The roots of crime

Published 8:32 am Friday, July 10, 2015

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Bogalusa has a serious problem with violence.

One of the more recent incidents saw two adults charged in the shooting of Donnell Street resident Raymond Matthews. Charged in the shooting were Demetric Sowell, 23, and 20-year-old Trevonne Mingo.

Another troubling aspect of the case was that a 15-year-old juvenile was involved in the shooting. All three were apprehended at a home in the Richardsontown neighborhood.

Those who commit horrific crimes seem to be getting younger and younger these days.

Where are the parents of this wayward youth and others who commit violent crimes in the city?

Do the parents teach their children any responsibility?

A comment by City Councilwoman Malinda White at the end of Tuesday’s meeting got me to thinking.

“We have a lot of homeless children in Bogalusa, not because they don’t have homes, but they’re living in other homes. Children have parents missing.”

White should know about the situation since she was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for at-risk youth and currently works with the Youth Service Bureau, which works with youth in Washington and St. Tammany parishes.

“A lot of these children don’t have the foundation in order to succeed,” White said afterward. “That’s a big concern in this city. The youth are totally desensitized for human relationships. They don’t have the family structure like they used to. We, as adults, are feuding over things in the future rather than the children, who are our future. It’s just a breakdown of the family. They turn to drugs because that is the only thing they see.”

White suggested watching YouTube videos of what local youth post.

I took a look and what I saw made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Videos are rampant with youth glorifying drugs, guns and other distasteful practices. Parents must step up and become parents if it’s not too late, or life as we know it is history.

“All the recent shooting in Bogalusa all involved young people,” White said. “That tells us what we’ve got coming up.”

Adults must talk to the youth and somehow convince them that they have a place in the world.

You can see on national newscasts every day how most children’s eyes are void of expression when their booking photo is taken.

Children need to know someone loves and cares about them. Not enough parents are being parents.

There has to be a new mindset.

Having children is not a game where you can put them on a shelf when you’re done. It’s a commitment.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer for the Daily News. He can be reached by calling 985-732-2565 or by email at