You can tell how much a human life means to Anthawn Ragan by just watching a few seconds of the surveillance video. He and another heartless, soulless thug with a gun had already gotten what they came for -- the belongings of the nail salon clients they had cowering in fear.
Why would he shoot into the salon as he was leaving out the door? Because he could? Because the people inside mean nothing to him? Because he sees no future for himself, so he wants to make sure no one else has one?
He cut short the life of a beautiful little boy named Aaron Vu. He broke the collective heart of Aaron's family.
So where is the outrage?
Where is the anger that our neighborhoods are capable of spawning someone so deadened and dangerous? Where are the pastors and national action figures usually so ready to take up the bully pulpit? Where is the disgust that clearly identifiable criminals can be cycled from court back to the streets over and over again?
Not the first time
Anthawn Ragan turned 19 years old Tuesday, the day he was arrested for murdering 10-year-old Aaron Vu. Ragan had been an adult, in legal terms, for only a year. But he already had an arrest record.
He was 17 a year ago May when he was arrested for armed robbery, one of the same crimes he's now accused of, again. But he was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, which means he had committed other felonies before that. Because he was a juvenile at the time, those cases are not public record.
The record shows there was boot camp, trial dates set, subpoenas sent, continuances requested. One day last July, the judge denied a continuance. The charges were dropped. Anthawn was free to leave.
Culture of violence
His father wasn't around for him, never was. We know that because Anthawn Sr. (pictured) is serving a life sentence at the state prison in Okaloosa. He is a murderer. A Miami-Dade grand jury indicted him in December 1994, just two weeks after his son and namesake was born.
That kind of criminal culture will never be changed by vigils, prayers or rallies to "stop the violence." It just won't. To turn that tide, there has to be some outrage. And action.