Cartrail Robertson Shot By His Friend And No Parents Care About These Kids

No parents give a damn about the friends of Cartrail Robertson, who was shot dead by his friend Darrin Wilson late Monday night. Cartail was just 13-years-old and Darrin, who is now at a juvenile detention facility and has been charged with reckless homicide, is just 15-years-old. The two barely-teens lived in Memphis and looking at their Facebook pages it’s totally shocking that not one adult has thought to put them on lockdown after this incident. These kids are babies. From the Facebook of the now deceased Cartail:







From some of their friends, we see things like this:





It’s beyond heartbreaking that Cartail is dead. He will never play outside, or go to college, or grow up to show the world what he is capable of. But what is just as heartbreaking is that you can go through any gallery of his Facebook friends and see just as many disturbing images, guns, wads of cash, booze, kids getting high and waving their guns around.

I know raising teenagers is hard. I have a teen of my own and sometimes he can be a total pain. But considering some relatives have commented on the amazingly upsetting images you would think that someone would intervene and stop these kids from doing whatever stupidly dangerous and illegal things they are doing. These aren’t 18-year-old and older, these are kids barely into puberty. It’s such a total shame.

I know it’s easy for me to sit here and judge these parents, and I am totally doing that, but considering one of these beautiful young boys is dead it’s time someone has to. I’m so tired of stories like these. Cartrail shouldn’t be dead. He should be just starting his life. I have no idea what the answers are, but I know if you see your young teen relative or kid posting photos brandishing guns and getting high then you may want to sit down and have a big old talk with them. And by “talk” I mean take away all their weapons, get them some damn help, and lock them in their bedroom until they are an adult. I’m really hoping someone does something. The police are reported to be investigating the images. It just shocks me that there isn’t anyone related to these kids, a parent or uncle or aunt or cousin or friend of the family who didn’t step in when they saw these photos online. You can’t tell me that not a single adult knew what was going on.

My heart is broken that this young man is dead, and it’s continuing to break over the fact that it won’t just be him, it will be one of his friends, unless someone does something.

(Images: Facebook)

Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!
  • tk88

    You’re clearly one of those good parents who assumes all parents care about their kids. I cannot speak for this boy or his friends–as I don’t know any of them. But do you really think that a kid that young who is smoking pot, has guns, likely committing crimes or selling drugs to have that kind of money is being monitored? Or taken care of at all? There are plenty of people who have kids by accident and don’t want anything to do with them. Boys and young men like this often aren’t taken care of at all. They resort to violence and drugs because that’s what’s around them and a way to support themselves. These pictures also aren’t like the “wannabe” photos a lot of teenage boys post to make themselves look tough–those are REAL guns. That being said, it’s possible he did just become “out of control” at some point, but if no parents/guardians have come forward to even complain to the media? It’s likely he’s one of those poor kids that was unwanted from the start and struggled through his short life to a violent death.

    • Eve Vawter

      He’s not the only out of control one, he has about ten friends with the same types of pics. 13 years old. 13!!!!!!

    • tk88

      Er, I honestly didn’t even think he was out of control. My point was that sometimes despite good parents, kids can end up in bad situations like this. But…I doubt that was the situation if no parents have really come forward.

  • Kay_Sue

    Do these kids have no support system whatsoever? Is there no one that looks at this and thinks, “Well, damn, maybe these kids should not be brandishing firearms and flashing cash and smoking whatever? Maybe I should have a talk with their parents” or “Maybe I could talk some sense into them before one of them [or in this case, another of them] winds up dead or ruining his life.”

    When I was in high school, we lived on a military base. We were in row houses–kind of like townhouses, and the only reason that I don’t use that word is because it conjures up an image of something much, much nicer than what we lived in–and at the end was a single mom, raising four teenage boys. She’d been in the Army for a long time, and she was a drill sergeant at the point that I knew them. When one of her sons, who was in the grade ahead of me, was suspended because of his alleged involvement in gang activity at our school, she did something that maybe you agree with, maybe you don’t. She took him out back of their home, she put him at attention, she got right up in his face, and she started shouting. She said, “Do you think this makes you a man? Do you think what you are doing makes you a man? No. It does not make you a man. It makes you my bitch.” The whole neighborhood came pouring out of their homes to watch. And then she ran him. And she made him do push ups. And she ran him. And she made him do sit ups. And she ran him some more. And when we thought she was done, she started all over. In the terms that I am familiar with as an Army brat, she “smoked” him.

