Do this job long enough, and you think you’ve just about seen it all.
Of course, you were wrong.
When a reporter indicated there was a disturbing story developing from Chester yesterday morning, you jot it down on your daily list of stories and move on. When you learn it involves a gang of young girls attacking a mentally challenged woman, you start mapping out your actions to make it your lead story of the day. Then the reporter says the magic words. “And they videotaped the whole thing and posted it on Facebook."
When the photographer gets back with the video, you know you have a dilemma on your hands when he warns you about what you are about to see.
He’s probably seen everything I’ve seen and more.
Even that warning did not prepare me for what was on the video.
I’m not sure there are any words that do.
In the video, a gang of young girls at first appear to be doing no more than offering a profanity-laced rap. Then they start moving down the street toward a woman sitting on a doorstep.
What you see next you’re not really sure you actually saw. So you watch it again. There is the young woman calmly walking up to the older lady and - out of nowhere - throwing a wild punch to the side of her head.
That’s when the others get involved.
For the next few seconds, there is a flurry - or perhaps better stated fury - of fists, kicks, even a chair used on this woman.
Of course, the video makes its way to Facebook. Because that is what we do today.
And I sit here and shake my head, wondering what we are doing wrong, and trying to figure out how one group of human beings can do that to another.
I have just one question for anyone connected to this story:
How could this happen?
Until we answer that question, until we know what could possibly instill in young people such mindless rage, I’m afraid I will simply continue to sit here and wait for the next ugly story to arrive.
Maybe there isn’t an answer. Maybe we should just ignore such actions altogether, not give these young toughs the satisfaction of seeing their exploits splashed all over the front page.
We’re the least of their worries today. This story has now gone national.
But it doesn’t change my question.
It doesn’t matter that it happened in Chester. It doesn’t matter what color the girls are, or the victim for that matter.
What matters is that it happened.
And I’d like to know why.