Sunday, December 06, 2015

“The Rise And Fall Of Our Youth”

Weldon Shaw spent twenty-five years with the Department of Corrections, twelve of them “as a Gang Investigator inside the prison walls and on the streets.” Now retired in Corning, he writes that in his interviews with gang members he always asked “what made them go down the criminal path in life.”

Though he maintains that “no matter what a person’s upbringing is, the path a person takes in life is solely determined by them,” he has identified negative social factors that make raising good kids especially difficult.

His thoughts are distilled in “The Rise And Fall Of Our Youth” ($17.99 in paperback from Library Tales Publishing; also for Amazon Kindle; more at

“I am just an old-fashioned guy,” Shaw writes, “I want you to have the feeling we are just two people sitting at the kitchen table having a conversation about what is wrong with society.” And he finds plenty wrong. The political system is corrupt (he praises Donald Trump), youth are “blinded by media illusions,” the education system isn’t teaching the basics, parents are over-protective, gang pressure is destructive.

“In my opinion racism has been all but wiped out in the United States. … Do not let vices like the term racism hold your child back. You as a parent should want more for your child than you had. Push them to achieve their goals in life. Do not let outside people influence their lives by giving them excuses to fall back on if they at first do not succeed.”

What about young adults “shacking up”? “I know as far as a religion goes, it is not acceptable, and I too was raised in religion. But if I was asked what I felt about it, I would say this: young adults of proper age should live together for at least six months before they enter into marriage.”

In the criminal justice system, he’d like to see misdemeanors “drop off a person’s record after so many years” and the abolishment of plea bargains which in some cases enable the District Attorney to “win” even if the case is not strong enough.

Plenty of controversy in these kitchen table musings.    

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