s not about gentrification or which race gets picked on more or kids will be kids – everyone has the right to walk down the street and feel safe no matter your color or how many dollars you have in your pocket. It’s sad to say, but I think it’s more likely that affluent people who move into these neighborhoods are the ones who are finally being heard about the same complaints as community leaders who have been victimized for years. Some people get frustrated by the debate and pointing fingers and just throw up their hands and say, “&*$% it” – but, like Justice Brandeis said, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

        • Or, gosh, maybe we could try and DO SOMETHING about the level of poverty in this country?

      • @Kevin, we have such an incredibly high percentage of our population locked up because of the failed war on drugs, not because we take violent crime too seriously. That’s a separate topic.
        Personally, I’m more a fan of execution for violent criminals. If done correctly (read: NOT the way we do it in the US), it’s a lot cheaper, faster, and more efficient than life imprisonment.
        Like it or not, through some combination of genetics and nurture (or lack thereof), some human beings can be identified as being outside the acceptable range for morality and civil behavior. Sociopaths are an excellent example. Studies have shown that the part of the brain that is used for empathy and sympathy are literally *missing* in sociopaths. They can’t “learn” that – it is a “manufacturing defect”, for lack of a better term, that makes them dangerous for the rest of their lives. Instead of locking them in cages for years, I actually think execution is more humane. We do that for animals we find to be unable to coexist with humans. We don’t just leave them in a cage and dump food in once a day for the rest of their lives. We realize it is more humane to gently send them to sleep, forever. If you realize that when they’re 15 or 51, it doesn’t matter. They still can never be fixed, and the world will never be safe with them in it.
        And as for your snarky “move to Clarendon!” remark, my response is a resounding NO I WILL NOT MOVE TO CLARENDON. I think EVERYONE can, and should, demand that the place they live is safe, and it’s offensive that you would suggest otherwise. I will insist on my friends and neighbors not attacking random strangers and not stealing no matter where I live, thank you very much. Safety is not a negotiable element of any neighborhood, anywhere – we should demand it no matter where we are.

        • +1000. ShawGuy thank you for speaking up for the silent majority. These kids are beyond hope and we just need to keep our neighborhoods safe at this point, and look forward to a day when DC is free of this sort of terrible crime. It can and it will happen – but not while the housing projects remain and liberals in DC ignore the facts.

        • Sorry ShawGuy, I understand how you feel, but other people, especially teenagers coming from completely different backgrounds, do not have the same thought process as you. I have thought the same way, in regard to being tough on crime as you did, before I started studying it. Every unbiased study has shown things like death penalty, 3 strikes, harsh juvenile detainment, do not deter crime. In fact, it makes crime worse among youth because you are labeling children as criminals, and thus that becomes their identities. Rehabilitation has been proven to work among all types of ages and criminals (except sex offenders), so giving up on them works counter-productively.

          It sounds corny, but the best thing you can do is volunteer. Whether at a Rec Center, after-school program, Big Brother, or anything to get involved with the community youth. Become a positive influence to kids that are clearly lacking that at home.

          If you want to pay double in taxes, don’t invest in locking up criminals, invest in schools and after-school programs. Keep kids busy and off the streets. That’s about the only thing that works.

        • Very much agree. I am not a fan of how “three strikes” has been used against non-violent offenders, but I am 100% in favor of using against violent offenders. Three violent attacks is more than enough for me to think you should be in a pen. And as sad as it is, I think examples need to be made of some of these perpetrators. Living in the city does not mean that one should have to operate in an unsafe environment, and it irritates me to no end that so many people who comment here view a desire for safety as a sign of weakness.

        • “I’m more a fan of execution for violent criminals. If done correctly (read: NOT the way we do it in the US),”

          First, the fact that you’re a “fan” of killing a human being, any human being, makes us substantially different in our outlook on life.

          Second, what place do you have in mind that does the death penalty “correctly”? There is no country on Earth that does the death penalty “correctly”, it’s a throwback to a less civilized time and solves nothing. Anyone so profoundly disturbed that they will beat a human being for a few dollars isn’t thinking logically enough to weigh actions versus consequences. The presence of the death penalty has never deterred crime, it’s almost purely in place as a form of vengeance and, statistically, usually a form of vengeance employed against black defendants who kill white victims. Look at the actual data, a death penalty in DC won’t change a thing. By the way, our violent crime rate is way down from where it was in the 90s *without* a death penalty. Smart money says we should analyze what caused the initial drop and try to invest resources in “doubling down” on whatever made our violent crime drop in the first place.

