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December 14th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Walk in My Shoes: Teen talks about deadly brawl

Editor's Note: This week American Morning is examining the causes of youth-on-youth violence across the country. In part one of the series, "Walk in My Shoes," we talk to Vashion Bullock – one of the teens who participated in the brawl captured on video that left a 16-year-old boy dead. On Tuesday, we talk with teens about why they fight, and if anything can be done to change the behavior.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Derrion Albert, 16, was beaten to death September 24. His death was captured on video."]

By T.J. Holmes, CNN

Teen violence – it's a problem just about everywhere. In California, a crowd watched a 15-year-old girl gang raped after her high school prom. Five of the six suspects are teenagers.

In Florida, a 15-year-old suffers second-degree burns over 80 percent of his body, when five teens set him on fire in a dispute involving his failure to pay them $40 for a video game.

And in Chicago, captured on a cell phone camera, 16-year-old Derrion Albert beaten to death by a mob of teens. A killing so senseless and brutal it strikes a nerve across the country, all the way to the White House.

“It was a stark wake-up call to a reality that can be easy for too many to ignore,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

A wake-up call to a startling reality where, according to the most recently released CDC figures, an average of 16 young people are murdered each day in the United States. In Chicago, twelve public school students have been killed in the last four months, including Derrion Albert.

“I got some regrets. I wish I would’ve stayed home that day,” says 17-year-old Vashion Bullock, one of the kids who took part in the Chicago brawl.

Facing expulsion from Fenger High School, Vashion says what the public sees in these images and what he saw that day are two different stories. In his world, he says, fighting is about survival.

“One of the kids had thrown a rock at my brother's car, so I approached the boys like 'why ya all, why ya all throwing rocks and stuff at the car.'”

For weeks, Vashion says tension was brewing between two rival factions at Chicago's Fenger High School. Fights between the teens were nothing new, but on this day some kids came with makeshift weapons.

“They brought those weapons to the fight. That's what the people are not understanding. They picked up them housing bricks and brought them, they picked up them bottles and brought them. They ripped up the railroad tracks just to fight.”

Video of the fight shows a shirtless Vashion with his brother Eugene Riley standing next to him, both empty-handed as another teen whacks Vashion with a wooden plank. When the brothers appear again, they're holding planks.

T.J.: So your brother comes over and does what?

Vashion: Swung on one of them with me. He's fighting with me. … He had to protect himself and me because I am his little brother.

T.J.: You’re telling me your brother was simply defending himself and defending you at the time with whatever was around and whatever the other side was using.

Vashion: Come on. I got hit in the back of my head. He got hit in the back of his head with a stick.

T.J.: Did Derrion, as far as you know, did he ever, was he ever part of the group that was jumping you?

Vashion: I ain't gonna say he was fighting me cuz I couldn't tell.

T.J.: So you assume he was over there trying to swing on you and trying to fight you and your brother?

Vashion: No I ain't assuming. I know for a fact.

Authorities have repeatedly said Derrion was nothing more than an innocent bystander on his way home from school, caught between two rival groups.

T.J.: So from what you see in that video. What do you see your brother doing to Derrion?

Vashion: I see him fighting. He hit him with a stick. It was a fight.

Derrion was still on the ground when Vashion's brother Eugene delivered a final blow.

T.J.: I know it's your brother and I know you love him, but do you think it was necessary to take it that far?

Vashion: They brought those weapons to the fight. That's what the people not understanding.

T.J.: But Derrion was down. Why did you think your brother had to go after and hit this kid, who clearly wasn't a threat anymore at least?

Vashion: He was another body, another body with two hands that could've been swinging on anybody.

T.J.: What did you think when you heard that Derrion had been killed?

Vashion: That was sad. Ain't nobody meant to take his life.

After video of the brawl was released, Vashion's brother Eugene was taken into custody – one of four teens charged in the killing of Derrion Albert.

T.J.: You think your brother should be in jail right now?

Vashion: No.

T.J.: Why not?

Vashion: Because it was a fight. A fight happens daily. People die daily.

T.J.: But you know for the police and for our justice system that isn't good enough. Your brother picked up something, hit a kid, and the kid died.

Vashion: What about the other people that picked up the weapons and hit me. Where they at?

T.J.: Don't you think somebody should be held accountable for Derrion's death?

Vashion: No, not accountable for the whole thing because it was a mistake. Ain't nobody want him to die. And nobody meant for him to die. We just was a fight. Fights get took out of hand. Not intentionally, just because.

Filed under: Crime • Walk in My Shoes
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. KFos

    I guarantee you that things would change in the juvenile violence area if parents were held responsible for the criminal acts of their children. Constitutional problems prohibit us from exploring this possibility, but the same change would take place if the criminal acts of juveniles would reflect on the families they come from. Where there is no culture, there is no responsibility, and it is our duty to create a family culture that will not accept juvenile criminal behavior.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Jenny

    How sad that the youth of today feel that they don't need to take responsibility for their actions. I, as a parent, feel that it is our jobs to make sure this doesn't happen. When a child is young and they do something wrong, they need to be punished. This behavior learned at a young age will carry into their high school years and beyond. Shame on the people not willing to own up to the way their kids are raised. Shame on the people who blame it on slavery. It's time that we as parents take back control of our kids and raise them right.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  3. Everett

    I heard the comment this morning watching CNN that people "just dont understand what it slike for these kids". The fact that the piece is titled "Walk in their Shoes" implies that we as a society have something to learn from people like this. That we should "listen". That is utter nonsense and goes along way in explaining WHY violence contniues on black neighborhhods. In our neoritic manifestations of white guilt we excuse atrocious behavior form no-white people. If this was a gang of white children who killed this young man, we would never say that we need to understand them better. We woul have called it waht it is and that is an act of cowardice and hate. There is no excuse. Its an insult to poor people everywhere who work hard to keep their children safe and raise them in the best manner they can.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  4. just because

    This is a typical liberal CNN attempt at blaming everyone else except the people/person at fault. They should have named this article. "how future felons begin"

    December 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  5. J. D. Fisher


    I hear you, but do this experiment.

