Jewish World Review
Sept. 8, 2000 / 7 Elul, 5760
Notes on a West Coast wilding
THERE WAS a fatal beating on the West Coast three weeks ago. It was the
kind of incident that makes the hair on your arms stand up straight. The
kind that makes you gasp out loud and double-check the locks on your front
door. The kind that makes you wonder why, if violent crime rates are
plunging, the kids today seem more violent and out of control than ever
Most of the country never heard about this unprovoked murder in the Pacific
Northwest – and probably wouldn't care much if it had made national news.
In our wild and wilding world, kiddie thrill kills are run-of-the-mill. And
if these monstrous crimes don't involve guns, the establishment media and
Million Mom Marcher types shrug their shoulders and look away.
Eight boys, the youngest just 11 years old, came together one August night
in Tacoma, Wa. They had an end-of-summer barbecue and then, according to
local prosecutors, roamed their neighborhood until they found a man walking
home alone. They were, says one of them, "bored." A relative of one of the
boys later complained that the city didn't offer enough recreational
As if more midnight basketball funding would have stopped these depraved
little thugs from doing what they are accused of doing to 30-year-old Erik
The kids didn't ask him to play basketball. They didn't squirt water guns
at him to relieve their boredom. Or throw rocks. Or even just rob him and
run. No. According to police, one of the punks approached Toews for a
cigarette. He handed one over and then the eight youths reportedly jumped,
punched, and kicked Toews. Toews broke away briefly and almost escaped,
but the gang swarmed on him once more.
The youngest of the marauders allegedly used a croquet mallet to strike
Toews over and over and over again. The leader of the pack, a 19-year-old
punk apparently inspired by the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, is said to
have done knee-drops onto Toews' face as he lay on the street bleeding. He
counted out loud as he delivered each blow, and stopped when he got to 28.
He must have just gotten bored.
Toews, who had been working two jobs in order to support his mother and
brother, lapsed into a coma and died a week later.
The eight suspects in Toews' death have also been linked to nine assaults
and robberies near a neighborhood park over a one-month period. They
graduated quickly from stealing wallets and slapping strangers to attacking
them with bats and then killing Toews like a pack of wild animals.
Everyone in the community knew these kids -- knew they were rotten. But
like the East Coast wildings in Central Park a decade ago and in Manhattan
earlier this summer, no one – not even the police -- did anything to stop
the rabid gang from shattering lives and savaging peace.
Last week, while the Tacoma boys were entering not guilty pleas, another
band of copycat hoodlums menaced the trendy streets of nearby Seattle. A
group of six to eight boys targeted men walking alone near restaurants and
shops. In one incident, a man was kicked and beaten on the ground by the
pack and thrown into a lamppost. A witness said he heard one of the teens
say something like "I got 20"—as in points. "I think it was some sort of
game," the witness said.
Deadened to violence, oblivious to consequences, contemptuous of authority,
and derelict about life. "What is it," asks Tacoma Mayor Brian Ebersole,
"in the psyche of a society that allows kids to think this way?"
Here's a start: It's the substitution of stiff discipline with spineless
"anger management" and "conflict resolution" programs. It's the mindset
that turns parents into their children's "friends." It's the tolerance of
adults who allow children to tell them to shut up and principals who let
students spit on their teachers. It's endless hours of MTV and Eminem and
gangsta rap and Smack Downs and Rikki Lake-refereed screaming matches. It's
the sacrifice of self-control for self-esteem.
These cold-blooded children terrorizing the streets were made, not born, to
be wild. They are the deadly offspring of radical egalitarianism and
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate