Nadin Khoury (pictured), a 13-year-old son of Liberian immigrants living in Philadelphia, was viciously attacked, beaten and terrorized by a group of seven young men while on his way home from school.
He was jumped, kicked, punched, stuffed in a tree and ultimately hung from a fence outside of his apartment complex, and as often happens these days, one of the alleged attackers filmed the assualt and later posted the incident on YouTube.
In the video, the attackers can be heard laughing at him as he desperately tries to get away.
"It's bullying. It's bullying in America at its worst," said Michael Chitwood, superintendent of police in Upper Darby Township, Pa.
Khoury was not seriously injured in the beating, but he has been unable to go to school because of the threats he and his family have received since the attack. He said the teens, who range in age from 15 to 17, had bothered him before and his family will likely have to move to a different town.
Unfortunately, videos of young people engaging in violence is all too common, yet this video seems to also showcase the failure of the community in a way words never could.
Khoury had reported prior bullying incidents to his school and they did nothing. As you can see in the video, a woman walks by Nadin as he is being attacked and crying out for help, and she does nothing. In fact, according to the police, not one person in the neigborhood ever called for help.
Chitwood believes that people need to take responsibility for bullies in their communities:
"I find it offensive when members of the community stand up and talk about the cops not doing something when not one person called 911," he said.
The officer is absolutely right.
How can we continue to complain that the lives of our children are marginalized and not taken seriously by the police and the media, when our own behavior indicates that we could care less. We don't value our young people enough to help them when they are being beaten in front of our eyes. How can we expect society-at-large to care about our communities if we don't?
The seven teens were arrested and led out of their school in handcuffs Monday. They were booked at a juvenile detention facility on charges of kidnapping, reckless endangerment and assault:
"We're dragging them out in handcuffs," Chitwood said, according to the Delaware County Daily Times. "We want to send home a message that this type of behavior will absolutely not be tolerated."
It is sad that a police chief must declare that this behavior won't be tolerated, instead of the Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, neighbors and school personnel.
The only bright light of this story is Nadin Khoury. Instead of retreating to the shadows afraid of retribution by the thugs in his neighborhood, he will speak out against these criminals, abandoning the ultra-dumb "stop snitching" philosophy that has paralyzed our neighborhoods and left our worst predators on the street.
Nadin said he plans to testify against the teens in court:
"Don't be afraid to speak out; tell somebody what's going on, because if you tell them, maybe this will happen and somebody will take action," he told NBC. Nadin is a hero to all of those who feel abandoned and left to fend for themselves amongst the bullies of the world.
"There's nothing you can do," Khoury told Fox 29 in Philadelphia. "You can't fight back or it comes down even worse. You can't say anything except call for help."
Khoury said the group of teens targeted others as well:
"They do it for no reason," he said. "Anybody that's smaller than them, just to get their kicks."
But Nadin did call for help, and no one answered.
I hope that his story will illustrate to us that we owe our children so much more than the latest i-gadget or the newest pair of Jordan's. It is our responsibility to protect them from harm and reinforce that they are valuable human beings with limitless potential.
We have no right to continue to expect others to fight for our young people while we sit idly by, too scared, too busy or too disgusted to intervene.
At the end of the day, we are responsible for our neighborhoods and our children. Nadin, or any other young person, should never doubt that if they are in trouble, there will always be someone there to help.
What's the point of having a black president if we continue to abandon future Barack Obamas, often letting them die in the street without a second glance?
With our apathy, we risk allowing an entire generation to languish and fail. Hopefully, Nadin's bravery and determination to do the right thing will inspire us all to do better by our children.
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