        • Your gratuitous use of pronouns, ignorance of the criminal justice and the wider world are alienating.

          You need people who are ethnically members of the community to hear and care. When you spout off emotional ignorance that is not born out by facts (as explained by other commenters) taking you seriously becomes impossible.

          You are as dangerous to innocent black kids as the asshole who bullies them.

          People think that the vitriol poured out on Internet fora doesn’t manifest publicly. It does. I have experienced contempt from DC newbies – although I’m a 6 figure gentrifier myself. If I have experienced it, I can only imagine what it’s like to be young or poor.

          Sometimes you get what you give out.

    • Not the answer. More jailing? You are what’s wrong with the American justice system. I am not paying for a life sentence because you got clocked in the face. Get over yourself. You have no viable solutions. They are unreasonable and perpetuate modern day slavery. You’re totally clueless and have no idea about societal oppression or how it’s come to be in this country. I suggest you sit down with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, then sit down with the one black person you know, ask them to bring some friends, and have a discussion to learn about the things you clearly don’t understand.

      • “I suggest you sit down with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States,”

        I would, if I were gullible enough to embrace becoming a self-loathing Marxist. But I’m not.

  • Forced integration with the scattered DC schools is not working. The scattered legacy churches might actually feed this too. The root of the violence is likely poverty (tightly linked to race), feeling of desperation, crumbled family, etc. Until better (any?) solutions come, our sad truth is that whenever you see more than 1 preteen or teenager walking toward you in this town, find an escape.

    • +5000. No politician wants to address these problems because doing so isn’t profitable (hello for-profit prison system!) easy or palatable to the “tough on crime” types. But IMO, addressing them is the only way that problems like this will stop. The empirical evidence does not support the idea that Three Strikes (or the death penalty, for that matter) serves as a deterrent to crime.

  • These kids are damaged and missing the most basic level of morality. If they had it, they would not even consider playing the knockout game, harass people, yell obscenities, threaten, litter, etc.

    • You’re 100% right – and there is no way to put that back in a child that didn’t develop it growing up.

      • Read about all the work being done rehabilitating the child soldiers of civil wars in Africa and you would realize you are wrong. It takes a massive amount of hard work but children and teens can learn how to be a good citizen, even when they were the worst kind of monster previously.

        But that will not be done here. Instead, some will advocate throw away the key/death penalty, the DC Council will do nothing to improve the juvenile justice system and the cops won’t arrest them because it truly is a waste of their time.

        Improve child rearing classes for low income parents, improve educational opportunities and after school/ summer activities and improve the juvenile justice system to allow for better supervision programs, mandatory mental health/ therapy session and work training. Keep these improvements fully funded and continuously operating and it can get better. But that will not happen. Instead, we will build more prisons.


      • He may be right, but you’re inference is incorrect. It’s satisfying to think the problem is that simple, but it is not. Please don’t make societal decisions based on gut feelings.

      • I have agreed with most of what you have been commenting on this topic, but this is one thing I would disagree with.
        I think that on a large scale, yes it needs to be instilled in them from birth. However, it is still possible to make change in teenagers. It needs a multi faceted approach that simultaneously shows them that the rest of society cares about them, and that their peers don’t look down on them for being different. This is why community centers can work so well. They have volunteers (adults) who are spending their own time with the kids, and who aren’t sitting atop some elevated pedestal (like regular teachers). Then, they have their own buddies who are right there next to them, all participating in the same activities.

        It doesn’t happen quickly, but it does happen. I did this work with youth in communities (Middle East) that would make these DC neighborhoods look like Disney World. We’re talking about kids with tribal feuds, slave backgrounds, and serious religious and ethnic divides. No, it didn’t change the whole society, but these specific kids underwent a visible transformation.

