Empathy where has it gone?

Deidre Bennett's picture

This afternoon I received disturbing news that one of our old students had murdered another child.  Let me repeat this again a 14 year old child has ended the life of a 16 year old.  I hope upon reading this you reacted the same way as I, your mouth dropped and you stared and shook your head in disbelief.

You probably didn't. You probably briefly felt some tinge of emotion and now want to ask me several questions.  Then you will go on with the rest of your life and store this in your memory until you need to repeat a juicy story to someone else or when you have a discussion with someone about violence you will mention it.

Not me.  I have a feeling of deep empathy that is gnawing at my soul. Maybe because I actually know  the parties involved. Maybe this is what creates empathy in people. When you actually know the people affected by crime.

Today in class we were asked to think about a topic we wanted to research.  immediately I thought about this crime and how youths who witnessed this incident cheered the murderer on.

What is lacking in these juveniles?  How could you cheer someone on to kill someone else?  How did you all run off probably high-fiving each other and giving out pounds?  Even today they are probably on some corner or stoop replaying and embellishing the events of Tuesday night.

Are these children experiencing any type of remorse or a feeling of empathy? It is upsetting when I cannot say without a doubt that they are.  In fact, my gut tells me maybe a few of the twenty youths but not all. 

What has happened to our society when we can commit crimes and feel absolutely nothing. Have we become desensitized to murder. Are our children merely vessels transporting hate and destruction? I don't know.

Knowing all of this I have decided to dedicate my web page to Tyshon Brown-Smith, his assailant and the children who witnessed this tragic event with the intention of gathering information that will hopefully help us teach ours kids EMPATHY. 

http://www.nbc10.com/news/13659487/detail.html

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20070712_He_wouldnt_back_down__and_died.html

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20070712_Boy__17__dies_of_wounds_after_stabbing.html

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