And I thought I was a dumb teenager

And I thought I was a dumb teenager

I recently got together with some friends from high school.  We are all now 40, most of us married with kids.  Something about being with your high school buddies makes you revert back to your old behavior.  This particular time we were more talking immaturely than acting out immaturely, but we did reminisce about some of our dumber times.

As I look back, while we did some really stupid things (I didn’t drink and drive too much, but once is too many).  My one friend mouthed off to the cops when a party we were at was busted.  Another friend ran in to the car of a girl he was somehow trying to impress by attempting to almost hit it.  I myself did too many dumb things to count, including crashing my parents car in to a fence because I wanted to see how fast it could go in a residential neighborhood.  We were actually a good group of smart kids from mostly strong, supporting families.  But even “good” kids do dumb things.  Thankfully we never hurt anyone by our idiocy.  As a Dad it makes me nervous about what my kids might do, but thankfully that fear is many years away.

Even the “really bad” kids at our school didn’t do much more than deal drugs, steal a little bit, some vandalism, etc.  Not great acts, but nothing that ruined their or anyone else’s future.  Hell, I learned that one of the most threatening guys I went to school with is now a teacher and a really great guy.  No surprise.  People can change.

But when I read about the kids today and some of what their “fun” involves, I’m shocked.  You’ve probably read about the teens that go to Michigan Ave and conduct flash mob attacks.  They’ve beaten up some people pretty badly.  Last week three Chicago teens upped the disgusting ante by playing a game called “Knock Em Out” (allegedly). Basically they prove how tough they are by picking out some unsuspecting person and kick the crap out of them.  In this case these false tough guys picked out a 62 year old disabled man and when they knocked him out, he hit his head on the concrete and ended up dying.

The three geniuses were stupid enough to record it and post it on Facebook so they basically handed the evidence to the police.  They are all charged with first degree murder and if convicted can and should get life in jail.  At the very least, they will be missing out on the best years of their lives and then some.

I’m sure that they didn’t think they were going to kill the guy.  But if you commit a crime, anything that stems from it is part of the crime.  So even if you didn’t throw a punch, if you agreed to take part in this you could be facing a murder charge.  And just like when I was driving like an idiot in high school, results matter, not intent.  If I had lost control of the car and killed someone I might still be in jail.  But I got lucky and my friends did to that our dumb actions didn’t go too far.

Of course these teens are more than dumb.  They are thugs who intentionally tried to hurt someone and it went way too far.  I’d believe them if they said that they didn’t mean to kill the guy.  But if that’s their defense, they are screwed. 

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