Law enforcement has been dealing with a defiant group of young people who are not in school, not under the care of their parents and who have slipped away from custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

They have assaulted people and they are not only unrepentant in the face of law enforcement intervention, but they are openly dismissive of any form of authority. It has reached the point where they go into the police station and shout vulgarities directly at the officers of the law.

We do not want to see a return to abusive forms of discipline and recognize that these children need help. However, we also need the rule of law to maintain a safe and healthy community.

Until a better alternative is found, leaders need to return to providing lock-up and real consequences for those who refuse to accept kinder interventions. Clearly the issue needs study, and our police officers need support.

What we are seeing are symptoms of a larger problem. Parents with problems have led to children with problems. The question of why this group of juveniles has not been in school also raises the specter of enrollment that simply disappeared from the books over the course of the pandemic. Some kids never came back.

This is a world of trickle-down economics. Where we have failed to provide drug treatment options to parents, we have trickled down chaos to children. Where we have failed to invest in education, we have lost kids through the cracks. Where we have failed to work together to provide health care for all, living wages, affordable housing and climate change resilience, we have trickled down hopelessness.

In the long-term, these will be the areas that need to be addressed to see lasting improvements. In the short-term, we need to plug the holes in the levee and regain control of the streets.

Slow down, watch out for pedestrians

We have seen two pedestrians killed in the space of a week. That is not acceptable.

In Thomaston, a man visiting the area had gone to Dorman’s to buy an ice cream and was hit trying to cross the street back to his hotel. That part of Route 1 needs to be looked at for safety. We would propose putting in a raised crosswalk and reducing the speed limit approaching that spot for a start.

Increased attention from law enforcement may also be needed to start to slow people down.

Speed is a major factor that kills. Inattention from both pedestrians and drivers is another. Take a break from the cell phone doom scrolling while driving and walking around town. As the police like to say, “Keep your head on a swivel.”

We have covered enough crashes and tragic incidents to respect the danger posed by a motor vehicle. These incidents can happen to you, and they can be devastating, so please be careful.

Motorists need to keep their short-term goal of making good time in perspective. It is worth another minute or two in your trip to get home safely and to avoid injuring a friend or neighbor or even a visitor from out of town?

Think about it.

The Courier-Gazette editorial board collaborates on editorials dealing with topics of interest to the community.