    1. Go listen to some Gansta Rap with all of the negative lyrics and right down how you fell.

    2. Next go listen to some Gospel and then do the same thing.

    I don't care what anybody says, music can influeance someone, who is open to be influeanced. Your mind, will process thoughs based on your environment.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  6. Olivia

    Unfortunately this young man is ignorant and he so deftly proves it.
    His mother is a wonderful example of bad parenting by agreeing that her son did nothing wrong in hitting that young man AFTER he was defensless on the ground. This reporter clearly took the side of the offenders on this one. This young man claims he wants to grow up to attend college and enter law enforcement? Not with that narrow minded way of thinking. Law enforcement doesnt need another dirty cop, thank you. These boys want to be tiugs? Send them to Iraq or Afghanistan with the true heroes of this nation and see how fast they pee their pants. Their thug life will seem like a walk in the park. I dont feel sorry for them as there a number of children growing up in povery situations in bad neighborhoods who ARENT living the banger lifestyle. THEY will succeed in this world This young man and his mother need a true reality check. NOT 15 minutes of fame from a biased reporter.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  7. neal kelley, atlanta ga

    why is everyone so shocked.. I grew up in the ghettos of far rockaway. This was a everyday occurance,. It is poverty that was created from hundreds of years of discrimination that is responsible for it. Remember.. it was 1967 that we got equal rights.. do you think that hundreds of years of povety, slavery, and discrimination will not have an effect on the mental condition not to mention the financial condition of a people.. poverty and violence goes hand and hand.. "socialogy 101"... it is the problem that america does not want to actknowledge.. I do not fault white people of this generation.. they did not own slaves.. and did not discriminate against us.. but the fact remains.. we are still vicitims from a horror that has condemed us to self hate and poverty.. As Americans we need to all sit down and finaly discuss what we can do to solve this problem. So finally a day can come.. when we can all sit down.. black people and white people and discuss about those horrors of the past.. with out some one feeling angry and some one feeling guilty..

    December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  8. chris

    Hey Josh...
    These murderers DO NOT live in my neighborhood, and they are not MY teenagers. And in NO way shape or form have I, or my parents, created this situation.
    You assesment of the situation is pathetic, and wholeheartedly incorrect.
    But hey, since you are willing to take ownership, and responsibility for creating this situation, then please report to the police.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Joe

    I don't think the kid should be in jail. Derrion's gang brought weapons. What the hell were they supposed to do?? It's either kill or be kill in these neighborhoods, it's a lose-lose situation for Eugene: either die or spend your life in jail. If it's determined that Derrion's gang brought the weapons (which I'd believe) no one should go to prison; it's an unfortunate byproduct of this gang fight.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  10. Janine

    what gets me here is, more than half of the people commenting on this post have no idea what it actually feels like to be in a fight, or be bullyied to the point that you cant take it anymore. i am definetly not saying what these kids did was right, because its not. But it is not just these childrens fault. They are just children and you have to remember that. This is a product of the parenting and the society that they live in. The choices are made for them. I know that in many of these fights it's either fight back or stand there and take the beating. which would be better? neither. but its a choice that these children do not have the mentality to make. something needs to be done about the school systems, city and the parenting.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  11. EP

    This is what happens to ignorant, illiterate people. This boy is stupid. Point blank period. If his brother would have died, then he would be speaking differently. He'd be ready to give the other boy in jail the death penalty. Wake up and grow up! The world doesn't give any passes for immaturity. Your brother is in jail. He did the dirt. If you feel so badly for your brother, then go and be his cellmate. No respect for another person's life or your own. So since you haven't been back to school since September and I definitely wouldn' t take you at my school, have your brother save you a bunk because guaranteed that you'll be joining him pretty soon.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  12. morgan thomas

    It is alot tougher now,but even 55 years ago it was tough. Guys and girls fought,had clicks,and egos. Now it is tougher because of the mental attitudes,martial arts,guns and drugs and gangs. Kids learn to be meaner from videos,and sports. In any case I don't think the world should made up of whimps. I don't care who you are you need to learn values and respect. A thug in a gang wants "respect". Well earn it, not from fear,but by being a learder. Some of "toughest" guys on the street are priests.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  13. J. D. Fisher

    1. Throwing everyone in the neighborhood who fights will not solve the problem. It will just create more prisoners who will "fight" and become more thuggush in jail."

    2. A culture change and enlightenment will only solve this problem. (ie. Harlem Renaissance)
    a. We need to demand no declare that Gangsta Rap is a national security issue. The music execs only care about the money, not if teenagers that are being fueled to hurt and kill by this music.

    b. Parents must promote education as a way out. This is America, if foreigners can come to this country with barely anything and become professionals, then our young people can too.

    c. Get rid of the "Welfare Culture" It's time for people to do for yourselves and stop depending on handouts. Some of my family is bad about welfare. They expect the government to get them through life.

    d. Black men, it's time for yall to become the fathers you need to be. I'm black and my kids are very important in my life.

    Here's my solution. Let me get off the box and stop preaching.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  14. girliegirl36

    With the way this kid Vashion is thinking no wonder the other child is dead. Obviously these kids don't think logically, don't care about how this sort of thing is destroying so many lives and just don't care about any of the consiquences. These young people have to learn that if you take a life, generally your life will be taken too...whether is be jail time or a gang member seeking revenge...your life will be screwed. Try putting that on a job application.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Karen

    Whomever raised this boy did not do a very good job if he honestly believes that taking part in ANY action that results in someone's death should not result in someone taking the blame.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  16. Steve in DC

    Johnny, while I agree with you that our money and resources should be spent in this country, nobody assassinated Saddam Hussein. The American troops captured him, turrned him over to the Iraqis, and he was tried, convicted, and hanged in accordance with their laws. (He had far more rights in his trial than most defendants in most parts of the world!)

    December 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  17. Eugene Brooks

    This type of violence has been going on for the last 30 years in the inner cities of America. The kids in the streets will not listen to people who they believe haven't walked in their shoes. The excuse given by this young man is the most classical excuse given by people who are confronted about there issues.

    I was one of those kids fighting in the streets and using drugs when i was there age. I had been shot across the head, locked and been homeless. I used the same excuse as that young man for many years. It only kept me miserable and isolated. I have just finished writing a book called " Half Black Half White-Finding Me and My place in America" chronicling my life from the streets to graduating from Law School. The only people that can help these lost young men are men that have walked in their shoes. the same people that we have cast a side are the only ones that can save the next generation.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  18. Trevor Willis

    Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.... from the careless media to estranged youth, from to incoherrant parents to political agenda soldiers, and from militants to racists...

    December 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  19. Opinionated

    Unless it is self-defense (or the defense of your loved ones), when you kill you should pay a penalty. Irresponsible accidental killing (impaired or irresponsible) should receive the penalty of life in prison. Intended homicide warrants death (age doesn't matter).

