The kids are alright

Last week a local juvenile was arrested in connection with the latest loss to fire of an old Diamond Match Co. structure. Combined with the arrests earlier this year of an 18-year-old and his juvenile accomplice for toppling and destroying hundreds of gravestones in the Chico Cemetery, the latest arrest has adults wringing their hands and asking what is wrong with kids these days.

This is a generational thing. In the eyes of many adults, every teen in Chico is now somehow guilty by age association. Look at the letters to the editor or the editorial comment in last Saturday’s Enterprise-Record.

There is no excuse for these mindless—or perhaps careless—acts of destruction. They are downright tragic. But let’s not lose our perspective and smear all teens with the same brush of revulsion. Most kids, just like most adults, are pretty decent people. Bad behavior runs through every generation, back to the days of Billy the Kid and beyond, most likely to the dawn of civilization. But there seems to be a prevailing and ongoing mindset that each generation is more reckless and less responsible than the one that preceded it. Hogwash.

Punish the guilty appropriately—but no more or no less just because they are from the next generation.