In our third editorial on Friday, we look at the attack Wednesday on a 12-year-old Petaluma boy who refused to take off his red shirt after being ordered to do so by a 16-year-old reputed gang member. Because he refused, the child was whacked in the head with a skateboard.
OK, let’s forget for a moment the age discrepancy between the alleged assailant and the victim. (I mean, how macho is it to hit someone four years younger than you – and then run?)
It’s not the first time Sonoma County has heard of such a thing. Remember the attack on Dylan Katz in Windsor nearly 10 years ago? He was beaten within an inch of his life for wearing a red sweatshirt.
Then there was the case of the stabbing of a 17-year-old boy outside Healdsburg High School in 2001 because he wore blue. That same year, Jesse White, a metal spike-wearing, punk rock-singing vegetarian from Santa Rosa, was savagely attacked because he wore a red sweatshirt and a red hat.
In none of these attacks, was the victim a gang member.
Besides arresting the suspect, what is the proper response to this garbage? Some parents may react by discouraging their children from wearing red or blue. As silly as that may seem, it’s certainly not worth losing your life over something like this.
But is it right to let these gangs believe that they own colors – and can dictate what other people wear?
We don’t believe so. Check out the editorial.
What do you think?
— Paul Gullixson