Root Of Criminal Behavior


Stewart Ain writes about the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, scheduled to be opened this summer (“Education Key To New City Bias Office,” June 14). The aim is to combat crimes like those referred to in the article, by sending people into public schools to “educate young people about Jews, our history, our culture and our caring for the world.”

These are undoubtedly laudable goals, but they do not, as the article’s title suggests , provide the key. They don’t as much as crack open the door to the real problem.

There is an anger, fed by social media, amongst many young men in some communities. There is an ennui, a sense of despair, a feeling of purposelessness. There is a diminished sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Action of a violent nature is often heralded, praised by peers, seen as a badge of honor.

For someone inclined to strike a defenseless individual walking home, prayer book and tefillin under his arm, little is likely to change unless there is hope and purpose and support and guidance and opportunity, unless the scourge of drugs and gangs is eradicated, or at least controlled. Until and unless the community itself recognizes and embarks on a serious effort to fill the void and address the underlying issues, anger will persist. So will the behavior. Hopefully it is not too late.

Jamaica, Queens