Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Be the parent, not the best friend
By now, you’ve likely seen the disturbing video showing a then 14-year-old Naomi Johnson attacked by a group of so-called friends.
The assault, and lets call it for what it was — an assault, has reportedly led to a police investigation and a lawsuit against the homeowner where the attack occurred. It will also hopefully lead to serious consequences for Naomi’s attackers.
I’m not going to show the video again, the still images are disturbing enough.
Naomi Johnson’s father, Wayne, cannot look at the video again, and he shouldn’t have to.
In some ways the video-tape speaks for itself. We now live in a time when recording yourself doing outrageous things and posting them for the world to see is a generation’s highest calling.
KTVA blurred the faces of the attackers. That’s a call that I’m not sure I would have made. First of all, this video wasn’t leaked. It was posted by Naomi’s attackers. Secondly, if I had a daughter of the same age, I would want to look at the video with her and make sure she was not hanging out with this group of girls.
The media, by the way, is not legally compelled to protect the identity of juveniles, only officers of the court.
However, there are deeper questions that the video tape cannot answer. Were the girls drinking as has been reported? Was there a parent at home at the time?
We don’t know any of these things for certain, and because it’s a juvenile case we may never know.
I do know that a lot of parents feel the need to be their kid’s best friend.
Here’s your reality check: They don’t need you to be a best friend, they need you to be a parent.
What I do hope is that all the girls have taken away a valuable lesson. I hope that Naomi’s attackers have at least apologized to her and are getting counseling of their own.
I hope their parents have made whatever punishment the juvenile system hands out seem like a picnic by comparison. And more than anything, I hope that Naomi has already made a full recovery emotionally and physically, and understands now, that the world is not supposed to work like this.
Unfortunately there are friends, and there are predators, and they come in all ages.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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