    End of story.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  20. Christine Jacobsen

    I work in a small city school district where fights occur frequently. As a school counselor, I am often the go-to person when conflicts begin verbally. I remind students that if they are jumped,etc. and fight back, they will be suspended, as well as the perpetrator. This is our zero tolerance to violence. I have always been surprised that in this culture of violence, it is very important to fight back. This has been ingrained into the students from a very young age. Walking away from a fight is not an option to most of these students. This has been a difficult concept for me to accept. I look forward to the next episodes, whereby I hope solutions are posed.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  21. yolanda kk

    This is indeed a tragedy, and for this young man to come to an interview and say that Derrion Albert was just in a fight and no one should be punished!! What if it were his brother or cousin, would justice need to prevail then. We can't pick and choose the things that we feel the justice system should be responsible for but with all things think of others. This was senseless and a generation that our elders call lost they need to find another way to express their anger and feelings. America we need to pray for our country and other countrys that try to hurt ours. We need to do something for our youth because they are truly dying and being lost.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  22. Jason

    Renzo, your comment was incredibly insightful. I believe you said it perfectly. Most of the sorrows in this world are voluntary in some shape, way, or form. If a school has a population of 1,000 students and they have a known gang membership of 200 students then the odds are still in favor of the 800. I continuously am astounded that the supposedly vast number of law abiding citizens let this come to pass.
    Perhaps there is a feeling that it isn't their responsibility or that there is a large enough physical threat to not step up but clearly time and time's been proven just the opposite.
    The value of life was never so dimished 40 years ago. I simply can't stand it when we hear in other parts of the world where children don't have anything, least of all an education, and then we see our children choosing to abandon their education for a stick or a left jab to the face.

    December 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  23. james

    The message that needs to be sent is this: these parents are not doing their jpbs as parents, schools are not doing their jobs maintaining discipline, the police are not doing their jobs by looking the other way half the time and finally we the American people are failing in our jobs as citizens in letting this happen. Things will not change until everyone of us says enough, if we see something wrong we do something or say something right then and follow up to make sure that it has been done. Until we each and everyone do that nothing will change. And yes it is your responsibility as a human and an American citizen to do that.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  24. As is

    Simply put, he will end up stealing or murdering someone within the next 12 months and end up in jail and it is a reflection of the ghetto mentality. His Dad is surely in jail his mom is probabely on drugs and does nothing to teach him how to be a hard word citizen.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  25. Cris

    "Big corporation backing drug dealers and thugs as role models is the primary problem we are facing. Until this problem is addressed thereis no hope for change."-quote from Derrell

    Derrell-That's like blaming the milk truck manufacturer for a bad carton of milk. Everyone has a nose. Smell the milk before you serve it to your children. ..can't go blame everybody else for a problem you could have avoided. I know, kind of a strange analogy...

    There are so many "inner city" youth who have been taught the "right" path. They see and hear the same "Corporate" junk. It's ALL parenting. Too many misguided puppies will always end up as packs of violent dogs.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  26. Lissa

    All these teens need to take responsibility..... Just a fight, just one drink, I wasn't going that fast..... that is the problem with America... we think it just one, or just at all... if we add ice to just.... maybe we can have justice for all. When I get stopped for speeding "I broke the law and have to deal with it." When you fight, you're doing wrong!!DUI is wrong, murder is wrong, rape is wrong, etc., when you do these you have to own up to it. Fight in a war... for our freedom. It was a fight, someone died.... Now you have to pay for the crime of fighting for whatever your reason was... So quit using the excuse of how you live. Just like school.... you only get what you want out of it. Don't say never. Life is too short and I still wish that most of the kids would be sent into the Armed Forces so that they can become someone with worth.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  27. pam

    I'm so sick of parents raising monsters and not being responsible for the monsters they raise. If Vashion is telling the truth, then Derrion is partly to blame for his own death. But that doesn't excuse Vashion and his brother either for the part they played in this unfortunate incident. If you do the crime, then you have to do the time.

    When are we going to start holding parents accountable for the kids they raise. I find it hard to accept that these parents know nothing about their kids that live in their house. My husband and I have 7 children. 6 boys and 1 girl. We made sure that we knew where our children were and age did not matter. They were brought up knowing that we were responsible for them until they were grown and gone. Living under our roof meant following our rules and there was nothing they owned that couldn't come under our authority – purchased or borrowed.

    Yes environment can impact a child, but the impact from a parent that is involved in a child's life is greater. Our children lived in some bad situations. There was foodstamps, poverty, gangs and drugs, but we never stopped being actively involved in their lives.

    Every action in this life comes with a choice and choices come with consequences. I believe all involved should pay the heaviest price for their actions, but I also believe that parents should realize that it's not up to the rest of the world to raise their children.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  28. Jarod from San Deigo

    I am not sure why I had expected rational answer/suggestions while reading this post. Instead, we get stupidity from the peanut gallery. Most of you responded and read with 1950's golden television styled ears instead of sorting through reality. These kids are no more animals than most of the drug infested/incestual/money-buys-all/i-think-i-own-everything brats you suburbanites raised. To think that somehow it's a black-thing like some ofyou suggest is just plain old STUPID. Yes the parents/guardians are responsible, but because it takes a village, so is TV, politicians and the cowardly silent majority. We can tack back this country but it starts with eradicating the senseless mentalities of both this young boy and most of the idiots on this post...

    December 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  29. tv

    Really just such a sad story. Practically illiterate. No remorse or guilt. Violent tendencies. What can we do in the face of such overwhelming challenges?

    December 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  30. Rich

    These kids are guilty as sin. Lock them up for life. They don't understand that their actions have consequences.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  31. John

    What a pathetic commentary on that part of society. No one is responsible, no one is at fault. Just happened. Like animals.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  32. Ashley

    That is what is wrong with todays society. Kids are brought up not being accountable for thier own actions. And who taught this kid to speak proper english. Where are thier parents? Why couldnt their parents teach them how to behave and that fighting just to fight is wrong. And you cant tell me that no one was ment to get hurt. I mean jeez

    December 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  33. Tracy S

    "Authorities have repeatedly said Derrion was nothing more than an innocent bystander on his way home from school, caught between two rival groups." If you look at the video, Derrion is clearly fighting at 0:45 seconds. He walks into the fight from the side at 0:42, throws a punch at 0:45. Doesn't look like an innocent person to me. He had plenty of time to run, get out the way. He actually walked right into it.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  34. Jen

    Why can noone understand the concept of responsibility any longer? This boy needs to be made to understand that, if I read his comments right, his entire world view is wrong. Violence is not the answer, and if you THINK it is, then you need to be shown other ways to handle yourself. No matter how bad you've had it- and I'm sure that I would not want to imagine the things some of these kids have seen- you have to work and find ways to get beyond that if you ever want to succeed and get out of that situation. If you choose NOT to do what it takes to do that, you can blame only yourself. That means that you live up to the repercussions of your own decisions- plain and simple. This boy and his brother screwed up, and a presumably innocent child was killed as a result of the brawl they were involved in. One can only say that all involved in the fight should face the consequences of their poor choices.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  35. Tara

    Sounds like they need a conflict resolution program and some safe areas to compete in sports (perhaps even boxing). I bet those are a lot cheaper than the health care costs they rack up.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  36. BV

