A Solution To Violent Crime-Parental Guidance Suggested

I would be remiss if not a full blown hypocrite if I did not address the acts of depravity committed daily here in my own city. The word depravity means moral corruption or wickedness. What act of moral corruption or wickedness is there greater than that of a parent disregarding his responsibilities to a child? The senseless violence that has permeated Chicago neighborhoods as well as neighborhoods around the country can be traced directly back to the lack of not only a positive male role model within the home and in the community, but the lack of a family unit at all.

As an advocate for prison reform I have and will continue to point out injustices throughout our legal system, however as a man first and foremost I will call it how I see it. For the most part, perpetrators of inner city violent crime are not forty something males. Old men aren’t riding around with their buddies gunning up public parks. Young adults and teenagers, (more specifically young males) are the trigger pullers, but the accomplices are the men & women that brought them into being. How, one may ask? There are great responsibilities in becoming a parent. Parents play a direct role in whatever their children become; positive or negative. When parents are not actively participating in the development of their children; someone or something else will. Whether its music videos, video games, neighborhood drug dealers or other children, the void will be filled.

As with most crime, inner-city violence is committed in areas that the perpetrator is familiar with. The serial killer plots his attack against members of his own community, not only because he is easily camouflaged but also because of his ability to remain close to that which he despises. The same applies to inner city violence. A young man grows to loathe his current socio-economic situation. Without positive familial reinforcement, he seeks that what is lacked in the home from the streets. In the streets the young man acquires a warped sense of morality, justice and values from other like-minded youths.

Several parents have abandoned proven effective traditional methods of raising children and embraced time outs or becoming our child’s friend. Other parents have given up “parenting”, all together allowing children to simply “grow up” forcing them to deal with the harsh realities of life on their own. Many parents have turned away from their own morally sound upbringing to indulge in lifestyles that accentuate the pleasures of “immediate gratification,” thereby destroying the likelihood of establishing a respectful parent-child relationship. These factors, combined with the massive numbers of fathers that are currently incarcerated, create a climate ripe for the senseless violence that we see, read & hear about today.

The socio-economic stresses attached to inner city life can be challenging but not insurmountable. The challenges are increased when a child has to face the world without the vital tools for success that only caring parents can provide. Needing support to handle day to day struggles, the child turns to his peers for assistance. Misguided youth become misguided young adults who are ready, willing and able to misguide their peers as well as other youths in the community. Parents have allowed themselves to be replaced by these peers, as well as, by various forms for entertainment such as video games, television and music lyrics. Through constant exposure to these forms of media that emphasize misogyny, violence and indifference toward life and without responsible parents to enforce the value of true morality and work ethics, the child forms a warped, “code of ethics.”

The lack of parental guidance denies a child of the ability to deal with day to day obstacles in a rational manner. The ability to use logic instead of emotions to solve problems is a skill that falls within a parent’s scope of duties. Without the capability to apply logic to a difficult situation and arrive at a reasonable conclusion, the emotionally charged child engages in a violent confrontation often ending in tragedy for an innocent victim.

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Emotionally Charged Youth May Mean Tragedy for Innocent Victims

Without self-respect, success of any type is unattainable.  A child that does not respect himself cannot and will not respect parents or authority figures. If the child continues on this self-destructive path of disrespectful behavior, negative contact with law enforcement is inevitable. It is these young people; lacking the respect for self and others and possessing a false sense of entitlement, that commit the majority of community based violent crime. Self-respect, or the child’s lack of it, falls squarely upon the shoulders of the parents. Self-respect creates strong moral character; strong moral character prevents many incidents of senseless violent crime from ever being committed.

Community based violence is the result of many components; I would dare to say that most, if not all, can be traced back to ineffective parenting.  It would interest me to see just how many of the perpetrators actually come from homes where both parents had an active role in their childhood development. Parents must regain the power that they have given to the streets, the TV and the radio by becoming parents again. The only way to end the violence that infect our communities is for parents to not just talk but to show children through their actions that true success must be attained through education and work. Morality & integrity cannot be found in the street and are not the responsibility of teachers and schools but must be addressed in the home. Respect of self and of others cannot be found in books but must be conveyed from the hearts & minds of parents to their children. To solve the problem of violence in our neighborhoods, parents must raise their children instead of allowing them to simply grow up, therefore, in an effort to save our communities; parental guidance is suggested.