        If you step back and look at the causes for this behavior, I think that you will see that much of it really does relate to them thinking that people don’t care. Not even so much that they don’t think people care about helping them, but also that people don’t care about their destructive behavior. If they are shown that the destructive behavior that has been reaffirmed in them from a young age is actually detrimental to their own success, and that they WILL get benefits from positive behavior, it can make a difference.

        (Now excuse me while I stay very far away from them)

  • There is a group of kids that have been doing this stuff constantly in the Bloomingdale, Ledroit park area for the past 2 years. I think that some of them live on W street near Howard U. hospital. Sounds like their Typical modus operandi… slapping people, slamming car doors on them, punching them out of the blue. Usually in groups of 10 or more. They attacked a jogger in Ledroit not long ago and really hurt him. I agree with most of what’s said about kids in the above links, but once they’re this far gone, you just have to neutralize them. You can’t rationalize with them. By neutralize i don’t mean kill them, i mean just break up the gang, punish the ringleaders and make sure it can’t reassemble. As long as they stay in these groups of 10 or more then it becomes a sort of youth mob action based on their own internal honor system. These kids have had constant police attention and some of gone to juvi. They want the approbation of their own friends.

    • yes they live in the public housing on w street, the source of the majority of crime in the area. look forward to someone finally figuring out how to get it shut down.

  • Crap. My car is parked there right now.

  • poor people are the worst!

  • Yes. I am a parent at a charter school near Cardozo and a few months ago a group of middle schoolers were throwing rocks and full water bottles at each other and hit me with a rock. Since I was holding my baby at the time, it was a particularly scary incident. They also were jumping on cars parked on 13th street and pushed down another woman walking on 13th Street. I and the other woman called 911 and I also discussed the incident internally at our school. The police officer at our school recommended talking to the police officer at Cardozo and the front office, which our school took care of doing. If you have further problems with the middle schoolers from Cardozo, it would not hurt to go talk to the school and their police officer (called a School Resource Officer) so at least there will be continued records of the behavior.

  • Just to add my story to the pot, I had an experience similar to the letter writer’s. I was walking home from the U Street metro going north on 13th at around V Street when I was met by a group of young teenage girls on the sidewalk. They were walking toward me and parted down the middle so that I could pass through. As I went through, one whipped around and smacked my purse (a large work bag) with her hand. It only made a loud noise, and didn’t hurt me or my belongings, but it startled me all the same. I spun around and the girls tore off, watching me and giggling with each other, while I shouted something really lame like, “Hey! You don’t touch people who don’t want to be touched!”

    • That’s just it, they want to be touched, and loved, and part of the group. Greed, desire for envy. Some of their groups seem to worship thuggery. Put that together, along with our incessant need for instant gratification, and in your face income inequality, it’s no surprise it gets worse every year. We all suffer from it nearly every day here in DC and its been going on for years/decades. A horrible trait of the USA that causes us all stress and likely shortens our lives.

      • “A horrible trait of the USA that causes us all stress and likely shortens our lives.”

        Sounds like you should visit North Korea, where you can experience the joy of a radically egalitarian society, free from income inequality. Me, I’d rather live in a country where rewards are closely tied effort.

  • I live on the corner of 12th and Ust and often have a smoke from the balcony. I have def. seen an increase in punk kids hanging around 7-11, tormenting cars driving by 12th by running in front of them and being loud, obnoxious and littering. Someone should give them a swift kick in the arse.

    • “tormenting cars by running in front of them”?

      I mean, kids have run out in front of cars since cars were invented. That isn’t “torment”, it’s kids and teens being kids and teens.

  • PoP- Any chance you will EVER stop posting these ?

    ” I encountered [x scary/harmful/destructive] thing that has no obvious, easy, individual solution in [x gentrif-ied/ying neighborhood. Anybody have any tips?’

    Cue 50+ comments wherein PoPville comments repeat the exact same arguments about race/class/gender/violence/gentrification that they did the LAST time this was posted.

    Absolutely not suggesting that these incidences are okay, but the idea that ANYONE is going to get anything other than the satisfaction of venting their particular point of view on the matter is tiresome.

    • what’s wrong with venting?

      • Like anonymous 10:55 stated….it’s tiresome.

