Recently, I was watching the local news. The story was about a woman and her three children attacking a man for using their driveway to turn around. Throughout the broadcast, the name was repeated several times and I kept thinking how familiar that name was until, I realized this was one of my former neighbors. According to neighbors and Michael Wright, the man who was attacked, Mary Vaught, her 22 year old daughter, Shirley and two younger girls, upon noticing that Wright had pulled into their drive, blocked his exit from the drive. Then, commenced to vandalize his car. When he got out to inspect the damages, he was then attacked.
When I lived in this neighborhood. as a child, she and her siblings were known for being combative, but, it seems that Mary has taken things to a whole new level, by attacking neighbors and teaching her own children that this is a way of life. As a child and teen, I recall the many fights with other children in the neighborhood and constant conflicts in the Vaught family. The family always owned dogs who readily attacked anyone who happened to be walking through the neighborhood. The dog attacks were often encouraged by members of the family. I, myself, was the victim of more than one of these dog attacks.
Over thirty years later, this member of that violent family, is passing on violent tendencies to her children. I often wondered what effect this brand of violence, would ultimately have on the younger children. I am seeing by their actions, that the generation of violence is going on and on. Personally, I don’t see the progression changing until Social Services intervenes and counsels the entire family in anger management and behavior modification. I don’t advocate removing children from homes, but, exposing children continuously to violence of this nature, could quite possible be grounds. According to Shay Bilchik’s report – Violent Families and Youth Violence, ‘Exposure to multiple forms of family violence, therefore, doubles the risk of self-reported youth violence.’
I can’t help but wonder where this is all going to take this family and the whole neighborhood, for that matter. The neighbors can’t very well evict her from her home. And, if the judicial system isn’t effective against violent behavior, what recourse do the many have against the few? Especially in this case, when the violent neighbor owns the house. There is no landlord for whom neighbors can complain. My heart goes out the neighbors, but, most of all to the children who are being constantly exposed to such violent behavior.
I, do, however, suggest that the neighbors organize and unify themselves against such violent behavior, which is an endangerment to the entire neighborhood:
Identify your neighborhood association. If you don’t have one, then, establish one. In Memphis, just contact Neighborhood Relations on how to form a neighborhood association. The benefits of a neighborhood association, is you can meet and share ideas on how to effectively rid the neighborhood of violence, drugs, and other undesirable activities. Furthermore, the association can get legal advice to uniformly act against these problems and get city government assistance.
Keep the police well informed of violent and unwelcome behavior in the neighborhood. Ask for regular patrols.
Neighbors should keep cameras ready and available to record incidents when they are happening and/or soon after. Good evidence is needed to bring legal actions and prove that violent neighbors are a menace.
Don’t take matters into your own hands. Self-defense has to be proven and that is hard, if it’s your word against the word of a violent neighbor.
My hope is that the Vaught family gets the help that is obviously much needed, because, this is just one of many incidents over the past few years. Small children and teens deserve a stable and peaceful environment. Constant visits by the police, neighbor conflicts and constant violent behavior just doesn’t seem to be the ideal setting for such.