A Monster Is As A Monster Does

In my never-ending search for acts of depravity I happened across an interview with serial killer Paul Runge.  Runge was sentenced to death on June 5, 2006 after being found guilty in February of repeatedly raping and cutting the throats of Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her daughter, Jessica Muniz. The sexual sadist also confessed to the rape and murders of 5 other women throughout DuPage & Cook counties. During the conversation, Runge told the interviewer, “Not everyone convicted of accused of committing monstrous acts, is a monster.”

I know that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but if I’m not mistaken, those that, let’s say play football, earn the title of football players, right? People that cook are still considered cooks, or has that changed? The asinine statement made by this predator would definitely not go over well with the families of these women: Yolanda Gutierrez, Jessica Muniz, Stacy Frobel, Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, Amela Pasanbegovic, Dorota Dziubak, Kazimiera Paruch. These are the victims that fell prey to the evil that Paul Runge terrorized the Chicagoland area with from 1995 through 1997.

For those that are unfamiliar with Paul Frederick Runge, let me enlighten you to his personal brand of darkness. In August 1987, a 17 year old Runge manipulated a schoolmate into a private meeting near a horse stable not far from his home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Forest. Under the pretense that she would be helping Runge to hide marijuana, the young lady accompanied Paul to his home where she was punched in the face and raped. During her period of captivity Runge’s girlfriend called him requesting a ride to work. Paul proceeded to stuff the heavily constrained girl into a sleeping bag and left. After being held captive for 15 hours the girl; while handcuffed, bound, gagged and covered with knife wounds hopped out into traffic and was taken to safety by a passing motorist.

In 1988, Runge was prosecuted in Cook County Circuit Court, found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Paroled in 1994, Runge moved to suburban Carol Stream Illinois with his fiancée Charlene. In 1997 Paul was returned to prison on a parole violation. During his period of freedom, Paul Runge took the lives of 7 people and changed the lives of countless family members and friends forever.

In early January of 1995, Stacey Frobel, a 25 year old friend of Charlene came by for a visit. After hours of socializing and cocktails Stacey was persuaded to stay over instead of driving home intoxicated. Sometime during the night Stacey was assaulted by Runge who struck the woman in the head with a dumbbell. He then carried Stacey’s bloody body into another bedroom, laid her down on a sheet of plastic and raped the unconscious woman. The following morning, Runge used a saw to dismember her body in a bathtub.

As parts of Frobel’s body surfaced in Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin, Paul and Charlene were investigated as they were the last people to see Stacey Frobel alive. The couple swore adamantly that Stacey had left the night before and were oblivious to her demise.

In July 1995, sisters Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, 22, and Amela Pasanbegovic 20, two Bosnian immigrants that answered an ad for house cleaners needed. They arrived at the Glendale Heights home of Paul & Charlene Runge, (who were now married) and unfortunately met their end. Once inside, the two women were handcuffed, raped and eventually dismembered. Runge placed their body parts into large plastic bags and discarded them in garbage containers throughout the city.

Dorota Dziubak, 30 and Kazimiera Paruch, 43, both of Chicago, were selling their respective homes in 1997. In January, Dorota was assaulted and murdered by Runge. Ms. Paruch met her untimely end at the hand of Runge in March of the same year.  In each case the victims were bludgeoned to death and their houses set ablaze. Their burned bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished separate fires in their homes.

Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jessica Muniz, lived in a modest apartment on the northwest side of Chicago. Yolanda had placed an ad in a local classified to sell a “Hooked on Phonics,” instructional game that was no longer being used. Unfortunately, evil personified came calling that night in the form of Paul Runge. On January 31, 1997; Runge raped the mother and daughter, slit their throats then set them on fire.

In 2001 Runge, who was still incarcerated from the parole violation, was officially charged in the murders of Gutierrez & Muniz. Confronted with DNA evidence, Runge confessed to the murders of all 7 women. On 2/27/2006, Paul Runge was found guilty of murder and on 6/5/2006 Judge Joseph Kazmierski sentenced him to death. However, in Illinois a death sentence is simply a symbolic gesture.  A moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois has been in effect since Gov. George Ryan halted executions in the state shortly before he left office. Prosecutors were later allowed to resume seeking the death penalty in criminal cases, but the state legislature has not lifted the ban on carrying out a death sentence. Currently, a sentence of death in Illinois is actually a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

There is an old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, what is it? The mere suggestion of Runge that anyone could consider him as anything other than a monster is preposterous. We here in the real world have always and will always judge each other based on our actions. In the words of our cinematic hero Forrest Gump, just as stupid is as stupid does; a monster is as a monster does.

Paul Runge

Paul Runge