During a traffic stop this last week I had an unusual encounter as I came across a 16 year old driver with a 15 year old passenger. A search of their vehicle resulted in locating 2 substantial baggies of crack cocaine.
What is unusual about this traffic stop is not finding the crack, as the area in which it was found is a high drug traffic area. Rather it is the age of the subjects who were found to be in possession of the narcotics. During a subsequent interview of the driver it was discovered that the 16 year old has been using crack since the age of 12.
This is devastating.
12 year olds are supposed to play with G.I. Joes and video games and enjoy playing various sports with their friends, not get addicted to crack. The grave concern in this incident is not that this is a rare thing, but that it is likely less rare than we know. Statistically speaking, if as a police officer I encounter two youngsters with such issues there are likely many more involved in such things.
As I write this I am reminded of another shockingly depraved incident in which two very young teenagers ran away from home and threw themselves into prostitution as well as other horrors of "street life."
Both of these incidents occurred in the inner city, which is not at all to say that these types of incidents are restricted to the inner city. Yet there is an inner city sub-culture in which such terrible things are not remotely uncommon.
The depravity of man is not limited to adults. It is clear that when children are exposed to greater levels of depravity in society they are greatly impacted and also often succumb to the levels of depravity with which they are surrounded. One only needs an occasional glimpse at national headlines to have an idea of the devastation that is involved when children are drafted into this street life, which includes but is not limited to narcotics use and distribution, prostitution and other illicit sex, violence, theft, and various other criminal activity.
All that to say this:
These incidents are powerful evidences that the need for intervention is enormous. There is an incredible need in our society to reach into the lives and culture of the inner city with the powerful and life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. I am convinced that there is no other hope.
I came away from the interview with the 16 year old and his mother overwhelmed with the fact that the need in our society is so great.