Earlier this week in Newark, 3 college students were executed in a neighborhood schoolyard. Another student was shot was through the back of the head, escaping death by fractions of an inch.
Killed in the attack were Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20 and Iofemi Hightower, 20. Aeriel’s 19-year-old sister was wounded and is expected to recover. All four were shot in the head and found behind Mount Vernon School in Newark’s Ivy Hill section.
McCarthy said the victims – all current or entering students at Delaware State University – did not know their attackers, a group of at least five men.
James Harvey, Dashon’s father, joined Booker at the press conference and said he did not blame the mayor. Nearly sobbing, the father said the blame rests with parents who don’t teach their children right from wrong.
“Innocent kids are dying needlessly,” James Harvey said. “America, this has got to stop.”
Truer words were never spoken. But what will make animals stop killing? That is what animals do, after all.
There is a certain ideological group in America that I won’t name – one wouldn’t want to be overly direct by telling them how utterly wrong they are, after all – that believes that killers such as these deserve our mercy and possess the inalienable right to live at our expense for the remainder of their natural lives, regardless of the depravity of their crimes.
This view is utter nonsense. Many of America’s inner cities are insanely violent and no place that I, a white middle class male in the prime of his life, would go sober. Yet these urban neighborhoods are home to many good people, of which James Harvey and his late son are only two examples, people who need to be defended, not left to fight a low-level war with the packs of cold-blooded murderers that roam their streets.
What the unnamed ideology fails to understand is that framing their anti-death penalty rhetoric as a human rights issue is an oxymoron. Murderers in the first degree are not human by the most important measure of all. They fail to recognize and respect the sanctity of human life and thus descend to the level of a common beast. The death penalty issue really is a question of the victims’ human rights, not the rights the animal(s) who killed them forfeited as a result of their crime.
Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and Iofemi Hightower were winners, good young people who had worked hard in difficult circumstances to better themselves, had gotten themselves in a position to do something more with their lives than those around them.
The schoolyard victims, [Newark mayor] Booker said, were “our success stories” — four young friends who had all blazed paths leading out of Newark, their families said.
Harvey and Natasha Aeriel, both entering their junior years at Delaware State University, were majoring in psychology and excelling in school. Terrance Aeriel and Hightower were about to enter their first year at the Dover, Del., school. She worked at an assisted-living facility, with an eye toward business, and he was an ordained minister and mentor in his community.
“He was really something special,” said James Harvey, Dashon’s father. “He was what a young man is supposed to be.”
Exactly. And yet he and his friends were killed for no good reason. Why? James Harvey doesn’t know.
“For him to be killed on the streets of Newark needlessly is very unacceptable,” he said at a news conference.
“They’re out here hurting innocent kids,” he added. “Innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what?”
These youngsters deserved to be protected against the skulking brood of hyenas who executed them.
The attackers, described as at least five young men, first shot a young woman, police said. They then marched the other three victims down an alley, lined them up against a wall and forced them to kneel, police said. Then they shot each one in the head.
“We are absolutely devastated and frustrated,” Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said, stressing that police regularly patrol in the area of the attack. “It’s not a lack of resources. It’s young people out there armed to the gills with no respect for human life.”
Fontoura is exactly right. Animals, of which murders are a particularly vicious sub-species, have neither respect for human lives or humanity. They understand only their malevolent will, fear, and punishment.
But where do they come from? This James Harvey does know.
“I blame you guys — the parents of America. If you raised your kids better this world would be a better place to live.”
Parents are, after all, where the buck finally must stop when looking for causes. Yes, there are other causes of bad behavior. But it all comes back to the parents. Kid hanging around bad people? Get her butt home after school. Neighborhood unsafe? Move. Kid disrespects elders? Wash his mouth out with soap. Whatever it takes, that’s parenting.
The weight of punishment, however, belongs entirely on the shoulders of the criminals. Victims don’t invite crime. Parents don’t force children to become murders, regardless of their (in)competence. Criminals choose to act and the punishment should fit the crime.
The murders of 3 young people whose little fingers have more value to society than the killers’ entire beings is particularly heinous. It is a crime that demands a response that both punishes the offenders and frightens those of like mind.
Only one thing frightens animals – the threat of death. Only one thing keeps them frightened – its implementation per the law.
Does that form of justice seem cruel? If so, imagine yourself as the fourth and final victim of the scum. Imagine the press of a hot, smoking gun barrel against the back of your head. Imagine the sound of the hammer cocking. Imagine the end of your every hope and dream at the hands of a brutal beast with a pistol.
Now, answer the question again.