    While the environment of these young people is very different from what most of us face, it is no excuse. They need to be procecuted and not let out among non-criminals for a large number of years.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  37. Danielle

    Dear CNN,

    I just want to point out that in the written dialogue you have corrected any standard English errors made by T.J., but you have left any incorrect usage made by Vashion as is. For example, in the video T.J. says "for the police and for our justice system that ain't good enough." In the written dialogue, however, you have changed it to say 'isn't' as opposed to 'ain't.' When Vashion claims that "Fights get took out of hand," the improper usage is left, untouched. These subtle, intentional changes simply act as a way to show Vashion in a negative, uncredible light, while elevating your reporter. If you are going to edit parts of the transcript, you should be editing all of the transcript.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  38. writingmomma

    There are so many reasons why kids fight. It's ironic that the title of their story is almost the same as a book that I published in 2004, "Come Walk In My Lost Shoes."
    I published that book so that others can see the obstacles that black children face in this country on a daily basis.
    I was a preteen, and teen, trying to survive on streets that were made for peace. Instead, I had to live day to day just surviving in fear. You have to do what you have to do to survive out here in this world. I had no parents to protect me. I was a little peon that fell through the juvenile court system with no one to care.
    But thank God, I survived.
    Many children, such as myself, had to leave home with not even as much as a piece of bread in their stomachs in the morning, head to a school that expected you to relate with other people, that were probably just as angry as you. Filled with that much hurt and anger sparks a rage inside of a child that is hard to quench.
    I walked around with that same rage for many years. I lashed out at any and everybody I could. Really, I was crying for help, along with many children in this country and abroad.
    I had to make a choice by the time I was 17 because I was pregnant by then. I chose to get an education and better my situation. Many just give up. That is why mentors are so important.
    Yes, violence is everywhere. In video games, movies, local television and in many homes. We have to stop putting so much value on the almighty dollar, and more value in our schools and children.
    They are crying out for help. Where are you America? Sitting in front of the television shaking your heads, while another child kills, or gets killed. Get off of the couch and into your communities.
    Preachers, leaders, evangelist, ect..., come out of the safety zones and into the streets where most of these kids are. Don't you believe that God will protect you? Isn't that what you preach and teach? "There is no fear in love." Isn't that what the bible say?
    If it wasn't for the inner drive that I had to survive, I would probably be just like Derrion right now. I pray for all of the children that need guidance. Never give up, if you have to leave the area you live in and move to a better city, never give up on a dream to accomplish more than anger and rage.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  39. niko

    so glad to see that most of the reactions here are on point! i was going crazy watching that interview this on AM... of course he doesn't think anyone should be held accountable for this crime or anything else that "just happens" to him.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  40. Scott

    Did I read that right? This kid took part in a fight that took an innocent persons life and all he is facing is expulsion from school? Talk about a failed justice system!

    December 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  41. Wendy

    I am reading posts where the blame is on the Schools, the government, the police....the blame is on each one of those kids and their choices. Maybe that is where we went wrong as a society. People cannot and willnot accept that there are consequences for their own actions. All people choose to see is the wrongs done to them. You even read it in the article..."where are the people that hit me, where are the people that hit my brother, why arent they in here?". Instead of taking responsibility for your own actions, you keep asking "what about him?".

    Schools are not responsible for raising your children, parents have seen to that when they told schools that they cannot discipline their child anymore.

    The government is not responsible for raising your children, guess what, YOU ARE responsible for raising your child/children.

    If you cannot control your own child and keep him/her off the street and out of gangs, how do you expect anyone else to?

    Now that you have made your children the governments problem, I am sure you will critque each and every solution they come up with when you were a fail boat as a parent to begin with.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  42. chris48210

    Ok, I grew up in Southwest Detroit in the 1990s and at my high school we had brawls just like that, we had kids getting beat so bad they could not walk afterwards. They used to shoot outside and inside my school several times a year and that was my middle school and high school. The truth is that this has been going on for decades in the Ghetto... nothing new at all... nothing... this story has been replayed in Detroit and other places.

    People from the Suburbs need to understand that just because someone video taped it, does not mean this just started. It's sad that suburbanites have been so blind to the state of the inner cities.. i guess it took most of them to loose their homes to care.

    This article, this news cast should have been done 15 or 20 years ago, it should have been done before somone could youtube the fights..

    The core is that inner cities wether they are filled with early 20th century Jewish or Italian Immigrants or 21st Century blacks and latinos.. its the same fights, the same gangs. Al Capone, Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lanski, John Gotti ALL belong to gangs just like these.

    So, lets talk about getting more education, more jobs, better teachers, and more inner city renewal to stop this violence... its not racial it economical....

    December 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  43. John Doe

    Where is Rev. Jackson and Al sharpton ?

    December 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  44. SCK

    What if you lived in a place where terrorists and predators lived next door? Every day they walk the street prowling for someone to feed off. You want to leave but leaving is not an option. Leaving cost money and there are people who have been driving the prices of food, homes, clothing and education far out of your reach. You’re a good person and so you work but your wages are not going up faster than the costs. So you work more... You have children but there is no option to stay at home with the children because you are always at work (you won't except welfare). You kids see the predators and will either become the lions and hyenas or the antelope and the wildebeest. The top of the food chain is where you have greater control of survival. It’s wrong but human beings adapt to their surroundings to survive. As sick as you see it survival is the only option to have a chance to change later in life. Invest in schools and children..

    December 14, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  45. Dave

    You don't have to be a Christian to see and understand the value that Christian morals have on a culture. C.S. Lewis paraphrased said "You are shocked when after mocking the message of the Bible the culture responds with horrific displays of inhumanity". The problems are rampant everywhere but I would say chief among them for the black community is the disintegration of the family. Those who bring a biblical response to the issues are often met with parady, derision, and scorn. But take courage, check it out. God does, thru the bible, have alot to say about how familes are supposed to be..

    December 14, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  46. Holly

    I also agree with those who say the inner city culture builds this image up. Bottom-line, people won't change unless they are shown a need to do so; experience is a very through teacher, and it's lessons extremely difficult to correct. After all, seeing, hearing, and touching things that are real and appear to be true.........Are true to the person experiencing it.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  47. Al A

    Anyone who thinks these kids got this way by themselves are foolish. They got this way because this is the environment we created. We are responsible for their development or lack there of. They are a product of uncaring parents and a society unwilling to hold parents accountable. I grew up in NYC and the only reason I did not belong to a gang was because of my mother. I did not have the freedom to wander aimlessly and get into trouble. My mother worked 12-14 hours daily, but she knew where I was and what I was doing 24/7. What I learned from her was applied to my children for I could literally be on the other side of this planet, yet I knew where my children were and what they were doing. I brought them into this world and I accepted responsiblity for as long as the law allowed and then some. The youth of this country will continue disgust us in ways unimaginable until parents either willingly or unweillingly assume responsibilty for their creation. If your child did the crime, it was your lack of attention that allowed it to happen. It’s as simple as that!

