Lifetimes lost in 10 minutes or less … We must stop these wrong moves!

Almost every day, there are new headlines about local young people making the wrong decisions. Whether it is a criminal act or making a wrong move without thinking that leads to harm either for the young person or others who suffer from the person’s mistake.

I founded Be Someone Inc. in 2001 with the express purpose of mentoring and teaching young people how to make the right moves in their lives using the principles learned in the game of chess. Every time I see another sad story, I tell myself if I had just had the opportunity to work with this child, I could have and the resulting destruction of lives. I realize we don’t know the full story behind these tragic stories but I always ask… what if somehow, some way, someone could have made a difference. Think of this… a lifetime marred (at best), a lifetime lost (at worst) in 10 minutes. We all have a stake in this… our future! – Orrin Hudson

(Updated December 1, 2022)

12-year-old gang member dies after shootout near Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta – This child was with a bigger group of young people who had been causing mischief in Atlantic Station, ruining the day of many law abiding citizens out to enjoy the experience. The group left and then headed across the 17th Street bridge when someone opened fire killing the 12-year-old and wounding several other juveniles. The mother of this child said she had repeatedly called for help because her son had come under the influence of older youths in the neighborhood who only cared about new recruits and the lucrative crime they could help deliver. He was out of control and she was powerless. She says the police told her repeatedly they could do nothing. Hudson: How do we stop this destruction of our young people and the communities they are growing up in? This problem belongs to all of us no matter where you live. Our society and culture are crumbling before our very eyes. Bad things happen when good people do nothing. Proof? Read on.

School teacher left bloodied after attack by student – A student attacked a teacher in a Gwinnett County classroom. The crime was captured on videotape. The teacher required medical attention for wounds to his face and head. Apparently, the teacher had spoken to the student’s parents earlier about his poor classroom performance. The next day the student sought his revenge with the attack committed in front of fellow students. Luckily, another student intervened and kept the injuries from being even worse. Hudson: I ask, did this student once consider he might actually face consequences for such actions? This is what I teach… there are consequences for every move we make whether on the chess board or in life. What did this young person achieve? In a manner of speaking, a lot… school suspension… criminal record… community ridicule… peers who disassociate… family shame. Did he ever once consider he would pay a price for his bad decision?

Gwinnett County gang members arrested after causing mayhem in the community – Several juveniles were arrested and charged with a variety of crimes after firing weapons into area homes. Residents expressed relief that the reign of terror at least for now had stopped. Police not only arrested this group but many more young people for gang-related crime. Hudson: How do we stop this scourge. Community leaders have turned their backs for far too long now they are reaping the results of their inaction . I believe we must have a community dialogue about things like the importance of families and support groups. It’s alter but it is never too late if we choose to act now.

Gang activity reported in almost every Georgia county – The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Gang Task Force, Ken Howard, says, “I’d say it’s as bad as people believe and it is probably a little worse.” Both Lambert and Carr talk about how gangs recruit children, especially in government housing areas and in other poorer areas. They are even using things like bouncy houses and ice cream trucks to recruit children as young as 11 or 12, some even younger. Law enforcement is working hard and making progress with arrests and indictments across the state but the problem is worsening. Hudson: As a high school kid in inner-city Birmingham, I was in a gang. I know how it works. Promises to be somebody. A sense of belonging and worth when otherwise it does not exist. Recruiting means money and power to these thugs who walk our streets. The more members, the more lucrative crime and influence in the communities they fight to control. We must provide alternatives. We must have community leaders doing more than talking every time another tragic event happens. Brains before bullets… think it out don’t shoot it out… make your best move your best move. Be Someone!!!

Two teens shot outside restaurant; another teen charged days later – A 16-year-old boy died and a 17-year-old girl was wounded outside a local restaurant. The assailant fled but was tracked down and arrested several days later. Another teen. Hudson: Must have been a pretty good disagreement to take a life, harm another and send yourself to prison with plenty of time to find the answer to the question, “Was it worth it?” I would love to know what was the thought process before pulling that trigger. Was there one?

16-year-old arrested in death of man shot outside a restaurant – After accidently handling a gun that discharged in a car outside the restaurant killing a passenger, this 16-year-old fled but turned himself in to police the next day. He was taken into custody and charged with involuntary manslaughter. Hudson: Guns kill! They might look cool on TV and the movies but if you don’t know how to handle them, stay away. Even better, stay away period! This young person had no intention (it appears) of killing the deceased but his decision to pick the weapon up in the first place was the wrong one. I say it thousands of times each year when I train young people, “Decisions, actions have consequences?”

16-year-old kills man by reckless driving – A 31-year-old family man and manager of a pet food store tried to do the right thing by confronting a young driver doing doughnuts in a parking lot. Unfortunately, the teen tried to drive away and, in the process, hit and killed the man. He was tracked down and arrested by the police. Hudson: Another mindless decision that seemed cool and harmless. One life taken; another young life lost for years to come. Why was he there breaking the law? Go ahead, ask him. My guess is he won’t have a good answer because there is no good answer!