    After that afternoon, she pulled him out of school and enrolled him in another. She supported his education, and encouraged him to fight to go to college. Which he did, and eventually graduated near the top of his class, went on to get his MBA, and earned a pretty nice job at a marketing firm (we’re still friends, at least in the world of Facebook). Maybe it wasn’t the best approach. Maybe it wasn’t the most caring approach. But she did what she thought she had to do to get the message across to him, and she was willing to go to any lengths to make sure that he didn’t wind up dead or a deadbeat (her words). I can’t imagine doing it to my son now that I am a mother–but I do have a sort of respect for her for not just accepting there’s nothing she could do.

    Anyway, tl;dr: caring parents don’t throw their hands up and go “oh well, nothing I can do, he’s (she’s) a teenager, and kids will be kids!” They do whatever it takes to try to help their kids back to a healthier path. My heart breaks for these kids, and I seriously hope someone, somewhere, takes an interest in their wellbeing.

    • jane

      That mom is awesome. Mad props. Caring about your kids doesn’t always mean cuddling them. That mom showed her love by “making him her bitch” more than any “kind” approach I can think of.

    • Kay_Sue

      Looking back on it as a mom, I admire her courage. It could not have been easy to make the decision, and to carry it out, even though she believed it was the only way to get through to him.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      Army brat? Knew I liked you for a reason. :) There is something to be said for the somewhat invasive life one lives on post; sure it can be annoying at times but people genuinely care about each other and what goes on. I once had a standoff with a teenager who was being a real ass and I marched him back to his mom’s house and told her what he did. She chewed his butt there on the spot. Poor lady was a soldier, trying to raise two kids while her soldier husband was deployed for 15 months. My point? Sometimes good parents are overwhelmed or clueless and if more people cared enough to step in – like Eve says they should – maybe these kids wouldn’t be so lost. Also, side note – I have been somewhat surprised by other folks’ “What do you expect? These kids live in the ghetto so they won’t ever be anything but THIS” attitude.

    • Kay_Sue

      I am not necessarily surprised by it. There is a realism to that point of view. The fact is, breaking free of that life is incredibly difficult, especially for families that lack knowledge of the resources available (or the ability to access them). It’s sad all around.

      You are precisely right though–it takes a community. People have to watch out for each other. We’re social critters and it shocks me that we are so hands off with each other. I really hope the attention to this case brings in folks from the community that can help the families involved.

  • Byron

    I don’t know the situation so I just have to go by what I see in the images provided above.

    These don’t look like babies, they look like gang members. They’re not “out of control kids” as much as “urban criminals” from what I can deduce by the provided facts and I’m confused how anyone could make a different conclusion. You may say 15 is young but when kids can enter gangs as soon as 11 or even younger, that’s 4 years of thieving, fighting, sellind drugs, being involved with guns or even worse. They may be young but that doesn’t make it impossible for them to also be hardened criminals who lost all of their innosence years ago and would kill you at the drop of a hat for no good reason, even if you’re their 13 year old gand bro. They had nothing to look forward to in life other than a bullet to the forehead or prison any more.

    It’s terrible that reality is as such but to lie to yourself and pretend a kid with hundreds of dollars, guns, suspicious smokes, friends with guns and the gull to take pictures displaying all of the above in a brazen manner is some kind of innocent flower acting out not knowing what he’s really doing is incredibly myopic.

    These kids are victims of neglect but just cause you feel bad for them you shouldn’t let them get away with murder. (quite literally in the case of the 15 year old)

    • rrlo

      Please don’t mistake compassion for naiveté. I think many do.
      No one in their right mind would mistake these kids for innocent little flowers or think they don’t know what they are doing. However, many of us can see the death of a 13 year old boy and see a profound tragedy for what it is. A life lost that could have been saved. That could have been wonderful.
      A 13 year old is a child by every definition of the word. He deserved better than to be gunned down by his friend. Doesn’t mean that the boy who committed the crime do not deserve to be face justice for his crime.
      All it means that we can look at the horror of this situation and feel awful about it.

  • jane

    No parents care about these kids. And one is dead. And more will be. At the end of the day, kids really don’t need a whole lot. But they do need people to care about them. It’s just sad on so many levels.