    December 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  48. K C

    It saddens me that this young man doesn't see the severity of what happen. A life was taken! I grew up in the same conditions that he did. I understand what he meant by sometimes you do have to fight when growing up in that type of environment. I personally never had to, but I've seen many cases where my peers had to in order to defend themselves. Obviously, this young man has become a victim of his circumstances and surroundings. It doesn't excuse his behavior by any means! He has adopted the negative street life mentality. Im sadden because so many of our youth fall into the same trap. I don't know if it is because they don't have the self motivation or the proper parental influence and support to succeed or whatever. Sometimes they have the postive parental influence and still fall by the waist side because they give into peer pressure. This young man has no respect for life. His or anyone else's. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and suffer the consequences. I just fear sending him to prison is not going to rehabilitate him, even though that is where he belongs. Prison will only make him worse! Im not sure how to help this young man or others like him, but something definitely needs to be done. What is the world coming to when kids don't even value a human life!

    December 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  49. Richard

    Parents? Where are the parents? Someone taught this young man these values.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  50. Grant from Colorado

    Violence begets violence.

    What do the cops do when they show-up to take the 'offenders' into custody? They beat the crap out of them, that's what. I don't hear an outcry to throw cops in jail after they "didn't mean" to kill someone with a Taser, or their firearm. Why? Because they're cops? Give me a break! They are at least as responsible for this violence as the kids caught-up in it. Throw them and their massive (unfounded) egos into the slammer for a while.

    Course, that assumes the cops even bother to show since most (certainly not all) are cowards to begin with. These kids are fighting for their lives in situations I suspect most readers here have no idea even exists and don't have the capacity to even imagine the lives these kids lead. Go ahead and walk a mile in their shoes and we'll see how long it takes you to resort to violence when you are defending yourself and the ones you care about. My money says "not long".

    We can do something other than throwing away a key, or if you prefer, you can wait until this is on your doorstep threatening your family. Then when you cry for help, just remember that this is how you wanted it. Ignorance is bliss and running rampant. Big surprise this country is failing as fast as it is, huh?

    December 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  51. Jacquie C

    I am a teen myself, 19 mixed race (african american and hispanic). I come from a very good background and a stable family. My parents have done everything they can for me and my brothers but that doesn't mean anything. I've never gotten into serious trouble but I have had my bad moments and you cannot blame the parents for this. Parents try their hardest and kids do what they want to. People are not looking at the fact that this kid is going through a lot too. What he is saying may not make sense to you because you don't care to listen. Some people are just not good with expressing themselves so you have to look at it as if you were him. I do agree with him on the fact that not everyone involved is being charged. It is very unfortunate that someone lost their life. But does everyone really think that if Derrion did not lose his life anyone would be charged with anythingor that we would be hearing about this? Because I don't. Or why not charge the faculty of the school for this crime too? Obviously they were right in front of the school and there were no teachers present until they were bringing Derrion into the school. Where i am from you get in trouble for being in the fight and for watching the fight and if that means the whole school is in trouble so be it. I do agree with the people who have already been charged but I believe more arrests need to be made and people need to stop judging these kids for their behaviors because you never know it could be your child doing the same thing and you could be the best parent in the world. Stop judging situations just based off of where people live and how much money they do or don't have

    December 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  52. Brad Hall

    This Vashion Bullock, is a real piece of work. He, and others like him, have no moral sense of right, and wrong.

    I just love the exchange here:

    T.J.: So from what you see in that video. What do you see your brother doing to Derrion?

    Vashion: I see him fighting. He hit him with a stick. It was a fight.

    Derrion was still on the ground when Vashion's brother Eugene delivered a final blow.

    T.J.: I know it's your brother and I know you love him, but do you think it was necessary to take it that far?

    Vashion: They brought those weapons to the fight. That's what the people not understanding.

    T.J.: But Derrion was down. Why did you think your brother had to go after and hit this kid, who clearly wasn't a threat anymore at least?

    Vashion: He was another body, another body with two hands that could've been swinging on anybody.

    T.J.: What did you think when you heard that Derrion had been killed?

    Vashion: That was sad. Ain't nobody meant to take his life.

    After video of the brawl was released, Vashion's brother Eugene was taken into custody – one of four teens charged in the killing of Derrion Albert.

    T.J.: You think your brother should be in jail right now?

    Vashion: No.

    T.J.: Why not?

    Vashion: Because it was a fight. A fight happens daily. People die daily.

    T.J.: But you know for the police and for our justice system that isn't good enough. Your brother picked up something, hit a kid, and the kid died.

    Vashion: What about the other people that picked up the weapons and hit me. Where they at?

    T.J.: Don't you think somebody should be held accountable for Derrion's death?

    Vashion: No, not accountable for the whole thing because it was a mistake. Ain't nobody want him to die. And nobody meant for him to die. We just was a fight. Fights get took out of hand. Not intentionally, just because.

    So, we let people kill other people, just because it was a fight, etc.
    Sometimes, I think we should send idiot's like this to.... let's say Pitcairn Island, after all the people there have been resettled someplace else. But then we would still have the problem.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  53. Bum Rush

    erect a fighting pit in each neighborhood....supervise the fights.....charge admission to watch.....turn it into a positive experience........

    or do nothing.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  54. Johnny

    I find it very disturbing that the same people who pass judgment on these young children are the same people who supported the asassination of Saddam Hussein. Already, I can hear criticism in response to that statement but one human life is no different than any other. Everyday there are senseless acts committed which cause others to share their opinions none of you are right. It is sickening to hear some of you call these young teens animals yet you are the same ones who suppport the violent cultures of our society. Boxing, MMA, Hollywood, Video games all portray images of violence which come across as glorifying such brutality. Solutions to problems come from the source of the problem, placing these young men in cages doesn't cure the issue at hand. Communities need to pull together to give them alternatives to life without violence, to help develop the social skills necessary to interact with others and ways to develop problem solving skills. Millions of dollars are spent each year on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan yet in our own neighborhoods families are struggling the same or worse than those in third world countries around the world. The first rule of nature is survival and that is what anyone will do in a time of need, what it takes to survive. My thoughts and blessings go out to the family of the young man who was killed in this incident but before judgment is passed and conclusions are drawn it would be much more wise to know the entire story and all of the details.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  55. Denis Chan

    It is real and sad to see the participants of the street fight not taking responsibility on their actions. This incomprehensible act reflects the overall failure of US education starting from elementary schools to high schools on social responsibility for the last decade. Enforcing parents or adults to participate in social education with their children regularly at their schools may be more important than before with the support from the parents' work places and US government.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  56. JGirl05

    As a Black female this really angers me because an innocent child died here for NOTHING. There are so many kids today who feel unloved. These kids have so much pent up hate and anger that they take out their hurt on others. I beat you these two brothers don't have a male role model in their lives. People we have got to get our acts together to try to stop this madness. How do we give these kids hope so that they can productive educated citizens in the community?

