What about the children?
By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published October 15, 2007


The video Da Hood Gone Wild is a revolting piece of work, a nightmarish montage of beatings, cursing, gunplay, intimidation, sirens and noise interspersed with dogfighting and naked young women gyrating for the
camera.

It is also a glimpse of reality in the predominantly black North Greenwood area of Clearwater, according to the video’s two 19-year-old producers and some neighborhood residents.

Cortez Hearns and Allan Burney used a video camera to capture scenes of street life in their North Greenwood neighborhood over the last two years. They strung the amateurish clips together and are marketing the DVD through the Internet and commercials on Black Entertainment Television.

Clearwater city officials are dismayed by the video. They had believed the neighborhood was more stable. The city had completed major public projects there, including street-scaping and a new library. Officials had been encouraged by recent community meetings where neighborhood leaders emerged and by recent anti-drug marches where marchers courageously confronted neighborhood drug dealers.

Yet the video proves that at times, North Greenwood is not unlike other urban black neighborhoods plagued by lawlessness and purposelessness.

Da Hood Gone Wild depicts a North Greenwood where violence erupts over nothing, where crowds of aimless youths fill the streets to brawl with fists and sticks, where girls without self-respect preen in next-to-nothing outfits, where outsiders are chased down and beaten, where taunted city police keep their voices calm and their arms carefully at their sides.

Most disturbing of all, the video shows young children on the sidelines of the mayhem – watching, learning.

What does the future hold for youths who grow up immersed in such drug-fueled, violence-stained environments? For too many, short lives filled with more of the same. Last week, 23-year-old Michael Scott was
shot to death and his brother was wounded when the car they were driving in the North Greenwood area was ambushed. Two 19-year-olds have so far been arrested in the case. One of them is Allan Burney, producer
of Da Hood Gone Wild. Police say the shooting resulted from a feud between two groups.

Left in the wake of this violent episode is 3-year-old Trinity Scott, Michael Scott’s daughter, who in a St. Petersburg Times photograph wears a puzzled expression as she studies flowers left at the spot where her father died. Many more children will be such victims of their parents’ legacy of violence unless the residents of urban neighborhoods like North Greenwood make the choice to live more dignified and law-abiding lives.

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