Friday Tips: Spend some undivided time with your children

A Better Inland Empire's emblem features a family prospering in a clean and economically robust Inland Empire. The logo shows that we want Riverside and San Bernardino counties and all of its communities to be a robust place to get around, live, work, and play--not only for our generation, but for our children and youth as well.

This week's transportation tip calls for all parents, grandparents, guardians, uncles and aunts to spend some undivided time with their children. The events that occurred this last week demonstrate why.

As mentioned all over the national news media, three Oklahoma teenage boys are accused of the murder of Christopher Lane, an Australian baseball player visiting the United States. The incident was gang initiated, yet Lane was murdered for no reason whatsoever. Various follow-up stories are showing that the three accused teenagers were not only in trouble before, but also lacked involved fathers during their childhood according to James Johnson, the man who knew of and called law enforcement on the three alleged killers. "They don't have proper fathers in their lives. You can't be a friend to your son, you got to be the father," Johnson stated.

It gets worse. Sources show that one of the accused--17 year old Michael Jones--appeared in court with his girlfriend. She is a pregnant minor.

The Transit Coalition's A Better Inland Empire will be looking into this story and similar youth-related crimes that occur here locally more in detail. What good does all the buses and trains in the world do if a significant portion of our next generation lacks the will to compete in the marketplace and gets involves in gang violence?

Meanwhile, the Lane family is currently raising funds through an online donation drive to cover the cost of returning Christopher's body and to pay for funeral expenses. The family states this:

We would like to take this moment to thank everyone who has made a donation in Christopher's Name. We have appreciated the support we have revived from all around the world. We want people to know we don't believe what happened was a reflection of the people of Duncan or Oklahoma. Christopher was chasing his dreams and we believe everyone should do the same. Money left over after paying for his funeral expenses will go into a foundation which will make donations in Christopher's name to organizations he was passionate about and hopefully help full fill others dreams. Christopher would be so proud he had a made a difference in so many lives.

By the way, if you would like to donate, visit the campaign page.

It's certainly true that this event is an embarrassment for our country and the solution to combating gun crimes in the U.S. as a whole and the Inland Empire is constantly debated in the public arena to this very day. Being a transit advocacy organization, we do not take sides on such matters and turning this tragedy into a political circus is absolutely unacceptable at this time. One possible fact-based solution as demonstrated with combating bank robberies and child predators could be making legit criminal offenses with a gun or weapon a federal crime with a mandatory floor in sentencing.

However, one fact that absolutely cannot be overlooked as a primary source of youth-related crimes is the lack of involved families, especially from the father. The evidence is overwhelming. Professionals in this field have yielded alarming facts. Take a look at this chart published by's Wayne Parker. Google "no father more crime."

There is positively no question that children who grow up in homes without caring parents, especially from the father, have a much greater risk of encountering serious problems as teenagers and adults since they grow up without discipline and motivation in their homes. We will be following up with this issue, gather more common facts, and will tie it into our advocacy work for A Better Inland Empire. Our transit fleets and the people who use them deserve to be in a robust state, not mired in crime or vandalism.

Meanwhile, we call all those who are in a position of raising children, especially fathers, to spend more undivided time with your young ones starting this weekend. If you're in a position of a single parent or guardian, do some homework for your child and find him/her a caring mentor to fall back on. It doesn't have to be a paid professional, just a caring relative, friend or neighbor. That's how we can bring about a better Inland Empire.