    December 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  57. Anthony B

    Being a man of 52 yrs I to grew up in a time when fighting was a way of survival, I can remember the lessons my mother, father and grandmother taught me about not putting my hands on anyone and not allowing anyone to put their hands on me...But the most memorable message my people preached daily was whatever you do son "don't do anything that will land you in the penitentiary." I continue to be amazed at todays youth because far to many of them think that killing a person is an acceptable method of resolving their dispute....

    December 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  58. Gil

    This kid is obviously an idiot. Someone should be and will be held accountable for the young man's death. Put him in jail too for being ignorant.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  59. Chirag

    All involved should have been charged not just with murder, but also with injuring others (who did not die).

    Having said that, there is a need to highlight each and every case and its outcome to prevent the fights. There is a need to introduce course in civility and anger management at schools.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  60. Natalie

    I regret reading this story. I thought he was going to say something insightful but all this kid said was a load of crap. He is not taking responisibility for anything he or his brother did. When you hit someone with a plank you are aware that you can harm or kill that person. For this kid to say they were fighting for their lives, that says its the "me or you" mentality...only one person comes out alive. This kid knew what he was doing, his brother deserves to be in jail and so does every other kid participating in this type of behavior. I heard one of the parents of the accused killers of Derrion Albert on tv denying her son was a "killer". Your son is on video tape standing over Albert kicking him in the head repeatedly!!! Geez these parents are just as screwed up as some of these kids!

    December 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  61. Rupert

    You think he would be so blase about it if it was his brother in the ground?

    December 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm |

    oh give me a break on the slavery angle...... why don't you just accept the fact that a parent didn't do their certainly is not because of slavery...heck we fought the dang war for ya , what more do you want? the holocaust victims went through a 100 times worse and unmentionable horrors and they came out and went on with their lives....... why can't you??? i am sick to death of all the whining and crying.... get up and do something about it if you don't like it. i lhave 4 jobs,, have never been on welfare,(thank god) you can do whatever you want to. last note, we have raised a "godless" generation of kids and you wonder why they don't know to feel shame,remorse,guilt? why would they, they haven;t been taught anything. the same goes for black,white,yellow,brown,and any other color. kids have to be taught,

    December 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  63. Shannyn Johnson

    This is a tradegy. I grew up in the inner city. Fighting was a way of life. I didn't like to fight. Never wanted to fight but sometimes had to fight. My parents taught us to walk away as much as possible but the reality was sometimes you can't. You have to fight to survive. It 's easy to judge when you have never had to live like this. I don't condone violence but when it's you against them, you have to protect yourself. Whenever my children watch movies based on stories like this, I always explain to them that this is truly a way of life for some people. I also tell them that I work very hard so that they won't have to experience this type of life. I also tell them not to forget about the children that have to grow up in this type of environment. We are not better than they are and we have a responsibility to give back. This story breaks my heart.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  64. KLJ

    There are a lot of valid points made by many in response to this article. However, we can change the tide. We need more positive male role models in the schools. These young men and women need to know about Ken Chenault and Clarence Otis just as much as they know about 50 cent and Jay Z. They need to understand the challenges faced by Dr. Ben Carson and how he overcame some of the same challenges they are wrestling with today. I am attempting to make a difference by mentoring a 9th grade student to help him make better choices. We all need to step up and pitch in however we can to change the tide of the battle.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  65. a different point of view

    Look at it from the other side. Let's say I come to rob your house. I have a gun. I get through the door and am at the bottom of your steps. You also have a gun. I raise mine to shoot you. You raise yours to shoot me. Your bullet gets me and mine misses. You kill me. Now you're saying that you are responsible for my death and should be in jail? You people are whacked. If someone comes at me with a stick you can bet I'm coming with something bigger.......and I'm not gonna lose. Send me your addys so Ic an come rob your house and rape your think it's ok and won't defend yourselves.Get out from behind your desk and look around once in a while. step into reality.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  66. Renzo

    I am 23 years old, and I grew up in a violent neighborhood... but guess what the violence came from those who were involved with drug distribution and actual former prison gang members (not that they are excused for being violent.) The rest of the crowd, myself included, defended ourselves if we had too. Yes fights broke out, but nothing like this. The thing is you got punk kids running around throwing up gang symbols, joining pointless school gangs trying to live the "thug life." Guess what, YOUR NOT THUGS! You're PUNK kids trying to be tough. And then you hear these kids talking about how hard life is and how tough it is in their "ghetto," and they say all this with some type of pride, "Oh I'm from the hood!" I want to laugh in their faces every time.

    These kids make their own lives this way. Yes they might be in a dangerous neighborhood, but they choose to fallow others mistakes, and they choose to join these LITTLE school gangs and think that they are men. One thing I will say, when you and five guys jump two more, guess what, you ain't a man, you are a WHIMP!! I'm from Puerto Rico, and I'm sorry when I say it, BUT WE LAUGH AT The youth of America for the reasons I explained above. They don't have to go through this, but they choose to be in the middle it, and they choose to start all that they say they try to avoid. These kids want their lives to be hard just so they CAN complain about how tough it is for them, so they can get pity parties from everyone and whatever "respect" they think comes with it.

    Now not everyone is like this, and some actually do have it extremely hard and go through stuff like this.... But then there are those who WANT to have it this way. These are the ones I am referring too.

    I know some of you will disagree, but know that I grew up in both places (first in Puerto Rico, and then in different parts of the U.S.) , and it was in the U.S. that I realized how dumb and stupid our generation really was.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  67. Hewitt R. Joyner III

    Dear Americans,
    This isn’t new, nor is it impossible to stop. We stopped it in Boston during the late 90’s with Operation Cease-Fire. We stopped it in Stockton, CA. with the Peacekeepers from 99-2000. We are stopping now with San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Task Force. We are the Aquarius Project, if called we can stop it in Chicago.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  68. Duane

    Sorry to say that this kid has the same mentality as most inner city youth. The fact is they see no difference between a fight and murder. It all comes down to respect and they don't understand what respect really means.

    I for one think the parents need to share the blame and punishment in these cases. I understand some parents have to work multiple jobs to raise their children, but there still needs to be parenting involved. What good does it do to work to support your kids if all they are going to do is become a drain on society?