FBI arrests juvenile for making bomb threats – This person – age not given other than calling him a “juvenile too young to be charged with federal hate crime charges,” was arrested for calling multiple bomb threats into several Georgia traditional Black colleges. Hudson: We don’t know much about this young person but we do know he made a willful decision to disrupt the lives of students (and faculty) who are earnestly trying to make something of their lives. Those students have made a decision that will result in positive outcomes. The juvenile made a mindless decision, no doubt thinking it was fun and cool. I wonder if he finds jail fun and cool.

Alleged gang member sentenced to life in prison – This person was 18 when he killed a 19-year-old woman after firing at least 10 shots into a house. Here’s the list of things he pleaded guilty to: one count of felony murder, six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of a possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and four counts of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Hudson: Young people, read that slowly and out loud, “sentenced to life in prison.” He made a horrible, tough guy decision. He gave his life away after taking a life. Seems like a fair trade. Did he not think there might actually be consequences for this horrific trigger-pulling decision?

16-year-old shot near Georgia State campus – This youngster was shot in broad daylight (about 6 p.m.) in some kind of altercation near a busy downtown area. He provided few details to the responding police before being transported to the hospital. Hudson: Young people and guns. That is a bad combination. We have to provide constructive alternatives before these young people gravitate toward destructive alternatives.

Fight in school bathroom leads to injuries, charges – High school bathrooms are often gathering places for students. Such was the case at Grayson High School when a fight broke out between two boys. One pulled out a box cutter and slashed the other sending him to the hospital with serious injuries. The teen with the weapon faces criminal charges. Other observing students recording the confrontation and immediately posting on social media face disciplinary action. Hudson: Do you think the child (yes, child is an accurate description even though this is high school) with the box cutter ever considered he might be in big trouble for #1 fighting and #2 bringing a weapon to school and using it against someone else. No! And what about the kids who thought recording the gruesome scene would give them instant social media notoriety? No. At “Be Someone” we teach kids there are consequences for every action. These young people are learning that lesson the hard way.

Student found shot short distance from high school – Police were called after passersby found a 17-year-old male lying near Norcross High School, the victim of a gunshot wound. The student later died at a hospital. The boy’s mother said her son was lured to the site on the pretense of engaging in a fight. She expressed her sorrow, “I’m deeply crushed. I’m angry that his life had to be ended so short and so soon. But I cherish all 17 years I had with him. He was my baby.” The same article read that the Gwinnett County School Superintendent is calling “for community solutions to violence.” Hudson: At Be Someone Inc. we teach “Think it out don’t shoot it out.” This is senseless. Let this mamma’s words sink in… anguish, sorrow. Her “baby” was stolen from her. Why? There is no answer to that. The violence must stop.

Man on trial for murder says gang groomed him – This 22-year-old old perpetrator is on trial for killing a wedding guest after the man had the audacity to challenge him after robbing a group of people waiting for rides after the event. What makes the story even more chilling is the thief’s admission that a gang recruited him when he was only nine or 10. He became a criminal with a long list of crimes leading to his being apprehended and now tried for murder. He was 19 when he allegedly pulled the trigger. He said being in the gang was like being in a “family.” Hudson: I was in a gang. I know what it is like to be accepted and “loved.” Believe me, you are not loved in a gang, you are used. This young man now faces life in prison as a pay off for his gang membership. We must provide positive alternatives for our young people.

Police searching for missing 14-year-old – Police are searching for this child who reportedly ran away from home. The girl was a resident of an apartment complex in Smyrna. Hudson: Now I have no idea the circumstances of this case but I do know this. Our young people must understand they are loved, they have value and they can be forces for good. Through the game of chess, I teach that each child can “Be Someone” by making the right decisions and using their God-given talents and intelligence to succeed. I’m saddened anytime I see a story of a young person leaving a home because they know something better awaits. Rarely, does something better await. This is a dangerous world. I’m praying for her and others like her.

16 and 19-year-old gunned down in broad daylight – A distraught mother cried for “my 16-year-old baby” who along with another teen was shot and killed one afternoon outside their Jonesboro apartment. So far, there are no suspects and motives for the tragic loss. Hudson: After the fact there are many questions. What led to this? Why are young people now prone to handle disagreements with weapons? Could this needless and senseless loss have been prevented? The pain expressed by this mother underlines the heartbreak and suffering caused by these senseless acts.

Man working on Buckhead home shot, killed in robbery – The man’s body was found lying in a driveway by a girl walking by the home. Later, in a neighboring state, an 18-year-old was apprehended driving the dead man’s car. Hudson: I simply can’t fathom this. What is in the mind of this young person that leads him to callously gun down an innocent man then take off in his stolen car. He had no regard for human life. He had no issue with the consequences he no doubt would face. I have to wonder, what led this person to this day? Were there interventions that could have prevented this?