  • Angela

    Working in an inner city clinic really opened my eyes to the challenges that some of these families are facing. I saw many parents who were heart-broken watching their kids get involved with gangs but they didn’t know to escape. Their kids didn’t know how to escape. Professional counseling is exorbitantly expensive and it still wouldn’t change the fact that the kids feel that joining a gang is their only option to survive. Factor that in with the fact that many of the kids I saw were being raised by single parents (or grandparents) who were working two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads. Taking time off to help their kid could very easily result in homelessness. I had one heartbreaking conversation with a mother who had resorted to prostitution and drug dealing to get by. She could see that it was a terrible environment for her son and could see him getting sucked in but she didn’t know what else to do. She had a 5th grade education and no other job experience. Her family needed to eat and she didn’t know how else to earn money.

    • Eve Vawter

      so damn sad. I just can’t help but think there has to be SOMEONE near the family somehow who would step in.

    • Angela

      Sometimes, but many of the women I worked with were runaways. They literally didn’t know anyone outside the streets. Or some had family that was mostly involved in gangs and it was actually older cousins or relatives that were pressuring the kid to join. Whatever the situation, most of the women I knew were surrounded by people who were just like them and struggling to survive. If they’d had someone in their lives they could ask for help they would have. It was really heartbreaking and I think that most of the blame falls not on the individual parents but on society as a whole. If people in the ghettos had more options, decent schools to send their kids to, access to mental health and other services, etc then they would be a million times more able to help their kids.

    • K.

      I wanted to chime in in support of what you’re saying because it’s not necessarily that their families didn’t care, it could have been that their families couldn’t care.

      Hard to notice your kid’s Facebook page if you can’t read or write, have no idea how to use the Internet, and have no access to computers and can’t afford a smartphone.

  • Crusty Socks

    Sorry Eve, apologies in advance, but my snide cynic in me wants to be heard.

    “Play outside,” “go to college,” “show what he’s capable of…” Unless he is 1 in 10000 that’s able to break free, these are just fantasies and not realistic aspirations. Look at the pics you posted, kids like that don’t go to college… most don’t make it to college age alive or avoid juvy.

    I get your point that he clearly had no adults that cared, but even if he did, a 13 yr old who posts these pics are not ones who play outside… other than for criminal purposes. Some people are wired this way. They’re the same people who have good parents and yet choose to do bad things. They’re the antithesis of people who have bad parents and yet choose to do good things.

    I get that probably nobody taught these two boys about right or wrong, but it’s in our nature to be able to figure out and discern morality on our own, without adults to teach them to us.

    Your motherliness hurts for this boy. But you know intellectually, this boy would have only grown up to be a criminal and/or die while being one.

    • Eve Vawter

      it makes me so amazingly sad. he is just such a cute kid and ugh, it sucks, it all just sucks

    • Jennifer Freeman

      Yes but if someone had stepped in, if someone had cared, he has a heck of a lot more chance to be that 1 in 10000. Giving up completely on everyone that ever faced the challenges associated with living in a poor, crime-ridden area is only making the problem worse. Someone – a lot of someones, actually – really need to care enough to make sure these kids have a chance to go to college and live a happy life. If a kid is surrounded by thugs and that is all he knows, he will likely end up being one; if there is someone who can show him what ‘right’ looks like, and to demonstrate it for him, he’s got a model for comparison. At any rate, it is heartbreaking to read your reply which basically comes across as “Write these kids off because they won’t ever be anything good.”.

    • rrlo

      What kind of a society would we be when we witness the death of a 13 year old boy and not feel sad. At what point should we care then? What if he was 10? What if he was 8? Would it be more worthy of our sadness if he was 8?
      He was a child. And now he is dead. He will never be alive again. No one appeared to have cared for him. No one appears to mourn him. It’s the saddest thing in the world.
      Yes, gangs exist. Yes, these kids were mixed up in bad things. I don’t want my children growing up in a world where those two things make it okay to be flippant about the death of a child.

    • JustAGuest

      “I get that probably nobody taught these two boys about right or wrong,
      but it’s in our nature to be able to figure out and discern morality on
      our own, without adults to teach them to us”

      This is actually pretty clearly false, just fyi. We require some kind of teaching – if a kid grows up without human contact, they aren’t going to have deduced the rules of morality. Now, whether you think the kids should have been able to figure it out by observing society is an interesting question; to some extent it will depend on whether they had interactions with a society that modelled other behavior. Frequently the kids are doing what everyone in their community is doing.