    Come on people, take time with your kids and teach them right! I for one am tired of seeing kids become trash that no one wants around. Want them to have a fair shake in life? Give them the morale standards to be productive citizens.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  69. John Adams

    Parents should be held accountable for their kids actions! Also, the government should fix these parents so they are not allowed any more kids and then fix their kids so they are not allowed any more kinds, then on 15 years, all of these problems will not exist. Kids will have loving parents again, kids will thank one another and help out instead of kill and be killed and think it is okay and that is the way of life. Great story, I think people should hear what kids think about violence, this kid is a moron and will end up dead or in prison in the next year or two.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  70. Holly

    OH YES!. I agree with those suggesting investigative journalism. What a story. I think people would be truly enlightened to some serious social structure issues. There is a cycle that keeps people spinning their wheels in these situations. Ironically, for some, the harder they try, the harder they get pushed back down, and the faster they go nowhere. It would be interesting to know why this happens. It isn't necessarily a lack of drive or ambition that stalls people; it's a lack of ability to push past the barriers in the way. But what are the barriers, what a good story that would make. They may not be what people think they are either, for example, a poverty stricken mom literally can't afford to go to school to better more stable work, because they cut benefits and pay every time she makes the smallest step forward. This in turn pushes her back. And, what about the children here? They are trapped in this cycle of watching their parent fail, or be punished for even the most minor success. This is just one example, I am sure there are hundreds of others, and with very different circumstances, programs, and races. I have a laid off UAW worker friend, who doesn't expect to be called back to work. He can only attend 1 or 2 classes to further his education without harming his unemployment benefits, meaning it will take years to get an associate’s degree; I believe that is well beyond the unemployment time frame. So, some can even enter this vicious cycle when they were once affluent.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  71. Dan

    So by his logic, I could drive by his house, and shoot at it, and not be punished. After all, if I shot through the window and killed his mother, it was an accident, so I can't be to blame. I was just firing at their house, not anyone specifically inside. "People die every day", right?

    I can't believe these idiots think that just because you kill someone unintentionally, it isn't murder. Have fun in Prison, morons.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  72. itsme101

    I think this is a very important series. The more we know the more we can make changes.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  73. Gail Duncan

    This violence and lack of respect for life has been growing in the inner city for decades without anyone trying to stop it. Out of sight, out of mind until now only those in the neighborhood saw this, no lived with this on a daily basis. We have lost respect for one another and conitnue to view each other outside of the collective Americans and most of all as human beings. So concerned about money but not using money to do good things. We are are slipping further into darkness and there is not safety net in place or solutions being brought to the table and implemented. Wake up call number 2,3000000000000.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  74. fed up

    Vashion Bullock is nothing but an uneducated thug who should be behind bars with his brother. How can he think that no one should be held responsible for the other childs death? Please hurry and put a needle in this thugs arm before he has the chance to reproduce.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  75. james

    suprisingly no one has mentioned Hip Hop and the role it plays in the life's of young minorities. Since 1994 (about the time hip hop started to break into main stream) these kids have been listening to music riddled with violence and fighting to keep your "street cred" and you have to fight to survive to be successful. the tougher the cooler these days. These kids are 15/16 years old, so that would mean their whole lives has been influenced by this infamous alter ego hip hop has created. Ultimately the partents and future parents need to sensor what their children are exposed to. Wouldn't hurt if rapsters took some responsibility to do something positive and stopped "getting there" for a moment.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  76. Former Chicago Youth

    When this fight happened, I cried. I am from that neighborhood. Though it has been almost 30yrs, it was getting rough back then. Though I live comfortably in the south and raised my children in a different environment, it still deeply saddens me. The violence must stop. The children need help. The menatality is scary because this young man seriously believes what he says. He and many others are institutionalized to their surroundings. And unless you know anything about it, the narrow minded opinions should be spared. Senseless deaths, senseless killings, survival of the fittest. That street life!
    Our youth throughout the nation need guidance and transformation.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  77. Courtney

    This is just sad. Not only is this young man doomed to the violence but you can tell that they are not teaching anything in the school in which he attends. Just listen at how he speaks. President Obama is trying to get a Health Care Bill passed but none of these kids will be able to read and understand it. His priority should be Education, the Iraq War, Economy and the Environment.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  78. TB

    Treat gangs like terrorist..because truly thats what they.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  79. Realist

    These guys are puinks and hoodlums. They get into fights becuase somebody "dissed" them? Please! They have no respoect for themselves or each other. It is not a social issue, it is not an ecomonic issue. There are poor black, white, and brown kids that are model citizens and still get ahead in life. Nobody ever wants to blame themselves. When these jerks are dead or imprisoned, the problem will be solved. Oh here's another tip: When you show up for a fistfight, and the other side brought sticks and bottles, it is time to walk away.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  80. jack phoenix, AZ

    The kid has the mentality of an idiot. That's the problem with ALL gang members, they are idiots and you cannot reform them. l
    Let them kill each other and just contain them.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  81. Bryan

    Jail sentences for offenders are not the panacea to teen violence.

    It's easy to say "throw them in jail," but it's not the solution.

    But then again , this is America, we don't have much patience for anything other than a reactionary response.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  82. Danyel

    I think what Dan Nelson of Lafayette,IN was right on point. Spend time with your children and if they do step out of line you DON'T spare the rod. For you people that will say spankings make a person violent. Far from the truth..... there are 6 or us who are law abiding citizens that was spanked as children. I appreciate my mother for it to this day.

    December 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  83. FS

    I love how this guy is not taking responsiblity for his and his brothers actions. I did not see the video and refuse to watch it because it just seems so heartless and sad to see someone die like that. I am angered at how this guy keep making up excuses for what happened. Nobody intends for someone to die but if you are the one who initiates, participates in a crime that leads to death then you are responsible. I am annoyed at how these young people nowadays think that they can just take someone's life and not be held accountable. The brother should be in jail too! Bunch of ignorance!!

    December 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  84. Purnell Meagre

    Darrell – people make the music not the other way around.

    December 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  85. Jake

    I believe the main problem here was brought out perfectly by one of the accused Vashion Bullock. There is a major dis-connect in the upbringing of these kids.

    "When violence is the first reaction to a slight shove or a tease, Bullock doesn’t understand the consequences of that late September day.

    “They should let all of them go because it was just a fight. Fights happen daily. People kill people daily,” said Bullock

    "Fights happen daily, people kill people daily."

    If that's the way that the thought process for these animals work, then they should be caged up and allowed to destroy themselves.


    December 14, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  86. Dennis, former school administrator

    You ask what the schools can do? A school is a reflection of the community it serves. Nevertheless, in the Baltimore County Public Schhols there is a practice called "scope of authority." That means that any act by a student which impacts negatively on the safe and secure learning environment (regardless of where or when the act occurs) can result in punitive or other action by the school. This is especially true if the root of the problem lies in actions which begin in the school itself. Administrators, counselors, and school resource police are actively involved in conflict prevention and resolution. The problem in Chicago and other urban settings is that the culture of violence is so pervasive that there my be little that the "school" can do effectively. One thing is certain, the territorial nature of youth gangs and the "neighborhood" culture does not afford safety in cities where kids are forced or encouraged to cross boundaries to attend schools outside their neighborhoods. In that regard the previous emailer has a valid point.

