What About These Kids // Teen Shooting in St Petersburg

I guess let me preface this by saying I grew up in 2 good neighborhoods, not crazy wealthy but it was not where all the bad things happened. We were able to play outside for hours on end. We did not have to worry about getting robbed or shot. There were no fights on the streets. Just simple towns, well populated, but simple. It seems like no matter where you live, things are going to happen. Fighting, robberies, kidnappings, shootings, it happens everywhere. Not so often in some areas but honestly it is everywhere, you just might not know about it. As I posted last night, there was a shooting less than 2 blocks from home. And most of the day I have thought about what could have possibly been done to prevent this. As much as I would love to say I thought of this ingenious idea, this crime stopping invention, some kind of universal answer, that's not the case. 

I started this quest for information this morning after reading the other kid (well he is 18) that shot the teen turned himself in. Of course on some of the news posts there were good and bad comments. Some saying these kids are just kids of the streets, some saying it was lack of parenting, some say it is just where they live. Others in support acknowledging that this could have been anyone's child, others just wanting to show they have compassion for the all families involved. I don't know what could have caused something like this, not here or anywhere. Where kids 15 (and younger) are on social media posting pictures of themselves with guns and drinks, smoking weed. Where teens are sitting with cash and flashing it in pics. I don't know where the trouble starts....is it at home? I know I hate to blame parents because I am one and I know firsthand how you can have 1 kid go off on his own path in the blink of an eye. I get it. But I also know, as a parent, I check his social media, I have access to his phone. Around here my kids don't go out after dark and they don't wander the streets because I know what it is like in the area. 
I entered a few rip hashtags in regards to the incident and came up with all kinds of friends and family of this kid. On Facebook I found alot of kids that knew this kid. Alot of his friends and post after post, pic after pic, it was the same street thug look. Whether or not these kids are actually true to their pictures I don't know. We all know how easy it is to see someone online living a life that is completely opposite to what they show to the world. I also noticed on each and every profile they were in RIP of more than just this recent, most including 2 or 3 friends or family members they have lost in the same ways. Imagine your son or daughter losing all these friends, in such short times. There have been 6 teen shootings that I am aware of, since November. 6 times the streets have claimed lives.

"I can't explain it. It's not unique to this city. It's not unique to this country. It's all over the country. This younger generation seems more apt to turn to violence to settle their differences, and obviously, this is the tragic outcome. You have a 17 year old whole life has been cut short," Previtera said
This was 3 years ago, and the kid that shot another was only 13.  "Unfortunately this appears to be a reoccurace of a growing and disturbing phenomenon where young adolescent teens not only get access to guns, but seem to have no qualms about using them for the slightest provocation," said police spokesman Mike Puetz. 

And I don't mean any of this in any disrespect....I live here, my kids live here, and we are [for now] tied to the area for at least 12 more years. I started this thinking if maybe I could reach out to this area, even 1 kid, but when you look at the bigger picture, and believe me when I tell you it is much bigger than any of us realize, it can be crazy overwhelming. It is disheartening. So I am back where I started, only feeling more helpless. I know not 1 person can save so many but I just don't know what could be done.

While I was wandering the pages of Facebook I found this post and these words:"I pray your friends; classmates; old, current, and new teammates understand life is precious. There's no coming back from this. The senseless murders have got to stop. Take a stance as young men together and decide to stop this crazy cycle that forces parents to bury their children.Pick your friends and circles wisely. Keep one another in line in school and life; not the streets. These streets don't love nobody, and claim lives everyday!Love you all... But it's time young fellas Love themselves and one another! Larkins will be missed by many, as many of you played sports with him! Please take this as a wake-up call to understand life is short!"

So I just don't know, where do we start? All things I have read say it will take the whole community to save these kids. But if it is overrun in the community, then what? I am just so lost.

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