May 25, 2006

IL: Peoria juvies packing heat

From the Peoria Journal-Star:

Gun-toting kids puts judge on the spot

From his courtroom bench, Judge James Shadid gets an eyeful of human wreckage... More and more, teens are dragged through his felony courtroom on gun-related charges. The reason? "Protection," they say. Over and over again. Even middle-schoolers.

Shadid, 48, isn't naive. He was a public defender 15 years before assuming the bench five years ago. He knows that defendants lie - a lot. But the more he talks to teens, the more he believes a sad, scary truth: Many feel they must carry weapons in response to the gunplay and gangs on city streets.

What does this say about us?