[Response] Teen Stabbing in Wausau, WI

A preliminary hearing in Yang's case is set for March 12. The hearing is at 8:30 am in Branch 1 Courtroom, room C230.
Please make the effort to read the case here to get the story here. Of course, not everything the news portray is honest.

Trending news like this is a demand for time to ask these questions. What are we doing? What are you doing? What am I doing? There are so many factors that caused this problem to happen.

On top of this being an obvious and instant race and gang related case, it also fits in with 1) gun policies 2) poverty 3) community outreach 4) school prevention 5) parenting style 6) web/cyber bullying and many more. What kind of gun control laws did we vote for? Are we schools that don’t help children to participate in an activity that causes them to be out on their own at 5pm? Are we community leaders that don’t reach out to members in our community? Are we schools and teachers that don’t have conversations with these children? Are we siblings who are making conscious decisions because we hold a very big influence to our younger siblings? Are we parents who are too strict or too easy going? Are we successful professionals who just goes to work and come back? Are we spreading this kind of behavior on the web?

If the children involved had the right help and resources, this tragedy could've been prevented. At 13 and 15, I was in student council; I wasn't out at 5pm. My parents also didn't own any guns; I wouldn't have been able to shoot anyone if I wanted to. We also had one computer we had to share, so someone was usually in the same room. That person would've talked to me if I had issues with others on FB. I never really understood why my father didn't work, other than for health reasons, but it was for supervision purposes. Who was watching them since he wasn't at school? Employment has a factor in this too, which I saw affected many of the students I worked with in high school. Some parents work 2nd shift, which is generally 3-11pm. They can't pick up their child after practice. This is where the school comes in, what can they do? Usually they've exhausted all their resources and can't do anything. This is where the community comes in, can they provide transportation?

Ok, let’s play the race card. This is a race case. This is a case about Hmong people. This is a case about a grandfather who side with the Americans during the Vietnam War and became traitors to a land he lived in. As a result of the war, he sought political asylum status in various places throughout the world for refuge, United States being his final decision. He decides to settle in the US to avoid persecution from the Lao government and brings his whole family over. His children that are raised here face many problems like any other refugee group; poverty, education, employment, resources, and many more. Maybe this led the son, who is the father of the 15 year old Hmong boy in the conflict, to many things that already began his son’s fate. The father is probably someone with little English. Have you ever filled out an application in a foreign language? Because that’s what it feels like for them. Maybe he was only good enough for a company labor job. Like most companies, they have different work hours. These hours are made to meet their demands; their employees can make a decision to stay or leave. These hours are generally first shift-6am-3pm, second shift 3-11pm, third shift 11pm-7am. Again, with the race card, many Hmong parents work these hours. These are not friendly hours that’ll allow them to pick up their child after soccer practice. These are not hours that they can go watch their child’s tennis game. These are not hours that they can attend their child’s state debate round. These are hours that cause a Hmong child like Dylan Yang to be in his conflicts. These are hours that already pre-determined Dylan’s life. These are hours that could’ve saved Dylan.

Yes, it’s possible to escape a fate like this. There are a few who triumph through this. That didn’t happen in this case. To escape a fate like this requires all of us to work together.

As the case unfolds since Friday, February 27, it’s starting to sound like the one stabbed, Powell, had a bb gun that he brought to Yang’s place. As a result, Yang’s weapon of choice was a knife he used to stab Powell when he was on top beating Yang’s other friend.


  1. I would like to respond to your first question. What are doing? I think that is a fantastic question. What the heck are we doing as a society? I sit and watch the news and see stories of schools being shot up, and I no longer flinch. This isn’t to say that I’m callous and do not feel sadness. It’s just not an unexpected event anymore. There is something very, very wrong with that. I watch documentaries about single mothers struggling to pay the bills, working two minimum wage to support their families. Whatever that means. Minimum wage? The minimum for what? These jobs certainly don’t provide much of an actual life for most. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42.5% of single mothers are living below the poverty line (http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/poverty-rising-among-wisconsin-single-mothers-census-bureau-reports-b99353813z1-275517891.html , 2014).
    I read articles about race relations in our country, and wonder how many more Rodney King beatings, or Sikh Temple Shootings, or Ferguson riots, or Sao Lue Vang beatings there will have to be before we really heal these problems. Our congress is always talking about how to fix the ailments of other nations, like we are some sort of divine savior. Like our answer is the correct one. But we are so sick ourselves. For me, it’s like a lot of my fellow counselors. They want to try to “fix” others. But, if you look beneath the surface of these therapists just a little bit, you can see their sickness, too. It’s so much more difficult (and uncomfortable) to examine one’s own woes. I think that’s what is going on with our country.

