Flutterby™! : You'll shoot yer eye out...

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You'll shoot yer eye out...

2002-05-15 16:00:21+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Diane says she's got something to say about: 13 year old boy faces 8 years in detention for spitwad firing. Take it away in the comments...

[ related topics: Children and growing up Law Law Enforcement ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-16 10:03:55+00 by: Larry Burton

I'm not sure when it started or exactly why but the old idea of kids being coddled by juvenile courts went away a while back. A kid will be prosecuted for assault for shoving another kid or any exhibition of violence whatsoever. Yeah, the punishment end of it may still be living up to its reputation but prosecution for even the mildest forms of horseplay are not uncommon, at least not in Hamilton County and, from what I'm seeing elsewhere, as well.

It seems that the idea is to make all forms of violence unacceptable to the population, even mild forms of horseplay. I don't think I like this idea because I do believe a violent response can, under the right circumstances, be appropriate and I think that the possibility of a violent response makes for a politer society.

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 02:25:01+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"possibility of a violent response makes for a politer society" - The nicest and most polite people I have every met are at gun shows. - When out in the woods, and carrying openly, others I meet (also doing the same) are extremely polite... In fact, the loudest rudest and most offensive people I can think of, are all pacifists. The ever so litigous Frank Cowen especially.

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 04:21:55+00 by: Diane Reese

OK, so I was going to comment on this a few days ago before life so rudely intervened. So let's try something different. My concerns aren't about "violent response" (how one gets from shooting spitwads to carrying openly is quite a leap -- the kid was not making a statement about polite society or armed response or anything of the kind: he was a stupid kid playing around). My concerns are over how this kind of incident gets escalated far out of anything resembling proportion, and what that says about the sorry state of adults these days.

This is a kid who did something pretty stupid. A reckless, impulsive kid (I have one with ADHD myself, I know all too well what that's like). Maybe even a jerk sometimes. But he was shooting a flipping spitwad, fer crissakes. If I were his mother, I'd probably spank him good and hard (I save that for the Really Big Misdemeanors: we've probably spanked Kid 1 a total of once in his 15 years and Kid 2 three times in 12.5 years), make him give public and/or written apologies to the kid he hurt and the people he troubled, and find some way to perform service of some kind to the injured kid's family to work off any medical costs. The people I fault in all of this are the injured kid's parents.

What utter assholes: bringing a lawsuit against a 13-year-old kid with ADHD who's had several heart surgeries, because he caused a playground accident?! What the hell were they thinking?! Are they thrilled and proud to have caused a dangerous pre-adolescent perpetrator of criminal acts to be removed from the streets for eight long years? Boy, that will really help society. That will make a major improvement in the lives of the students at that school and the good people of Walnut Creek. They are heroes, all right. Real Fine Upstanding Citizens. Ptui.

People like them deserve my contempt, and I question whether they are entitled to be considered humans. They have no milk of human kindness nor charity, no sense of what it means to live and learn, no constructive or progressive thoughts, just me mine gimme screw-you. I hope this incident resolves to something that can be worked out, so the Perp can learn from and be humbled by his mistakes, and the human race can become better as a result. But I suspect it won't. Some people are just so petty, and selfish, and just damned idiots. I am not free to say what would be going through my head if it were my son being charged: I fear that speech is not as free as it should be, and my thoughts are ugly ones.

There now, did I have something to say?

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 16:22:27+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm of mixed minds on this, and I think it comes from my dissatisfaction with the "justice" system in general. One the one hand yes, the punishment in no way will rectify the situation, and the boy largely was just being who he is. On the other hand, I remember being the runt of grade school, being the target for regular beatings, and seeing that the perpetrators rarely suffered any consequences. It's a wonder I'm not more misanthropic than I am.

So let's take the other tack: We have this bully who hollers "Raiders, huh huh huh!", and when another kid shrugs his shoulders and walks away, the bully attacks, causing injuries which require surgery. Then his parents say "boys will be boys" and "he has a weak heart". The only thing we haven't heard from them is "that sports-hating milquetoast had it coming."

I'm fairly sure any time in juvie is going to make the problem worse, make the 13 year old more likely to reoffend. So that's obviously not the solution. But neither can I say, like the father, "Things just went too far, kids cannot be kids anymore."

Obviously I don't have an answer, but I think I'm a little less likely to go easy than most people.

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 18:19:09+00 by: Diane Reese

Trust me on this one: kids cannot be kids anymore. It's impossible. The set of rules they're expected to live by at an early age is quite absurd.

Whether this kid was a bully or not isn't clear. He wasn't in previous trouble. He appears to have been doing this to impress his older brother and friends. The fact that I have a kid whom I could imagine, under unique circumstances, doing something similar makes me feel this one all too keenly. I can see a trajectory on which my younger son could become a kid whose stupid mistake turns into an excuse for the "justice" system to overreact. It seriously frightens me.

Listen. I was the runt in school too, except I was abused verbally, not physically. That was no better, and no one ever got punished, so I know exactly what that feels like. And it doesn't sound to me as if you're "less likely to go easy than most people" -- the sentence has already been pronounced, after all. Punishment for the offender is good. 8 years in juvenile hall is not. Teach him something, don't turn him into a lost cause.

Mother Trying Hard With Challenging Son, over and out.

#Comment made: 2002-05-22 19:03:53+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, no, the sentence hasn't been pronounced. That was the maximum sentence that could happen, as I read the story that's the number the parents were waving around for shock value, the sentencing hearing isn't 'til June 6th and at that point the kid might avoid any time at all.

Of course I think he ought to avoid any time at all, because incarceration won't do anything to heal the victim's eye, will probably make the aggressor more likely to reoffend, and won't dissuade that activity in the larger population. I guess my point is that I'm not happy with the prospect of eight years either, I doubt anything the "justice" system hands down will be helpful, and heck, if someone had zigged rather than zagged it might have been me facing such a thing, I was partially responsible for at least one broken finger in high school, but I'm a little annoyed that the original incident is being excused as "boys will be boys".

#Comment made: 2002-06-07 21:00:00+00 by: Dan Lyke

The sentencing has been held, the perpetrator got three weekends in juvenile hall and "strict court supervision".

#Comment made: 2002-06-07 22:13:49+00 by: Diane Reese

And given some of the neighborly reports of previous mayhem, the final sentence seems reasonable to me.

#Comment made: 2002-06-10 18:59:26+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah. The other alternative I might have liked to have seen would be community service of some sort, but I don't know if policing kids like this in that capacity would actually help anyone.