      The problems here are much deeper than a few kids being irresponsible or a few parents not doing what we think they should; it’s societal. Unfortunately, the US at least mostly doesn’t care much about poor people (unless we’re blaming them for their own misfortune), so I don’t see this changing any time soon.

    • Crusty Socks

      US doesn’t care about poor people? You have any idea how much money this country spends on social welfare? Lower performing schools in poor neighborhoods often get twice as much funding as higher performing schools in more affluent areas in order to “achieve equality.”

      And since you’re gonna interpret my words in absolutes, I’ll do the same to your words.

      If children mimic morality based on what they observe in the society that they live, shouldn’t EVERY CHILD in this kid’s neighborhood be doing the same thing? Neither of us know the answer, but you must believe that’s what’s happening, right?

    • AlbinoWino

      I’m going to have to fact check you on the assertion that schools in rich neighborhoods get less funding than those in poor ones. It’s the opposite. Plus, drive through any affluent area and compare the school to the outward appearance of a school in a low income area. There are generally vast differences. Same with teacher pay. I live in CA and in Palo Alto the teachers get paid around $10,000 more a year than those at schools in East Palo Alto just a few miles down the road. Palo Alto is very wealthy, East Palo Alto has a lot more poor people.

    • Crusty Socks

      That just proves that Palo Alto teachers union is better than East Palo Alto, not necessarily an indicator of per child spending.

      No Child Left Behind made sure that poor performing schools get more money.

    • Brian

      It costs over $29k per pupil per year to ‘educate’ students in the Washington DC system, as compared to about $10k nationwide average.

      Plus, drive through any affluent area and compare the school to the outward appearance of a school in a low income area.
      Meaningless. The poor districts are spending more on special ed and security.

    • jane

      On one level, I agree with you – that the hopeful things Eve mentioned in her post were unlikely to materialize. But on another hand I strongly disagree. I don’t think these boys were “wired” to be this way. They were set up by a system that didn’t provide a lot of realistic alternatives. While it’s depressing to think that we have a whole effed up system to fix, it’s less depressing than thinking that there’s nothing we can do to help people unable to help themselves.

    • AlbinoWino

      Very true. I worked in a residential treatment facility for teen girls with emotional and behavioral problems. Many were foster children shuffled through the system that had been beaten, neglected, and sexually assaulted. Many had mental health issues. It was very eye opening. When I spoke to people about our programs they seemed to be under the impression that all you had to do was show these kids a little love and they would blossom and be fine the rest of their lives. People would ask me our success rate and I was confused at this question. Success for us was teaching the kids not to end up in prison and to process their emotions better. They didn’t all just leave and go to college to get amazing jobs. They were often kids who had nobody and once they aged out of the system they were just released to try and make their own way. Honestly, half the kids have babies of their own now and some do better than others. It made me look at how privileged I’ve been in my own life and realize when the odds are so stacked against you because of race, class, etc. you may never get that chance to go have what we might consider a very successful adulthood.

  • Lee

    I don’t know what kind of area this child was from but the sad truth is that in a lot of bad neighborhoods this is normal behavior. It is often modeled on parents or other community “big shots” behavior. So kids turn to this to feel safer because of all the gang violence. Most rough urban areas also have a lot of single family homes where that parent is working their butt off and things like this can slip under the radar. I have never lived is a “rough” neighborhood so I am not speaking out of experience but living in Chicago stories like this aren’t unusual at all. I really recommend listening to This American Life’s 2 part episode on Harper High School.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    It could be true these kids’ parents are out working their butts off and are too busy to parent or they could be thugs themselves which would explain their children’s behavior. For all we know their parents and grandparents are in jail or on drugs and they are being raised by the streets. Sad situation,

  • Martin

    It’s beyond heartbreaking that Cartail is dead. He will never play outside, or go to college, or grow up to show the world what he is capable of.

    It’s not heart breaking at all. That person would never have played outside or gone to college, or shown the world anything other than what he showed it. That he was a lowlife thug, who didn’t have anyone teach him right from wrong and who was too ignorant to figure it out for himself. So now he’s dead and the general public doesn’t have to worry about paying for his certain incarceration, or the several out of wedlock children he would have started fathering in a year or two. It’s not a tragedy when someone who is going to do nothing but be a drain on society and harm innocent people their entire lives. This kid would have done just that… the taxpayer wins!

  • Brian

    Please. This fool was never going to go to college. And he did ‘show the world what he was capable of’. That’s the problem.