    I hope this response to does not come across as too virulent. It’s just that I’m profoundly frustrated.

    I’m not going to pretend to have “the answer” to all of our country’s many many problems. But we can do a lot to help those around us in our own community. I do know this: You are right, it takes a village to raise a child. We need to have better social networks that can facilitate mentoring for our children.

    School intervention and community outreach are very crucial (more help in these areas could have helped prevent this occurrence from taking place). I worked at an at-risk youth school (if you ask me, every youth is “at-risk”). Anyway, I worked with a lot of kids who were labeled as “bad” or “naughty.” This always upset me. For the most part, these kids were simply lacking in guidance due to absentee parents and circumstances of poverty. A lot of them were victims of bullying. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t want to take the time to be there for these children. So they are just shuffled off to places like the school I taught in. You’d be surprised to find out how much you can help kid by just listening to them. I don’t believe children are born “bad.” They are just playing the cards they are dealt. This does not exonerate all youth from their bad decisions, but I think that we as a community are equally culpable when we shuffle these children (who did not chose to be born) off to the side.

    One final thought… This stuff on Facebook needs to stop. I don’t know how many times I would have students be fighting at school because of something that happened on Facebook. Parents, please monitor your children’s social media accounts. Kids are creating permanent solutions for temporary problems because of cyber bullying or battling posts.

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  3. It's Very Upsetting To See How Things Are Unfolding. There Are Many Many Factors That Play Into How Everything Occurs Just As You've Written. Sadly These Factors Are Not Being Addressed And Things Are Just Continuing To Move Forward As If None Of It Matters.

    As You Said With The Right Resources, Major Impacts Could Occur And Stop Incidents Like This From Happening. While Agreeing With You, I Believe There Are Great Systems In Place Already, Sadly, They're Not Being Utilized To The Extent To Which They Were Meant To. For Example, A Great Organization Like Boy/Girl Scouts Was Set Up To Help Young Children Develop For The Better. As We Dawned On The Age Of Technology I Noticed (I May Be Wrong) A Decrease In Children Who Are Involved In This Organization. I Cannot Say Whether It's Because Parents Are Not Actively Encouraging Their Children To Join Or If The Children Are Just Not Interested Anymore. Another Great Example Would Be Places Such As The Boys And Girls Club. Places Like The Boys And Girls Club Are Meant To Help And Provide Children's And Teens With A Positive Environment But Again I Feel Places Like This Are Being Utilized Less And Less As The Years Go By.

    The Race Card... Ultimately I Believe That The Reason It Doesn't Have Much Of An Effect Anymore Is Being It's Been Overused. It's Fine If You Disagree With This Statement But The Reason I Say This Is Because No Matter What Happens Whether It's Crimes Or Just Even The Way An Individual Is Approached Or Talked To, The Race Card Gets Throw Out So Easily. The Worse Part Is That Now It's Been Universally Accepted That When Someone Throws It Out They Will Push Until They Get What They Want Or Drag Little Issue's Further Than It Needs To Go And The Next Thing You Know It Blows Out Of Proportion And Then No One Remembers Why It Got That Far.

    All In All, I Truly Believe That Things Can Get Better. The Question Isn't How But When.

  4. From a FB friend: "I'm not condoning what he did, but I don't think he should go to prison. If your friend was being beaten, what would you do? Run away and call the police, or help your friend? A 15 year old kid would say "Help your friend." These "gangs" that these kids are in aren't even real gangs, they're just gang wannabes. If you criminalize a child without understanding who they truly are, then you have failed them. If you throw them away in prison, throw them to the state without giving them another chance, then you have failed them. He is a child, not an adult, he is not done growing yet and he can still choose who he wants to become. But if we make that choice for him, then we have failed him. I know where this kid is right now, I've been there before. He is in a place where nobody believes in him, where everybody thinks he's worthless and just a criminal, where he is nothing more than a ward of the state. Not many people come out of those situations and become more than what people label them. Because they believe what society tells them, that they're a worthless criminal. And in the end you become who you believe you are."

  5. Sorry if I'm late on this, but when is the court date?or is it already over and just waiting on sentencing?

    1. A preliminary hearing in Yang's case is set for March 12. The hearing is at 8:30 am in Branch 1 Courtroom, room C230.


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