Why doesn't someone, somewhere listen to the children?
Michael Kekoa Ravenell (right), age 3 1/2, is dead at the hands of his mother's boyfriend, a guy with a previous conviction for physical abuse of his own child who was under two years of age.
Semaj Booker(left), age 10, has made headlines the past couple of days because of a second attempt to get on a plane and return to Texas to live with his grandfather. Semaj ('James' spelled backwards) was a 9-year-old when he made his first attempt to return to where he felt loved and safe, i.e. in Texas with his grandfather, less than one year ago. It was all the buzz in the news at the time not only because of his age, but because he had stolen and destroyed a neighbor's car in his first attempt to flee, but also because he cleverly outwitted the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screeners at the various airports he passed through on that sojourn.
It was reported that Semaj wanted to flee Lakewood (Pierce County) not only to be back with his grandfather in Texas, but also because of a sex offender who had recently moved into the neighborhood.
Since Semaj was apprehended -- again -- yesterday, all the tsk-tsk-tsk-ing is going on about his 'stunts' and his 'escapades' and KOMO's Denise Whitacre headlined her piece "The price of Semaj Booker's outrageous stunts." Then there are quotes from the neighbor whose car was destroyed last year, and how he is out $3,000, and a quote from the prosecutor Fred Wist saying that Semaj "hasn't paid a dime."
Where exactly is a 9-year-old supposed to be acquiring income to pay a $3,000 debt?
There's a reason this is happening. By that, I mean there is a reason that Semaj is compelled to try to escape his home environment over and over again and going to extreme lengths to get away. Is he just a bad kid, rotten to the core, 'the bad seed'? I don't think so.
NO ONE IS LISTENING to Semaj Booker.
More tragically, NO ONE WAS LISTENING to Michael Kekoa Ravenell. Now that he is dead, everyone will know his name. But it is too late for Michael Kekoa Ravenell. No one listened. No one took any action on his behalf to save him in time.
Meanwhile, Semaj is painted as a criminal, a repeat offender instead of a child in desperation for someone to listen to him.
KIRO TV even ascribed something more remarkable to Semaj Booker yesterday. The reporter said that he was 9 years old last year when he made his first unauthorized airplane travel to Texas "and now the teenager has done it again."
- Teenager, huh? Wow! Semaj has super-human abilities that defy the imagination. Magically (thanks to KIRO TV) went from being a 9-year-old fewer than twelve months ago to now being a "teenager."
How many more Michael Kekoa Ravenell's will die before someone listens?
For Semaj Booker, at least he is still alive and there is still hope ~ if only someone will listen ~ in time, before it is too late.