Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Cruelty in Cleveland

Homeless: Stun guns

As we noted in an extensive story in Sunday's Forum section, homelessness is a difficult problem for most large cities in America. Solutions range from job programs, to fines, to restricting panhandlers to colored squares on the sidewalks. But for sheer inhumanity, we go to Cleveland, where four Youngstown teens were arrested Saturday for attacking homeless people with a stun gun as they slept.

Joshuah Langenheim, 19, was charged with assault and his three younger compatriots were charged as juveniles. All four of them apparently thought it was hilarious to creep up on people sleeping on benches and in doorways and zap them with electric shocks, while videotaping the reactions of the unfortunate victims.

They were arrested after their car broke down on a downtown street at 3:30 a.m. and a passing motorist stopped to offer assistance. That someone could offer kindness instead of cruelty to strangers must have had its own shocking effect on these goofballs. They all took off running. The bewildered motorist then noticed a nearby homeless man who told him what the teens had been doing. At that point the Good Samaritan called the cops.

Whether you think people sleeping on the street is a social problem or a crime, there can be no dispute that tormenting people for sport is reprehensible. This kind of mindless cruelty should never be tolerated against any human beings, no matter what their social status.

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Cruelty in Cleveland
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