        • There was some discussion about the park by Mt. Vernon which made a difference. There was apparently a nice park which was filled with people grilling and doing drugs making it an eye sore and hostile place to be. I think that discussion led to some change and awareness in the community to the situation rather than turning a blind eye to it. I also talking about the Knockout Game will perhaps have people put their guard up when they pass by a group of these kids.

    • Any chance you will EVER exert some will power of NOT reading these kinds of post and just SKIP to Your Afternoon Animal Fix?

    • Here is a simple suggestion: Don’t read the comments section. Have a nice day.

  • While I really enjoyed the debate about the social economics of DC, and especially the part where no one found the solution, I tend to believe that those girls kicked this persons car because they are assholes.

  • Reading this story saddens me.

  • These kids need afterschool activities to keep them busy. They need safe places to be where someone actually gives a crap about them, their behavior and their future.

  • No, actually that will make it worse. The Have Nots will have even less of a chance at access to the resources that are needed to foster positive citizenship.

  • How many of you venting about these children that you view as irredeemable had stable housing, decent education, adult support, recreational and job opportunities in those oh-so- precarious teenage years? Can you imagine what you might have become without those advantages and supports? Can you imagine what it might be like to be a part of a community that prioritized such supports for ALL of it’s members — including the neediest and the must vulnerable among us?

  • Anonymous on November 21, 8:35pm… THIS. ShawGuy, you need to read this and digest it. Seriously.

    • If you’re referencing this post:
      “Kevin, thank you for your thoughtful insight. ShawGuy obviously is adhering to the us versus them mentality. It is not just as simple as saying that poor black people commit crimes. Institutionalized racism perpetuates cycles of hopelessness and if they could work hard and have the same opportunities as some of you that were privileged enough to not grow up poor and black, they could get out of that cycle. The callous generalizations here, without facts is idiotic noise to make some of you feel better about yourselves. Why don’t you just join the tea party and start with your ‘bootstrap’ philosophy.”
      I have read and digested it fully. I just disagree. I grew up a hated minority in a part of the country particularly hostile towards anyone who wasn’t like them. I come from a family that grew up in public housing, so I know economic disadvantage better than most. I am WELL AWARE of how hard it is to stay focused on what you actually want in life and keep your head down and keep chugging towards that goal when EVERYONE around you is telling you to give up and that you’re already a failure for even being alive and that no matter what you do with your life you will never amount to anything. I know how hurtful that is and I KNOW how hard that is, and I know how tempting it is sometimes to just take something someone else has that they don’t deserve as much as you do.
      The difference between these kids and myself is that I set a goal – a clear goal – of being the first person in my family to not only have financial and professional stability, but to thrive. I sacrificed anything and everything that was not necessary to achieving that goal (having a family when I wanted to, most material things, etc) and I went through whatever was necessary to get to that goal (studying all the way through school, applying myself, getting into a decent college, and then borrowing everything that my small scholarship didn’t cover to pay for it). I NEVER listened to anybody who said “you can’t” and I paid very, very close attention to the small handful of people who said “If you want this badly enough, you can – here’s my advice on how”.
      So yeah, I’m a fan of the whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. The fact that other people think that should only be associated with the Tea Party saddens me, both because that’s the furthest thing from me politically, but also because that used to be the core component of the Democratic party. Everyone has obstacles in life – some people are genetically prone to be overweight, some people are religious or ethnic or racial or sexual minorities, some people come from poverty – but anybody who puts down the “bootstraps” concept is essentially telling all these people “there is no hope for you, because pulling yourself up is hopeless and doesn’t work”. Whoever Anonymous at 8:35 is, I hope they don’t work in psychology or education or god forbid a burn or amputee ward in healthcare.
      You wanna see that “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” can, and does, work? Head on up to Walter Reed and watch someone pull a boot up on to a prosthetic leg with a mechanical arm. I’ve seen that, and it’s pretty darn convincing that you can overcome ANYTHING, if you want it badly enough. Maybe someone ought to take these thugs up there to see that and then dare them to say just because they were born a poor minority they have no choices but a life of crime.

  • brookland_rez

    This has been going on for the 10 years I’ve been living here. It escalates in the summer when more kids are out on the streets. I remember one summer these kids were dropping bricks onto people.

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