Jon Justice goes after Granny

Tagging in New York
Tagging in New York

I don’t know if Tucson’s own Jon Justice has any children. If he does, I’m guessing they are not yet teens, because the parent of teenagers would be far less likely to comment as Justice did on this morning’s show about how grandparents (and parents, for that matter) can control teenagers all the time.

He was criticizing Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero for questioning a proposal to hold parents or guardians (including grandparents) of repeat taggers criminally liable for the graffiti these taggers stupidly throw up around town.

Anyone who has followed my writing knows I’m a hectoring scold when it comes to ineffective, lazy, do-nothing parenting. However, as someone who has survived the raising of four teens (three of whom are law-abiding, self-supporting young adults and one who is still in college and paying only half her way in the world), I can attest that even the most proactive, supervisory parenting cannot guarantee a kid won’t get involved w/ the wrong crowd. Does involved parenting LIMIT those chances? Absolutely. Is it a guarantee? No way. Why? Because you’re dealing with teenagers, who have the impulse control of a binge eater and the attention span of a goldfish.

Justice was going on (and on) about how parents and grandparents should take the “necessary action” to prevent their kids from tagging. Problem was, he never specified what this necessary action might entail – at least not during the 30 minutes I was listening. Does he think a rowdy teen, who has already proven through his actions that he could care less about the law, will just straighten up and fly right because Grandpa says so?

Should grandparents/guardians try to raise the kid well? Absolutely. Will grounding him or taking away his privileges keep an already troubled kid out of trouble? Probably not. I knew a woman who nailed the windows in her daughter’s bedroom shut and locked her door at night so the living-on-the-edge 15 y/old wouldn’t sneak out in the middle of the night. Guess what? The girl broke the window and left anyway.

Were these the most effective parents I knew? No – they’d spoiled the girl rotten when she was in elementary school and, once the monster was unleashed, they’d lost control. But it is an example of how parents can try hard with teens and still fail. The solution to troubled teens (and teens causing trouble) starts way earlier than the teen years and involves a lot more than saying, “No, you can’t.” Especially, IMHO, if you’re a senior citizen. I wonder if Justice was 65 or 70 and could remain fearless when faced with a strapping 16 y/o boy with a surfeit of attitude.

Before I had teenagers, I, too, saw things as very black and white: Parent does A and teen does B. That certainty flies right out the window when you’re in the thick of raising teens. Still, if the radio talk show host seriously believes punishing parents/grandparents for the criminal actions of their adolescent charges will cause those guardians to take the “necessary action” to stop the tagging, perhaps he should offer some solutions and suggestions as to what that action might be.

(A funny aside: Talking w/ one of our sons once about graffiti I said, “I just don’t get the point.” He explained taggers think they “own” a piece of property when they tag it, adding that he knew one who, pointing out his work on a freeway overpass, said, “That’s mine.” To which my son said, “No, dude, that’s still belongs the state.” Maybe what we need is education for taggers to understand the concept of “ownership”. :-))


38 thoughts on “Jon Justice goes after Granny

  1. How many of you that claim “parent’s responsibility” actually look at your teen’s report card and the individual class absences? When your teen asks to go to the movies with a couple of friends, how many of you spy on them to make sure they are there for real. every time? The best kids in the world can get caught up with the cool ” crowd and make a stupid mistake. Here’s an idea….hold the teen responsible, and don’t let the parent get them out of the punishment. SUPERVISED probation for a year for 1st time offenders, with community service cleaning up tags…(should be really good for them to paint over a rival’s tag). Take their license until 18 for a 2nd offense. Jail terms steadily increasing in severity for each additional offense. Report the unpaid fines to the credit bureaus…..It will take time, but, eventually, maybe, JUST MAYBE they’ll get the clue that it just isn’t worth it. 

    1. That’s what I was getting at w/ Justice’s comments – do parents ALWAYS know where their kids are? That checking up on them is difficult (although you do sometimes catch them in a lie that way 🙂 ) and not possible (and I have major problems with that spyware parents are considering putting on a kids’ cell phone…) Your punishment idea is a good one, except, i wonder how many taggers actually have cars or licenses….

      1. you’d be surprised…and the ones too young for a car right now…won’t always be….take that goal away from them

  2. I find Jon Justice to not be very bright.

    I understand what his function is.  His mission is to generate audience for his radio show and radio station.  He’ll say and do anything he can to stir emotion, create controversy, and put his name out in the public.

    Its ridiculous however to think that he has anyone but his own interest at heart.

    He’s like one of those people you meet at a party who, no matter what intelligence you have or valid point you have to make, has to yell louder than you and thinks that his opinion is the only one that counts.  You walk away knowing what an narrow thinking idiot you just met and that its sad a person like that ends up in the corner with no one to talk to.

    All you can do is hope that someone like that wakes up one day and has the interests of someone besides himself to be interested in.  But the truth is that the likelihood of that occuring is slightly lower than winning the Powerball.

    1. 🙂 I like the way you say “to not be very bright.” Nicer than what Justice would say, which is “Idiot.”

  3. reneeshaferhorton – You say ” I agree that parents should be held responsible…”  – wasn’t that Jon’s point?  I think you’re a little confused.
    Good point, JH Ram – “Democrat Romero’s answer was to sponsor and promote a graffiti painting day on a wall on city property.”

    1. Jon was going after grandparents as well, and that was my point – it appears he doesn’t understand the conditions grandparents live in when they have custody of an offspring’s kid. But also, parents being held responsible when the kid is a teen is a little too late, we need to start earlier, but the things we need to fix the problem, as Mark pointed out above, always get cut by the “small government” guys  – cuts Justice promotes. We need a massive influx of funding for our schools so kids who are truant can be checked up on … we need a massive influx of money to social services so social workers can go into neighborhoods and try to get parents educated about parenting … we need smaller class sizes so teachers – and since i’m in a teacher training program i’ve seen this up close – can deal with the massive number of kids who are getting NO PARENTING AT HOME. But what do we do? We cut education funding over, and over and over again. We cut social services funding. We don’t even consider requiring people who give birth at any of our hospitals to attend parenting classes (don’t tell me how to raise my kid, mister!)…

      1. Oh, jeez, now you’re really losing it.  More money, more money, more money???  Did you pull that idea from Hillary’s  book  IT TAKES A VILLAGE???  I can see by your comments that you don’t have much respect for freedom and individualism and people like you think government is the solution.   I suggest you keep up with that teacher training program, because you sure still have a lot to learn!

      2. Jill, such a kind comment. Thanks for participating. I haven’t read Hillary’s book and I have plenty of respect for freedom … just not when it messes with the greater good. How do you propose that we fund education, Jill? Donations? Do you think that education is a bad thing?

  4. I guess we could shoot em with paintpall guns and then escalate from there ? Some of us have had it with you idiots !

  5. Final thought  from me….those of you who want to have parent’s bear the responsibility of your teen’s actions….remember that when they steal someones car, or commit assault, or steal a stereo/computer/tv, etc…when they are looking at jail….you go with them….

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