Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Young Felaz Forever

We already had a 15-year-old accused attempted murderer. Now we have a 15-year-old murder victim:

In a separate incident, the coroner's office released the identity of a 15-year-old murder victim.

Hilary Campbell of Boutte was found shot many times in the head and chest on Jan. 3 in the afternoon in a remote grassy area near Industry and Press streets, Gagliano said.

Campbell's identity came to light when someone recognized descriptions of Campbell's tattoos and told relatives the tattoos belonged Campbell, Gagliano said. He said the tattoos, "Young" and "Felaz," stood for Young Fellows.
If you get “young felaz” tattooed on your body, you don’t plan on getting old.

This one hurts, too. It’s got to hurt. If it doesn’t, it needs to start hurting.

Given Campbell’s tattoos, that fact that he was a runaway, and the manner in which he was killed, one might think he was up to no good and that’s why he was shot. Even if that were true, and I don’t know if it is, we as a society failed him long before he was murdered. More than one of us allowed him to start down his path towards being young forever.

That’s what hurts.

And the "separate incident" was our 11th murder of the year.

UPDATE: Another murder. WWL says it is number 11, but I count 12 total.

8 comments:

Editor B said...

This is heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Please get the word out that a Houma company is trying to get a canal (huricane highway) dug with taxpayers money. The canal will increase the cost of coastal restoration and endanger the home and heritage of a great people.

This is money we all worked hard for. This greedy developer wants to use it to profit off of, the canal would bisect the wetlands and makie restoration increaseingly more complex.

Donnie McDaniel said...

When does this insanity stop? This is out of control on so many levels. What the hell is happening to our kids?

Anonymous, That is right here in my stomping grounds. I am headed over the to the Houma Daily right now. That project to deepen the Navagation is not gonna happen on my watch. Not before they at least put up locks as part of the Marganza to the gulf. Time to get nasty!

TravelingMermaid said...

Yes, it's a sad commentary of our society when a young person *accepts* the fact he will die young.
I don't know what the answer is.....I feel helpless and very, very angry.

Clay said...

Riley took the dead body wrapped in a rug and declared it a 2005 murder, bringing last year's total to 162.

I guess he's looking for whatever help he can get in bringing down this year's murder rate...

Varg said...

From the article I read I'm not sure what more "the system" could have done. He was arrested twice in Algiers for curfew violations and turned over to his father's custody but kept running away, even so far as to jump out of his guardian's truck. What more could the parent's or authorities have done? It sounds like his parents were making an effort to help but he didn't want it.

They were looking for him when he died.

At some point, the 15 year-old becomes responsible and "the system" doesn't.

It IS a tragedy but at some point we can't shoulder every death on our own shoulders.

da po' boy said...

At some point, the 15 year-old becomes responsible and "the system" doesn't. It IS a tragedy but at some point we can't shoulder every death on our own shoulders.

As individuals, we are all responsible for our own decisions. However, how well-equipped a person is to make the right decisions relies on how that person was taught to make decisions. That’s where the community’s role and responsibility come in.

Given the assumptions I laid out in the post, I guess that at some point in Campbell’s life, he was taught bad, and no one stepped in to teach him good. And being that he was only 15 when he died, he was probably taught bad as a young child.

Young humans learn how to act by observing how the other humans around them act. Plain and simple. You can affect that learning process by rewarding “desirable” actions and punishing “undesirable” actions. But, ultimately, when young children become young adults and are less easily manipulated by parental reward and punishment, they will act like the people around them act. And the people around him or her are, collectively, “society” or “community.”

These points lead to my statement: “we as a society failed him long before he was murdered.” Obviously, you or I didn’t pull the trigger. But you and I and all the people in the Greater New Orleans area also did not succeed in forming a society where 15-year-olds are not murdered violently or murder violently.

“The system” itself that is so often blamed is not a cause but rather a result of our failures. While I have referred to our criminal justice system as “broken,” it is actually functioning the way our leaders want it to. Why else would they have done nothing to change it? Someone in our society is benefiting from the violence, the drugs, and other various social ills being concentrated in certain pockets of our city and region. And as long as those people are benefiting, “the system” will continue to work for them and not for all the residents.

Varg said...

The article reads as if the Police and the kid's parents did their part. Yes, at some point along the way he got lost. But let's not put everything in the "nurture" camp. Nature has something to do with it as well. Without knowing more, we can only speculate. But the article clearly states the city and his parents were intervening. Not to mention, the streets themselves have a code of conduct that, while it may be foreign to us, does exist to keep certain order.

At what point does one assume responsibility for their own actions? Can we blame ourselves for a 45 year-old man who shoots his wife?

I understand what you are saying, and I have been on your side of this discussion many, many times.

I just think in this case, the article shows that efforts were being made and he made the decision to literally run away from them.

At what point was his fate sealed? When he was abused as a child? When he refused help? When he said the wrong thing to the wrong person? The entire way.

I can't address those who benefit from crime. Government as a whole is fueled by the ills of society. Ditto for the Naacp and the American Cancer Association.