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The death of a 14-year-old [Letter]

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

One only has to take a look at the story about the death of 14-year-old Najee Thomas in Cherry Hill and have lived in the inner city to understand the circumstances ("In Cherry Hill, shooting takes a good friend's life," April 23).

Reporter Justin George could have delved further into the history of Cherry Hill which, by the way, is nothing like its name. Predominantly African-American, the community has a long history of drugs, violence and an unstable home environment. What can we expect from generations after generation of people raised by single parents (if lucky) in fatherless homes?

This is a cycle that involves dropping out of school, teen pregnancy and actually being rewarded for bad behavior via a home voucher system, food stamps, cellphones, etc. When do we address the problem and call it as it is, fellow taxpayers of this city and state who dole out the money for this laissez faire attitude by the recipients?

When will the so-called "Million Man March" participants take responsibility for their children, take as much pride in raising them as they do in wearing the newest basketball jacket or Air Jordan sneakers? A 14-year-old lies dead through no real fault of his own but certainly due to his parents' inability to supervise and instill a code of morals into him.

Bernard F. McKernan, Baltimore

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