Tag Archives: youth

Juvenile Criminal Thoughts


I have no idea if this is a 20 gauge. This is not a blog particularly concerned with the accurate identification of firearms. I do believe, however, it is a shotgun.

This week brought the news that a 12-year-old boy in the 8th grade took a loaded sawed-off 20 gauge pump shotgun to his school and opened fire, seriously wounding an 11-year-old boy (shot in the face) and a 13-year-old girl in the school’s gym.

cold… calculated… premeditated… random…

The New Mexico state police stated that the attack was “planned.” Part of that planning included the shooter issuing warnings to friends, advising them to stay away from school.

The 20-gauge shotgun is a type of smoothbore shotgun shell that is smaller in caliber (.615) than a 12 gauge (.729). It is often used as a beginning shooter’s practice round and is noted by its yellow hull.

A 20-gauge shotgun is sometimes considered more suitable for hunting certain types of game, because it damages less meat, which makes it suitable for most game birds.

Source: Wikipedia – 20-gauge shotgun

The firearm was obtained by the shooter from “family members,” the police said. The shooter’s Facebook page featured a picture of the shooter beside a deer he had killed during a hunting trip.
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Killer of soccer referee gets three years

On Saturdays this space normally features a WordPress reblog but I wasn’t able to find a post regarding a story from earlier this year that deeply affected me. I’m posting an update regarding this story instead.

Earlier this year there was a very disturbing story involving a 17-year-old youth playing in a recreational soccer league that was intended to give suburban kids a chance.

While playing the goalie position, the unnamed youth reportedly pushed a player attempting a corner kick. After justifiably drawing a yellow card the youth protested the call and shouted at the volunteer referee who had made the call.

As the yellow card was being written, the youth suckerpunched the referee, Ricardo Portillo, 46, in the side of the head. By the time police arrived Portillo was curled on the ground in a fetal position and complaining of nausea and back pain. The referee was rushed to a hospital and slipped into a coma later that evening. Within two days Portillo was dead from brain swelling and injuries resulting from the punch.

On Aug. 5, 2013, the youth plead guilty as part of deal reached with prosecutors. The deal prevented the youth from being tried as an adult, only about three months before his 18th birthday. Under the deal the youth will serve a maximum of just over three years in a juvenile prison, although a juvenile parole board could decide to release the youth earlier.

The juvenile court judge also ordered the youth to maintain a picture of the victim in his cell and write a letter to the man’s daughters every week to remind him of the pain he caused the man’s family.

Again, that’s three years in a juvenile prison for a guilty plea on a charge of “homicide by assault.” Sad.

Stick it to the plan

Two lane blacktopWhere am I going
How do I get there
What should I bring along
Are people kind there
Is peace of mind there
Will I finally belong
Cause you know ships sail their courses
And heroes ride horses
They know where they belong
But I travel in circles
Quickly to nowhere
Singing my unfinished song

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself – Well… How did I get here?
Once In A Lifetime

From the moment we are born, everything conspires to fill our heads with the word “should.” Our parents, the environment, and all of the other people how come and go in our lives essentially program what we know, who we are, and even influence that which we desire.

Boys like blue and play with trucks. Girls like pink and play with dolls.

At some point, though, after enough growth, the individual can exceed the sum of their parts. They can question anything they want about their own life. Is the religion of my parents, the religion I’ve known my whole life until now, is that the religion for me?

As you get older, you want things. Perhaps you want a flashy car or you want to get pregnant and have baby and/or rush out and be married. Do you ever stop to wonder, “Why do I want these things? What is it about these particular things?” Is it truly what I want or just the predictable output of the programming I’ve experienced since the moment I was born? How much is really me and how much is just random chance because I ended up in this part of the world and with these specific people?

You may find yourself getting out of school and taking one of two common paths – Jumping right into more school or going directly to work.

Perhaps you’ll become independent and established and have your own home or apartment. You’ll populate it with possessions and begin taking on financial obligations and debt that make regular income a very important part of your life. The more you owe, the more you have to work. Unless you are one of the few to be independently wealthy, that means you’ll be working a full-time job, perhaps more. The more you own, the more you work, and the more you want, and the more you consume. You may find yourself in a cycle where it becomes very hard to break free.

At some point you may realize you aren’t doing what you want at all. You might be doing what everything but. You may have been deceived by the should.

Lately, following the death of Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of blather about being that square peg that refuses to be placed in that round hole. Be different. Be unique. Be someone who changes the rules and changes the world. Refuse to conform. Write your own destiny and never compromise, never do what they tell you.

I can’t help but wonder. How easy is that? What would that world look like? What if seven billion people collectively said, “You know what? I’m going to do what I want. I won’t let anyone else tell me what to be.”

I don’t imagine that world would have very many ditches.

So what is your life path plan? Besides finishing high school and going to college and/or getting a job, what are these other paths? I see kids these days dropping out of high school and not getting jobs. They just sort of flounder, either living off mom and dad or bouncing from place to place, using it up, then landing somewhere else.

