Out of My Mind, March 22, 2012

Is life really worth so little?

As word filtered into the community that former Oroville High School Principal Frank Motta was gravely hurt and later died from injuries sustained while trying to break up a teenage party, I just had to ask myself — Why?
Is life worth so little that you run the risk of being killed just for doing your neighbor a favor and trying to keep their son and more than 100 other partygoers from trashing their home? Police suspect the party was a case of life imitating “art” …trying to copy the new teen movie “Project X” where hundreds of teens destroy a home while the homeowners are away. The party goes “viral” and soon spirals out of control. I haven’t seen the movie, but saw the trailers in Spokane last month. Maybe I’m getting old but watching someone get their home and car destroyed by selfish teens just didn’t make me want see the movie. Did seeing the trailer make me think that all teens were this way, or even a small percentage – not in the least. Kids will be kids, but Project X is some Hollywood types idea of how to make a buck, not real life.
Unfortunately the incident in Spokane seems to show that no matter how unplausible the scenario someone might try to imitate it. Reports from Spokane County Sheriff’s office seem to indicate the 18-year-old teen who is alleged to have beaten Motta may have had some gang affiliations, but that’s no excuse.
This isn’t a condemnation of all teens and from what I’ve learned about Motta, who worked with teens as an educator, football coach and principal, he would probably agree. This is a condemnation of the bad choice the kid made who opened his parent’s home up to the party and letting it get away from him. And for a kid who thought it was okay to viciously attack someone just looking out for his neighbor’s interest.
Not all teens make bad choices, sometimes its the adults who are on the wrong side of the angels. Take the case of the Florida teen who recently was shot to death by the head of the Neighborhood Watch. From the shooters own words to the 911 dispatcher it appears that being black and walking in some neighborhoods is suspicious in and of itself. This armed, grown man is claiming self-defense — shooting and killing an unarmed kid makes it look otherwise. Once again, is life really worth so little? Are we becoming a society that shoots first and asks questions later?
We all have the right to defend ourselves, but in some places like Florida, this is enforced so loosely that you can get away with shooting a foreign tourist who comes to your door to ask directions just because they don’t speak English very well. It happened just a few years back.
Maybe these are the moral issues our candidates for president should be talking about, not whether someone should be taking birth control. Maybe they should worry more about those that are already born and less about what is going on in American’s bedrooms. Life is precious and the Golden Rule “Do unto others how you’d have them do unto you” should still apply.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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