from some hypercritical juggalo http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_15129863
Last night, I went around holding a sign that said: “Free Hugs!” But that is not what moved me.
There is a group of kids who come to Sox Place called the Juggalos. They don’t consider themselves a gang. Rather, they consider themselves a family. While they aren’t the most conventional of people, when it comes down to it, they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
One of them even offered to find and “take care” of the person who slashed my tires. I refused, but was told: “You’re family. You don’t mess with family.”
As I passed their usual hangout, I heard “woop WOOP!” and knew I was being greeted. After hugs and smiles, I noted my roommate was hanging out with them, too. He wasn’t dressed in Juggalo black, but he sports a Mohawk that may get him labeled as a “deviant.”
Other than being loud, the Juggalos did not seem to be bothering anyone. Now, I realize that not everyone has the same tolerance level for unexpected behavior as I do. But what happened next didn’t surprise me, yet disturbed me all the same.
Some police officers that patrol the mall pulled up right next to the group of kids. Uniformed officers got out and told them all to sit on the ground. The officers said they were receiving complaints about noise and “deviant behavior.” All the kids were ordered to provide their IDs.
I was told that I couldn’t stay unless I wanted to join them. Part of me wanted to say, “These are my brothers and sisters. If you frisk or arrest them then you’re going to arrest me.” But I didn’t. I obeyed.
Four of the kids ended up in handcuffs. The rest were told to get off of the mall for the night.
Now, I’m not mad at the police for doing their job. While I know that cops are people, too, and make mistakes, I don’t blame them for doing what they’re supposed to do.
Likewise, while I don’t condone some of the behavior of the kids, I can understand why they do it. If I experienced abuse and got told I was worthless, I might do the same things, too.
What I am disturbed about is that cops had to be there in the first place to deal with the kids who were on the streets. I read somewhere that every day, 12 street kids die. Where are these kids’ parents? I know that some circumstances can’t be helped, and I know there are places for kids to go and programs to use.
But when are we going to start doing something about it? What about suffering with them? What about putting ourselves second?
I’m not saying we should all go out and become missionaries to the homeless. But if we see a need and neglect it, who is being the jerk?
Edmund Burke said, “The only way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” When are we going to start caring for each other? How many people have to suffer before we take it seriously?
Chase Glantz is an intern at Sox Place, a Denver drop-in center for youth located at 20th and Larimer Street in downtown Denver.