I don’t imagine they put a lot of thought into their future or any sort of planning on where they want to go. They just sort of exist. But what if they tried? They are actively rejecting the traditional life paths that most of us took, so what are their options to go forth and be different?

In the movie Into The Wild (based on true story) a young man graduates from college as a top student, gives away his possessions, donates $24,000 to charity and then hitchhikes to Alaska. Now that is a person decisively making a choice and deciding what they want. True, in the end, it didn’t work out quite so well, but the boldness of the choice is breathtaking. Could I do something like that? I highly doubt it.

Man sitting on a park benchAnother year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself
And I’m still in the dark
‘Cause I can’t seem to find the light alone

Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I’m a lonely soldier off to war
Sent away to die – never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all

I can understand that some kids may want to reject traditional dogma and decide their own fates. But how many possible life paths are out there? What is it they can really do to achieve what they want? If they reject the traditional 9 to 5 what will they be doing instead?

I can respect a non-traditional choice as long as it is conscious, not drug-induced, and makes sense on some damn level.

I really want to know.

The Gerbil, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I’m going to try to briefly recap some recent gerbil high jinx…

Long on boarding, short on brains – These days the gerbil likes to hang out at our house, or what he refers to as his Base of Operations and/or The Nest. He has taken up the habit of lounging in the driveway around the time I arrive home each evening. Yes, after a hard day at work, there is nothing better than finding a gerbil camping in your drive.

The other day, though, I had to make an extra stop at the store on the way home. So I was delayed and came home from the other direction. As I rounded the corner on the back way to our house, there was my gerbil in the middle of the street, on a longboard (skateboard) and heading directly at me. He was headed right at my car while looking behind him in the other direction and completely unaware of the fact that a vehicle was about to run his ass over.

Someone tell me how he’s managed to live this long? (Answer: The reflexes of others, so far, have compensated for his poor decision making skills and lack of attention.)

Why Don’t You Spend The Night – Twice in the last two weeks the gerbil has showed up – unannounced – to make use of our home as his lodging for the evening. He apparently enjoys forcing the role of Innkeeper and his Wife upon us. The other day it was 8:45 at night when we heard his tapping at our door!

I’m Counting to Three – When a gerbil spends the night, there is one thing that is guaranteed. In the morning you will hear his cell phone (his most prized possession) being used as his alarm clock. It will create the most annoying sound in the world every nine minutes. The only other guarantee is that it will have absolutely no effect on the gerbil’s slumber. Eventually my wife will be forced to go mother him and force his ass out of bed since we’re about to leave and he has no key. The gerbil has gots to go. I have no idea how he makes it to work – ever – or how he has managed to hold onto his job thus far.

Gerbil Nap Time – The other time the gerbil recently spent the night he crawled into my wife’s office and shut the door behind him. And then he didn’t wake up until 6pm!

Sleeping all day is another common gerbil activity. My wife finally went to wake him up and found that he had not only taken over her room, he had also locked the door. Gerbils are highly private creatures.

Loan Applications – The gerbil has held down a part time job for a while now but never has money. Odd. By my calculations his net take home pay is $300 to $400 a month. (He only works part-time.) Yet he comes to our home and tells us how he has 43 cents to his name and his bank account is overdrawn and checks are bouncing and by the way, also I need a loan. What the fuck? The gerbil has no bills!

You should hear the gerbil whine about his weariness and his job. Lawl! Come see me when you’re working 40 hours a week like me, you twit.

The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster – We previously documented how we finally got the gerbil to return our house key. First he returned the key we knew about after we hassled him about it for months on end. Then we discovered he was still sneaking into our home. We finally realized he still had a key! We suspected he had made a copy but that wasn’t the case. He simply had our missing spare key and didn’t bother to return it with the other one.

So my wife went into the gerbil’s car and got the spare key back, which made the gerbil very, very angry! He said, and I quote, “If you wanted the key back you should have just asked!” Umm, we did, dip shit. For months. When we said we wanted you to return the key to our house that didn’t mean, “But be sure to hang on to the spare for yourself.”

Then we discovered he was still sneaking in. His modus operendi? He’d find some reason to visit while we were home, then, when we weren’t looking, he’d surreptitiously unlock the side door to our house. Sure, this leaves the house open to criminals, risking the lives of myself, my wife and our cats, but the gerbil has gots his needs, yo. He needs access to his Fortress of Solitude whilst we area away. So twice in the last week I’ve found the side door to the garage completely unlocked. My wife say something to him about it last night (during his latest sleepover) and he again became very angry. Gerbils don’t like to be questioned about their rude and irresponsible behavior.

Free Parking – Almost two years ago my wife and I had achieved one of our dreams. We sold the single-wide trailer and moved into a brand new home complete with two car garage and an office for each of us. Unfortunately my wife’s dream of having an office was put on hold as the gerbil made the move with us and took over her room. (I worked from home at the time.) She had to wait a year and a half to just partially get her room back. (The gerbil still takes it over on a routine basis.) Meanwhile the gerbil left his useless car in our driveway since the day we moved in. Every time I pulled out of the garage I had to maneuver around his car.

