Photo caption: Scenes from the Saturday, April 15, “Teen Takeover” of downtown Chicago where 15 people were
arrested including nine adults.
Activist Andrew Holmes is agreeing with Father Michael Pfleger who said parents should be fined for the misbehavior of their children, like the 15 arrested over the weekend for dancing on cars, fighting and disrupting traffic in the Loop where two youth were shot.
Holmes, a community activist/crisis responder, also wants to expand his current 6,200 distribution of free gun locks he’s given out due to the increase in the number of young children dying after stumbling across unlocked and loaded guns in their homes.
Battling with two major social problems, gun violence and uncontrolled youth, Holmes sided with Pfleger who Sunday, April 16, said the actions of the teenage mob that gathered around State and Madison last Saturday was unacceptable.
And at some point, Pfleger said parents must be held accountable for the actions of their wayward children. “They should be fined,” Pfleger told his congregation. “They must be held accountable for the actions of their children.”
Pfleger was upset that during the melee, two teenage boys, 16 and 17 were shot. Both are in fair condition. Fifteen people were arrested, nine adults and six children. “Parents must get ahold of their children,” Pfleger said, saddened over the shooting of the two teenage boys.
Mayor Lightfoot called the teens’ actions “reckless, disrespectful and unlawful behavior.”
In a statement, she said, “As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct.”
She too called on parents to be held accountable for their children’s actions. “Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the values of respect for people and property must begin at home,” the mayor said.
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson responded in a statement on social media. “In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
The Chicago Police Department released its safety program. “The Chicago Police Department’s top priority is the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors, including our city’s youth.
“The reckless, disruptive and violent behavior that was seen downtown this past weekend will not be tolerated. We encourage our young people to be safe and responsible as they enjoy their weekends, but anyone engaged in criminal activity will be arrested and held accountable.
“We actively and continuously review open source social media and additional resources will be available to protect those who are visiting, living or working in the areas of large gatherings. Resources include an increased police and command staff presence at these gatherings citywide. Our Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) will also be monitoring all activity and police cameras to assist in the proactive reallocation of resources when necessary.
“Additional security measures such as bag checks at beach entry points and the curfew for minors at Millennium Park will also be in place. CPD is also working closely with youth and outreach workers for when these gatherings occur.”
Also chiming in was Michael Edwards, president and CEO of Chicago’s Loop Alliance, representing downtown businesses. He released a statement saying, “We are saddened by the events that occurred in the Loop (Saturday) evening,” and “we are prepared to work with all relevant partners and parties in response to when these trends are detected.”
Still, if there will be peace in the streets this summer, Holmes agreed with Pfleger on parental responsibility for their own children.
“Parents should be fined because they are responsible for their children’s actions, but at the same time, if they look in the mirror, they are much smarter than that. Don’t damage your life by doing something like making a bad decision because it can follow you for the rest of your life.”
By law, Holmes said parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children. “In Michigan, they go after the parents when their children violate the law.”
However, in all 50 states, parents are responsible for all malicious or willful property damage done by their children. It’s called civil parental liability because it’s non-criminal. The parent is obligated only to financially compensate the party harmed by his or her child’s actions. Holmes said this should be activated here in Chicago, too.
Holmes said young people need guidance and mentorship. “I hate to see them get arrested and end up having a police record that will stop them from enhancing the quality of their lives.”
On the flip side of street violence, especially gun violence, Holmes is focusing on expanding his distribution of the 6,200 gun locks he has already given out, to even more parents to prevent children from stumbling upon loaded and unlocked weapons in their homes.
According to an article by Nationwide Childrens’ Hospital, millions of children are exposed to guns that are not properly stored leading to thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Officials say while the number of households with guns is declining, there are still about 300 million guns in the United States. Each year, nearly 1,300 children die from gun violence and many more are seriously injured.
“This is why I want to expand our “Lock It Down” gun lock program,” Holmes said. “We are trying to save the children. This is not just a local problem. It’s a national one, too.”
To get a free gun lock, Holmes said to call 773.407.9460.