    December 14, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  87. Cheri Akins

    Good morning and I must say I was shocked to see and hear you interview this traumatized youth. Recently my family were victims to a violent killing. What the experts say happened to the witness of this crime was a psycological reaction to protect oneself from the brutiality of the crime. What I saw and heard this morning from the brother of one of the killers is that he was protecting himself(his mind can not accept the crime he witnessed) by not being able to admit that he had witnessed a brutual death from his brothers hand. I thought you should have known to have a psychtrist or mental health specialist to assist you in understanding this young man. African Americans on a whole need a lot of mental health treatment from all the glass chards from slavery. This country could do a lot better. I am sad.And I have never experienced what this young man experienced have you?

    December 14, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  88. Darrell

    I work with youth every day in the inner city as a consultant and motivational speaker. What many people do not understand is that the culture of the inner city youth has been carved and shaped by thugs and drug kings who are now international rap stars. America has allowed this image to become the leading voice in Black and Latino communities and now we cannot understand why these kids are doing this to one another. For those of you who are thinking about it, please do not give me the "parent" response. Many good parents are wrestling with this battle everyday because once their kids leave the door, they are immediate pressured to conform to this American lead norm everyday. I say American (corporate) led because if Corporate America would not put up the money for to promote these negative images (through music, television and movies) displayed in our urban communities, we would begin to have a chance to revisit the values of our past. Until this happens, get ready to read more stories like the sad one we are reading today. Nobody wants to challenge the real problem here. Big corporation backing drug dealers and thugs as role models is the primary problem we are facing. Until this problem is addressed thereis no hope for change.

    December 14, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  89. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I think that these PUNKS should have not been spared the rod when they were growing up! Yes it is the parents who do not nip it in the bud that are to blame! These kids if were brought up to love one another then we would see a lot less hatred and killings! It is a testimony as to how we bring up our children!

    December 14, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  90. Letha

    To justify his part in a crime that took someones life is garbage and he and everyone involved should pay the price. CNN should be ashamed to show and report this crap as if it is understandable to kill someone because these kids have it bad. So clean up the streets and stop telling these dumb kids, "poor poor you". Move your butts to a place you "feel" safe but DON'T tell people it's OK to fight "just because". They all chose to get into it and fight which ended a young mans life. The video did show some who stepped back and were not involved but this YAHOO stepped right into the fight along side his brother.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  91. Josh

    I think you are doing groundbreaking work with this series, TJ and CNN. On today's broadcast, TJ kept trying to put the fight into a broader context–one in which violence, poverty, survival are everyday realities. This is not a context with which most Americans are familiar, and so most Americans simply judge these teens as criminals. Most Americans think of people who live in difficult circumstances, "It's THEIR problem." But they are OUR teenagers, they live in OUR neighborhoods, and the problems of these neighborhoods have been created by US. ALL of us. And it is not the schools' faults, nor the parents' fault, although schools and parents do have certain responsibilities. The problems are much bigger, though, and relate to the unequal distribution of opportunity in this country and the fact that we no longer believe it's ok to look out for our neighbors. Please keep up this important work!

    December 14, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  92. frankie

    Thank-you sincerely for this series. Remember the outcry at the very beginning of President Obama's Presidency, when he spoke about helping American schools? Remember the outcry that he should deal with "important" problems first? This show is revealing what needs to be seen.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  93. Paul Teich

    This was a gang fight. Why interview gangsters if you want an honest appraisal? These criminals will harm, and kill again. They will be doing long time before they are 21. The mutt you interviewed on Monday wants to go to college? Yeah, right. From a cell. Great job of reporting. This kid will probably get locked up before the week is out for participating in the fight. He's almost as dimwitted as the goof interviewing him. IT'S CHICAGO, THE NEW DETROIT!

    December 14, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  94. Chris Thomas

    I had the unfortunate opportunity to listen to one of the boys who was involved in the killing of this young man try to explain why no one should be charged in his death.
    I am sure the sorry excuse provided by this clown will make the parent of the young man who died feel good. This idiot is the perfect example of why inner-city children are seen as idiots.
    Having grown-up in the inner-city of Washington DC, I understand that sometimes you have to fight, but I also understand that killing someone is against the law.
    It is time for the justice system to take serious actions against these clowns and send a strong message that murderers will be handled accordingly.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  95. wsb-bethesda, MD

    That ought to be the last interview anyone connected with this case (at least the defense side) gives until the trial. That kid did nobody any good. His logic is completely absurd. I'm not saying there is something wrong with him, but there is definately something wrong with the way he thinks. If he has embraced violence so whole heartedly, he has bought into the perception that his life and the lives of people who live in his community are worthless. Sad, very sad.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  96. Tom

    Heard on CNN: "There's nothing wrong with with the kids, nothing at all. It's their surroundings ...". That's ridiculous. There IS something wrong with the kids. Clearly influenced by surroundings, bad parenting, etc., but there's inarguably something wrong with kids that think going after someone else with a baseball bat is OK.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  97. Bill

    Why are you so worried about what that kid thinks should be done with the people who beat that young man to death. What we forget is the concept of responsbility and consequences. When I was growing up there was poverty, there were gangs and rough neighborhoods; but there was responsibility and consequences for action. Most importantly, parents were accountable for their kids. Where were the parents in the Chicago case; where were the parents in the case in florida where the kid was burned. We need to get tougher and to make parents accountable instead of worrying about out tough the kids have it. We need to stop with the excuses and justifications and start doing what the rest of the world does and hold people accountable.

    December 14, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  98. Chris

    It's ridiculous that some people don't seem to understand that a fight could end up killing someone. However, I remember a fight after a Sacramento King's game ending in a man dying but I think the surviving fighter wasn't charged. Why is this case different?

    December 14, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  99. Seth Helmick

    Bullock honestly believes no one should be charged with this victims death? The police should take this tape and prosecute everyone that participated...We need to send a message that voilence can not and will not be tolerated...If there are no consequences there will be no action.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  100. Jillian

    Dear CNN,

    When are you going to start doing some decent investigative journalism into the rise of teen violence in Chicago? Why do you keep failing the American people who need you so very, very badly? Why do you say nothing about Arne Duncan's role in this upsurge – how his arbitrary closing of schools while he was "CEO" of Chicago schools caused students to have to walk through unsafe neighborhoods, because their local school was closed?

    Please, for the love of children and puppies and cute babies everywhere, give us the whole story for once. Thank you.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:41 am |
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