ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–With teenaged mobs and violence recently in University City and downtown St. Louis — a local minster who works with young people is warning it could be “a long hot summer.”
“What happened last weekend near the Loop is reprehensible,” said the Reverend Earl Nance Jr., of the Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church.
Nance says the weekend teen mob in the Loop with arrests and a shooting two hours later may be part of a pattern that includes this week’s report of 15 teens roving downtown beating and kicking two homeless men, and robbing a 16-year old boy.
“What’s different is the diminishing of parental influence,” Nance said.
Nance says the recent teen violence — and the sporadic pattern of the knockout game — convinces him that parents are not doing their jobs.
“Sit your child down, and lay the law down about what you expect and don’t expect,” Nance said, “Parents or guardians or grandmothers have to step up to the plate, and not make excuses, and lay the law down of how you act when you go out.”
Nance also says many parents are failing to set an example by taking their kids to church.
“If young people are not exposed to church, how are they going to get it?” Nance said.
When asked if city churches doing enough to reach young people, Nance says they could always do more, but says there is “a revival” going on.
“The churches are doing there part, or it would be worse,” Nance said, “If we didn’t have the programs and young people coming to Christ, and learning about Christ, and learning about the proper way to do things.”
Nance also hopes families take advantage of the city’s summer recreation programs, and keep their kids involved in organized activities to lessen their idle time.
“It doesn’t have to be a long, hot summer if we act now,” Nance said.