Young football star inexplicably murdered by two teens – We don’t as yet know the why of the shooting that took the life of an 18-year-old (he just turned 18) star high school wide receiver in a business parking lot. The accused (18 and 19-years-old) were apprehended quickly about 100 miles from the scene. All police are saying was that there was a confrontation of some sort and the victim and perpetrators knew each other. Hudson: Looks like they fled. Maybe they realized after their act that it was wrong and by running they could make the crime go away. Doesn’t work that way young folks. A wrong move like this has ruined so many lives and left an entire community and school system devastated. Once you pull the trigger, you’re done. A young talented life taken. Two more lives destined to life-long incarceration because of a very stupid move… Three lifetimes lost in 10 minutes or less.

Teenagers participate in brawl at Arbor Place Mall – A promotion offering $3 tickets to see a movie attracted a large group of young people. Investigators believe the fight started as a prank or an effort to get hits on Tik-Tok. Before it ended, an estimated 200 teenagers were involved in the melee. Although 19 have been officially charged, police say there will be more. Hudson: Think about this. First, where are the supervising adults for these children? The youngest suspect facing charges is 12-ywars-old. 12-years-old! These children are facing a range of charges from disorderly conduct to simple battery to violation of the Georgia Terrorist Act. A local government official was quoted as saying, “Times have changed” in referring to young people misbehaving publicly. We agree but it should not be that way. Bottom line: There are consequences for every decision we make. These youngsters may have thought this was cool but it was not and they will pay a price.

17-year-old charged in killing of 14-year-old – This tragic event happened at a Clarkston apartment complex. The two apparently knew each other. Investigators are trying to determine what caused the shooting. Hudson: Drugs? Anger? Whatever reason you come up with, there is no justification for such a violent act. Two families suffer. The 14-year-old is being mourned by loved ones. They are no doubt asking, how could we have saved him? The perpetrator’s family is no doubt asking themselves how did we facilitate this act? How could we have stopped it? The young shooter? He will no doubt have a lot of time in prison to ask himself why he did what he did. A life lost. A life wasted. Why? So sad!

14-year-old girl arrested for Walmart fire – A Walmart in Peachtree City had to be evacuated when fire broke out inside the store one evening. Severe damage was caused to the store. An investigation led to the arrest of a 14-year-old girl. Hudson: The first question is why? Bored? Angry? Showing off? Revenge? Whatever the answer, it was wrong. Now she and her family are about to pay the consequences for her wrong move. Police record at 14. Bet she never thought of the price she might pay for her actions. At Be Someone, we teach young people to use their brains for good. I wish she had been one of my students.

“Water Boy” makes string of wrong moves – A group of teens was selling bottled water to drivers exiting I-75 at 10th Street. When an Atlanta police officer approached a 14-year-old, for some reason the teenager bolted leading to a foot chase. Wrong move #2 (being in the street in the first place was #1). When the officer caught the youngster, he made the next bad move, he struck the officer, hitting him and crushing his eye socket. The injury may cause permanent blindness. The teen has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, terroristic threats, obstruction, pedestrian in the roadway, pedestrian soliciting business and littering. Hudson: OK, I get it, kids need money and they think this is a lawful way to get some quickly. It’s against the law. The City of Atlanta has a partnership with local businesses creating summer jobs for kids. At last check, several hundred are unfilled. I wish this 14-year-old had chosen that honorable route. He didn’t and now he is in BIG trouble. And why did he run? And then what led him to swing at an officer? Fourteen! We teach kids at Be Someone to respect law enforcement and if you have nothing to hide… do not run! I’m a former officer. That tells me, yep, you are hiding something and I’m coming for you.

Teen injured after making two wrong moves – The robbing crew of young adults and teenagers chose a Buckhead apartment complex parking deck as their target for crime. They were breaking into cars when police arrived. As they attempted to flee, one 17-year-old made at least his second wrong move of the night. In attempting to escape, he jumped five stories from the deck to the ground. He made easy pickings for the police. Once he recovers from his injuries, he will be transferred from a hospital bed to a jail cell. Hudson: Often, one wrong move is all it takes to ruin a young life. But two back-to-back will leave lasting memories that actions do in fact have consequences.

Best friends die in late-night shooting in Gwinnett County Park – The two teenagers, 19 and 17, reportedly were best friends and did everything together. Their final act was dying together. The two were shot and killed around midnight by as yet an unnamed assailant in a lake-front park. Police were called after residents reported hearing gun fire. Hudson: Why did they decide to visit the park so late at night? Why did they put themselves in jeopardy? The touching video of one of the teen’s mother was heartbreaking. Someone took her “baby” and she didn’t know why.

13-year-old among those shot at abandoned apartment complex – Five people were shot, including a 13-year-old, when someone in a group of people started shooting at an abandoned apartment complex at 2 a.m. Hudson: My first thought, what was the home life of this 13-year-old? Was he there as an adventure or was he in the presence of an adult member of his family… at 2 in the morning! This is a child (at least in years) for goodness sakes! Who could have intervened? Who could have made a positive difference in this child’s life? I, we, pray it is not too late for that.