Kelvin Rodolph Defied Authority

There are a couple of updates to the this story down toward the end.

When I first read the article about the shooting of Kelvin Rodolph at The Buffalo News I was upset. Here’s the first paragraph:

The 15-year-old would-be robber shot dead by an off-duty Buffalo police officer early this morning outside an East Side gas station and mini-mart was identified by a grandparent today as Kelvin Rodolph, a disabled teen with a disorder that caused him to defy authority.

All I saw initially was “disabled teen shot” which seems to be the point of the author of the article. While it does seem to report the facts the officers came across in a very bad light and seemed sympathetic to the teenager.

Here’s the plain facts as I see them.

  1. The guy put a gun to an off-duty police officer’s head in an attempt to rob him.
  2. The officer pulled his gun out and shot the youth, when the kid went down but continued to point the gun at him he was shot again.

Yeah, there are a bunch of other ‘factors’ in this case but the point is the officer saw a threat to his life and responded in kind. It’s called self-defense. If you were to threaten my life or that of my family I would have to respond in kind. When someone points a weapon you have to assume that they plan on using it, otherwise they wouldn’t be pointing it.

According to the article Kelvin Rodolph had ADHD as well as a disorder that caused him to defy authority in addition to being Bipolar. Shouldn’t he be on medication or in a psychiatric ward somewhere if the problem were that serious? He tried to rob the officer just before 3am. What the heck was a 15-year-old boy doing out on the streets at 3am anyway? Where are his guardians and why didn’t they call the police if they knew he was out roaming around in the middle of the night?

Emotional disorders can be extremely debilitating for people but I really feel like more and more people are using things like ADHD as a crutch to lean on when what they really need is some good solid parenting. I have quite a bit of personal experience with Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) as well as ADHD, so this isn’t just something I’m pulling out of my butt. Dealing with it can require varying forms of treatment. Counseling, daily routines and even medication can come into play but it is something to be dealt with on a daily basis. I have a very hard time putting some of this in words but I really feel like adults are blaming ‘disorders’ and bad teachers for their bad parenting.

Update #1 – I was sent an email Friday night referring me to a previous article in the Buffalo News that talks about these kids and Kelvin specifically. It talks about what a hard time his parents had getting him proper services to get his disorders taken care of. I have read the article but I have not linked to it here simply for the fact that it’s not accessible to the public without paying for it. If you are still interested and want to read it just do a search of the archives at the Buffalo News using his name.
Here’s a portion of the email. I leave the person anonymous because if they wanted to be known they would have left a comment here.

You really need to understand how screwed up some of these kids are. The crisis in the streets is not just about “parenting”, it’s about prenatal care, their parents prior drug history, their friends, their absent fathers, the lead poisoning they end up with from eating paint chips in their dilapidated homes, their lack of state mandated treatment that the law is supposed to provide them, but fails to fund the programs… The problems that these kids face are like a perfect storm, leading them from 8th grade graduation to the state pen….or the grave.

It doesn’t really change anything about what has happened here but does prompt more questions. If the State of New York had ‘mandated’ treatment for Kelvin (ad others) that they were supposed to provide but then didn’t provide I would want to know why. My personal beliefs in needing less government interference and services aside, the fact is that if there is a law stating that they will pay for a service and then don’t, they are negligible for not providing the treatment.

Update #2 – The Buffalo News is now reporting that the gun used by Kelvin Rodolph was a BB Gun. I can’t fault the officer for his actions though as he had no time to ask the boy exactly what type of gun he had while it was being pointed at his head. Whether you want to blame the government for not providing care for the boy or some other bogeyman for letting him eat paint chips or whatever, the fact is that he made a series of bad decisions that ended in his death.

It also looks like the Buffalo News has made the initial two articles available to the general public as well here and here. As of last year Kelvin was living in Hopevale, which is a family service agency in New York. That leads me to ask why he was out? It’s obvious from the articles that his mother was trying to get him help. According to Hopevale’s web site “The Mission of Hopevale is to rebuild young lives”. For Kelvin Rodolph that didn’t happen.

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5 throughts on "Kelvin Rodolph Defied Authority"

  1. As a recently former teacher of Kelvin, and many other kids like him, I am appalled at the thought that someone would believe that it is someone else’s fault that this horrible tragedy occurred. Kelvin was, indeed, a troubled teen. Teens like him, though, with similar lifestyles and family situations, know the rules of the street and the ways of the street world. They know well what might happen to you when you put a gun to someone’s head. Kelvin was not mentally deranged or retarded…he had ADHD. This does not impair one’s ability to know right from wrong – especially in terms of trying to kill or rob someone. The bottom line questions are: why was he out so late? why was he out of his facility? and, mostly, why did he think it was ok to rob someone at gunpoint?? This is the most serious problem that we face in our city…fighting against this culture of people who believe that violence and intimidation are the better choice. Using ADHD is just an excuse for unacceptable behavior.

  2. I just had to chime in on this. My 12 year old has ADHD and ODD ( Oppositional Defiant Disorder), She is not medicated nor does she have counseling. When she was diagnosed at 5 (almost 6), she did do a year of behavioral therapy which helped us and her learn how to deal with it and how to manage it. She has her days where no matter what you say, she thinks she is going to do things her way. However, I do not let her get away with anything.
    And I know all too well about inadequate treatment. The facility my daughter was using was appalling. The Psych she seen made the comment he wished he could stand outside of Disney Land with a bottle of Ritalin. And here, there’s no good place to take children. So I just have done the best I could.


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