Monday, November 23, 2009

Youthful Ignorance

Last week I spoke on a panel for the JRA mentor program. One of my mentee's friends was in attendance, so I was able to send her a note. I figure I will give her a week, then try to call her again. The panel went well. I was one of 3 that talked about my experience mentoring with the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration. It is hard to believe that I have known my mentee for over a year now.


I got a little upset today reading a police officer's blog (might have been Seattle, but could have been further South. Update #3: He is a Seattle Police Officer, based on his own comments). I would link it here, so that you could share in my sadness, but I don't feel like giving him any further hits. I am irritated that I gave him my own. Anyhow, he commented about how homeless youth migrate North and South with the weather, and how awful they are and that most of them are homeless because they want to be. Having volunteered at drop in for homeless youth and working with the interagency school through work, I can tell you that isn't true. There are a lot of factors that go into youth deciding to leave home. Why would anyone choose to sleep on the street, in constant fear for themselves and their few belongings, always battling the weather, when they could be at home with a loving family? Most youth choose the street because home is much worse, or because of mental health issues or drug addiction. Some girls are tricked in to prostitution by men/boys that pretend to love them and then are too afraid to leave. I found out about this blog because the officer in question doesn't seem to understand that copyright is a law and he stole an image from a blogger who chronicles her time with homeless youth through photos. And yes, if you follow that link, you can find the other. Update #1: that blogger pulled down her rant after the cop took off her picture. I have changed my mind about linking to him, as the more people that know about it the better:

Despite the backlash likely to happen, I commented on his blog. He screens his comments though, so you won't find it, at least not yet. I am sure he thinks I am full of sh** and that his time as a cop and a soldier make him an expert, without ever delving further into that world than he has to to arrest whomever doesn't fit into his definition of polite society (which from reading the rest of the page, is really no one--there isn't much respect for human rights portrayed there). Update #2: He didn't post my comment, maybe because I gave him a hard time about using someone elses work without asking, but maybe because he didn't like my argument against his broad generalizations.

I know there is a division between police and citizen here in Seattle. I don't know any officers personally, although the police men and women who come into the library seem nice enough. While I find the attitude portrayed in the blog exaggerated and ridiculous, I have felt the same way about some people's opinions of police officers (pigs, The Man, etc.). I don't like hasty generalizations about any group and try to keep from making them myself. I guess it is preferable to have these people blathering on in public so that we can be aware that they exist, rather than hiding away until they do something stupid.

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