COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The brutal beating of a young man in Five Points last week has left Columbia stunned. This attack was made even more shocking by the fact that most of the hoodlums involved were juveniles, ranging in age from 13 to 16. Carter Strange was savagely beaten, robbed and left to die , and some are questioning whether it was a random act of violence or a racially motivated hate crime.
Solicitor Dan Johnson says that there is no evidence to support allegations that this was a hate crime. He maintains that it was a robbery gone horribly bad, but just to be on the safe side, Johnson requested that the US Attorney General's office investigate whether this case could be considered a hate crime.
I'm concerned that this ugly incident is being framed in racial context rather than for the absolute inhumanity of it. The thought that 13 & 14 years old could participate in such a violent attack on a total stranger is very disturbing and should be a wake-up call to save our children. We shouldn't have to depend on city council to issue a curfew to keep these youngsters off the streets after midnight. As a community, we should respond with a call for more responsible parenting, mentoring and educational support for our young people, and provide these children with a sense of hope and purpose. Otherwise, the future looks awfully bleak to me.