Monday, January 14, 2013

Could This Happen in [Insert City Name Here]?

Steubenville, Ohio is making national news in recent weeks over an upcoming criminal case involving youth in the community spotlight. At the heart of this story is whether the high regard for the high school football program caused justice to be overlooked. The national news angle is boosted by the concept that the high school football players are ruling the town.

Could this happen in our community? This is a question everyone should be asking before they pass judgement on Steubenville. 

I've lived in Steubenville. I've lived at least one other place, Massillon, too that greatly elevated high school football in the community spotlight. Yes, youth in those two cities get an unnaturally-early exposure to fame. Yes, it's fair to say, that football players there do get put on a pedestal more than most places.

Even though someone may think, or even verbalize, the idea that those spotlighted young men "could get away with murder" (or any crime) in towns like this, it's simply not true.

Don't fool yourself to think what happened in Steubenville couldn't happen anywhere in America.

Youth drinking, regrettably, happens everywhere. So do a lot of the other things at play here.

Youth crime spawned by an unfortunate series of events is not exclusive to Steubenville.

Stupid comments by a head coach are not unique to Jefferson County, Ohio either. Bad judgment is not solely owned by high school football players in Ohio's former steel towns.

So, yes, this could happen in [Insert City Name Here].


UPDATE:  The trial for two teenagers concluded with a judgement of delinquent keeping them jailed for their crimes.  It's noteworthy that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said this in his press conference following the verdict as a warning to other communities: 

"Everything that has happened in Steubenville has been very difficult -- very, very sad -- and very tragic. But let me be clear -- this is not just a Steubenville problem. This is a societal problem."


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