Sunday, March 21, 2010

73 Year Old Man Beaten in Playground "Game"

What do you call hunting when the quarry is human beings? In South Philly, you call it "Catch and Wreck". It's the latest "game" in which loitering kids set upon someone they think is homeless and beat them almost to death.

How serious is it? According to the web site, Vincent Poppa, 73 was set upon my a gang of depraved punks and ended up suffering a heart attack. reports as follows.

"Vincent Poppa, 73, remains hospitalized at Methodist Hospital a full week after he was hit in the back of the head with a gun, knocked unconscious and stomped by a group of four or five male youths near the playground around 9 p.m. March 13.

Poppa, who suffered a heart attack either during or shortly after the beating, was on a ventilator until Friday afternoon, Walker said.

Walker said Poppa is in the intensive care unit in serious condition.

Methodist Hospital officials tonightdeclined to report Poppa's medical condition.

According to Walker, Poppa, a resident of a nearby senior citizens apartment complex, was attacked when he was returning from buying soda.

When he arrived at Methodist, medical personnel found footprints on Poppa's head and sneaker marks on his body."

I have another idea for a game. It's called "Charge them as adults, put their names in the paper and give them each ten years in prison." The game is not played on a playground, it's played in a courtroom. It might wipe some idiotic smiles of the faces of some of the "players".

I would like to see the same outpouring of indignation on behalf of Vincent Poppa as was expressed after an idiotic racist announcement on a public address system in a New Jersey Walmart. There is a serious imbalance in how our national media prioritises stories. It is this distorted sense of what is important that leads me to describe our nation's newspapers as "chewing gum for the mind."

According to the news report, the kids who were taken into custody were laughing at their crime like it was all one big joke. The police do not want it to turn into a deadly fad. They want to come down real hard so "catch and wreck" doesn't become a daily menace to passers by.

There is no room for leniency in this case. When crime is perpetrated as a "game" or when it is done repeatedly by a gang, there is a malignant quality to it that cries out for the harshest possible punishment.

There is a separate legal category for juvenile crime, although some exceptions are made in particularly heinous cases. Treating violent, sadistic offenders harshly sends a message to other children who may be at risk of embarking on a life of crime.

The children in the incident were allegedly between the ages of 9 and 15. Should they therefore go free? Hell no! Lock em up. Big boy crime, big boy time. If you set lower expectations for children, they will live down to your expectations.

There is certainly a need for education and recreation programs in troubled areas such as Southwest Philly. But the children who should be the focus group for such programs should be those who have not sunk into sadistic violence. Those who play "catch and wreck" should certainly get counseling. But let them get it in prison.


"Civil" said...


Anonymous said...

This just makes me so angry. Doing that to an elderly man let alone anybody. And a twelve year old child did this? That man must have been so scared. These kids seem like they are so far gone already but we'll probably hear the whining about how they are "good kids". Good kids don't beat up an elderly gentleman. They belong in jail.