Teenagers can still flag controversies, ill will with citizenship - Johnny Jackson

I was a little disappointed to find out that University of Hawaii quarterback, Colt Brennan, spent seven days in jail, earlier in his young life.

And I was not disappointed that he had apparently made a mistake in judgment that would land him in jail seven days, or even that he had gotten off with four years of probation otherwise.

I was disappointed that his offenses - extreme as they were [he was reportedly, convicted of criminal trespass and burglary and acquitted of sexual assault] - were not more extreme as to lend us common folks more reason to be inspired by his personal rebound.

But Brennan's is not exactly an Achillean tale - and thankfully so. What Brennan went through was probably the exact dose of medicine he needed, if he needed a dose at all.

It is a growing trend to see nearly and barely legals, as Brennan was, in adult situations and facing judgment for adult crimes.

The faces of several Atlanta area teenagers could appear beneath headlines in coming days. Reportedly, the teens have been charged with breaking into some 150 cars in the metro Atlanta area during the last Thanksgiving holidays.

One hundred and fifty cars - 150 mistakes.

I think Brennan's case and their cases deserve to be made distinct, and distinctly different, but I only use the different cases for what could make them similar.

It is obvious to me that the teenagers, who were turned in by one of the parents, needed an outside jolt of moral fiber to even begin to rectify what I am generously calling mistakes.

I know some people would hate to see these teenagers, who have in some way affected dozens of people and their families, get off with a slap on the wrist.

And with what has transpired in recent years about fairness in the judicial system, and how it wields penalties to certain groups versus others [blacks vs. whites, whites vs. blacks, rich vs. poor, etc.], the one thing that should come of this case - whatever the outcome, which could shape up to be controversial - is that they do become better citizens and better people that we [black, white, rich, or poor] can find reason to be inspired by.

I am hoping, as I often do with non-violent offenders, that they can eventually learn from what is to come, rebound, and make their "mistakes" mere blackened pieces to a vibrant and inspiring tale.

Johnny Jackson is the education reporter for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at jjackson@henryherald.com or at (770) 957-9161.