Cape Cod–the image brings to mind upper-class resort and vacationing–not the recent murder of a 16 year-old by his 13 year-old half brother in an attempt to assume control of the family drug business. But what does this case reveal about the dark underbelly of one of America’s paradises, and America as a whole?
Mykel Mendes is accused of conspiring with two other teens to kidnap, torture, and murder his older half-brother, Jordan Mendes, so that he could take over the older brother’s significant Oxycontin and cocaine business, which was centered just a few miles from the Kennedy Hyannis Port compound.
The boys shared the same father, Manuel Mendes, who went to prison in 2000 on drug charges. Two years later he was caught orchestrating the large scale trafficking ring from within the prison walls, adding an additional 35 years to his previous 8-10 year sentence.
Jordan Mendes apparently picked up where his father left off, as District Attorney Michael O’Keefe told the Associated Press, Jordan was a “significant drug dealer.”
While the two boys seemed to have a very close relationship up until even recently, in December all of that changed when Mykel Mendes conspired with 20-year-old cousin, Robert Vacher, and 13-year-old Kevin Ribeiro, and the plot was carried out over two days when they kidnapped Jordan Mendes, tortured him, stole over $10,000 in cash and an undisclosed amount of drugs, and culminated in Vacher–according to the account Ribeiro told police–shooting him in the face and stabbing him as many as 27 times. Then Ribeiro and Vacher rolled his body in a rug, took it to a nearby wooded area, threw the body in a pit and set it ablaze. Jordan Mendes’ remains were found the next day when his concerned family went out to look for him when he did not return from school. The body was still burning.
The two juveniles and Vacher, in the meantime, took the $10,000 they pilfered from the robbery to a local car dealership and bought a used BMW.
Now the two juveniles are in the custody of Youth Services, and if convicted, will be placed in the correctional system for minors until age 18, when they will be freed. Vacher, on the other hand, is in custody without bond and being charged with robbery and first-degree murder.
This latest case comes on the heels of the recent murder of the pregnant step-mom-to-be by Pennsylvania youth Jordan Brown, and the revelation that a South Carolina 13 year-old shot and killed his 10 year-old brother Monday over an argument about where to sit and watch a movie during a snowday off from school.
What is happening to our youth?
If scientists have determined that sexually explicit lyrics encourage younger and younger teens to experiment with sex, cannot it not also be reasoned that mainstream media and it’s constant glorification of violence, drugs, and criminal behavior are polluting the minds of our nations young people? There are few people that would argue that the “hip-hopification” of this country has not had far-reaching effects in reshaping the moral compass for this country. While the argument that violent and drug motif music may describe the world that it’s artistic practicioners have arisen from, it has little resemblance to the upper-scale communities of Cape Cod, or the suburbias that are spawning violent wanna-be-thugs all across the country.
This phenomenon is not necessarily new–it’s effects could be seen as far back as the early 1990’s, when kids were first being robbed and killed for Starter Jackets and Nike Air Jordans–but it is escalating to a point that the cultural mores may be beyond repair.
A generation of kids raised on music, television, and video games dripping with drugs, sex, and violence. A generation of kids raised by electronics and public school, ignored by parents, alienated from society as a fundamental foundation of personal identity.
Generation Kill indeed.
Associated Press, Boy, 13, Accused of Killing Rival Brother, by Denise Lavoie
Associated Press, SC teen charged with shooting brother to death, March 3, 2009
Breitbart.com, Explicit lyrics linked to sex among teens: scientists, March 4, 2009