All in all the gerbil has rather tainted our enjoyment of our new home.

One weekend we asked the gerbil to move his car because our friend had stuff in our RV parking and the gerbil’s car was blocking the gate. Our friend needed his stuff. By Sunday night there was no sign of gerbil. He couldn’t be bothered to do such a small favor for us.

Finally my wife and I pushed his car out onto the street and parked it on the curb. We notified the gerbil so he’d know he now had a legal responsibility to move the car or face a possible ticket. It took about three weeks but his car was finally tagged by the police. He was given five days to move the car or else.

We watched the days go by with nervous anticipation. What would the gerbil do? Would he show up in time? Or would his car be towed away? A towing would represent an almost certain death sentence to the vehicle since the outrageous charges for towing and storage at the lot would quickly dwarf the value of the car.

On the last day and at the last possible minute, oh miracle of miracles! The gerbil showed up and moved his car. And, thank God, it was not back in our driveway. He found one of his friends who lived in an apartment and moved it to their apartment parking lot. Now it was the apartment’s problem. Yeah!

One more small baby step to having the gerbil out of the nest!

Youth to battle elders on Survivor

Well, it has been confirmed. Survivor announced that the 21st season, Survivor Nicaragua, will be a battle of young vs. old.

18 contestants will form two teams. One tribe, Espada, will be comprised of those older than 40. The other tribe, La Flor, will consist of those younger than 30. As I surmised earlier, the game won’t have any contestants who are “30-something.” That’s just downright weird.

If the game is intensely physical like it has been in recent seasons (even roughing up players like James) this would seem to put the older folks at a disadvantage. It will interesting to see if any effort has been made to come up with challenges that will make the outcomes more uncertain. Or will the elders be left to sink or swim?

A photo of the contestants was also revealed, but with their faces concealed. The cast is expected to be announced mid-August and the show will premier on Wednesday, September 15th.

Three blind gerbils

Gerbil nutritional pyramid. Take and bake pizza information was not available by our publication deadline.

Not every gerbil path is exactly the same. For example, most drop out of high school but some actually hang tough and barely graduate. Either way, though, the paths taken can still have remarkable similarities.

Most live at home as long as possible. Most avoid jobs, effort and all forms of responsibility like the plague. Most get into things like drugs, smoking, energy drinks (Monster, Red Bull) and expensive coffee stand drinks as quickly and as deeply as possible. Most are extremely poor, becoming adept moochers, yet still maintaining the most expensive of tastes. Some rely solely on mooching skills, others may turn to petty theft and crimes to maintain their standards of living.

In terms of avoiding jobs, most gerbils go one step further and begin customizing their appearance. Things like tattoos, tongue piercings, lip piercings, ear piercings, ear lobe gauging, bizarre facial hair, nose rings, and long dirty unkempt hair are routine. Strange clothing completes the ensemble. Not wanting to be limited to the dimension of sight only, most smell bad as well.

The net result is a life form that it almost unemployable in every way shape or form.

I’ve covered most of this before, however. This is really nothing new.

Our GRIPE scientists recently made another startling breakthrough in measuring gerbil behavior. Within a single herd they successfully identified three males sharing a surprising characteristic: They have all applied and been approved to receive food stamps!

The GRIPE scientists wanted me to pass along a message regarding this finding: “We are not shitting you.”

Details are still sketchy, more field research is needed, but here’s what we know so far.

Three gerbils, including our own son and two of his herd, have applied for and received food stamps. Yes, they’ve had a rough life and need help from a system they’ve never fucking paid into. Dropping out of work, avoiding your GED, refusing to look for a job, and turning your physical being into a fashion accessory is hard work.

So these three lazy 21-year-old assholes who have underachieved, dropped out, and never really held down a job are all pulling in food stamps.  The food stamp money can even be used to pay for their “take and bake” pizzas!

Oh … my … God. What does a motherfucker living at home still need food stamps for???

I think the pyramid produced by our GRIPE staff sums it up nicely. Pot, smoking and drugs all come first. Then non-nutritional edibles like candy, expensive coffee drinks and the primary nutritional source for gerbils: lots and lots of Monster and Red Bull energy drinks.

If you have no job, live at home, have a medical marijuana card and are on food stamps, nothing less than $4 coffee drinks will suffice. Obviously.

–Tom B. Taker

It’s obvious why their is a need for food stamps. They do actually use the food stamps to buy some groceries, thus they are able to divert the remainder of their cash money to the things they really want that are really useless. The other day the gerbil stopped by and tried to borrow money from us because, he said, he only had 43 cents to his name. Yet he is never without his expensive smokes. Funny how that works.

Really, I want to know. What, if anything, are we teaching the youth of this generation and how in any way, shape or form are they being prepared to deal with the real world? I fear for them.