Monday, March 31, 2008

The Little Squirt's Big Shot


Many years ago I had a friend named Maynard who had a criminal mind. It wasn’t so much that he practiced any criminal activities, he just thought like a criminal. He would point out all sorts of criminal opportunities, like this or that would be so easy to abscond with, or here’s a great confidence scheme that would hood-wink people.

Though he would have made a world class criminal, the only criminal activity I ever knew him to be involved in was when he was a child growing in a Federal Housing Project in Upstate New York. He was poor and grew up in a large family. His father and older brothers hunted and fished to put food on the table. He wanted to grow up and be in the hunting party, so at a young age his parents bought him a BB gun.

Now when a kid has a gun, he or she has to shoot it. Remember that parents, you don’t give a kid a gun and expect them to just look at it and use it only at appropriate times. Maynard took his BB gun onto his porch one day and started shooting. He enjoyed the sound of the BB plunking its target. The ringing sound was especially good when a BB hit a window. He was sure it was a sound only because he couldn’t see that any windows were cracking while being shot.

After about a half hour of this joyful sound, the police showed up and pointed out to him and his mother, who was unaware of what was going on that the sound of the BBs hitting the window was actually the sound of a small circle of glass being popped out the back side.

There were close to a hundred windows in the housing project that were pocked like the photo above on that morning. I don’t recall what his punishment was, but it was a lesson he never forgot or repeated. This all happened about 50 years ago. Think of what would happen to not only the kid, but to his parents if that happened today.
The kid would be taken out to the kid jail in Warrenton and the parents would loose custody. It's sad that the judicial process has totally lost touch with the reality that sometimes people make unintentional mistakes, and there should be a financial payback for unintentional wrongs, but there should also be forgiveness.

11 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

The world has gone crazy. My son's six year old god-son was sent to the office for kissing a little girl. I don't think he was suspended for his "inappropriate" behaviour but other children have been.
An "I'm sorry" would have been sufficient.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

You obviously know nothing about the juvenile process in the here and now.
A kid who vandalized windows would probably be called into the juvenile department, it would handled as an informal probation and it is very unlikely CSD would even get involved.
Come down and actually watch juvenile court.

7:32 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Jim, the fact that the Juvenile Justice system would be involved at all is the problem I see. Kids have always done dopey things, but now the State becomes far too involved. Events like this do come before CSD for evaluation of the fitness of the parents. Though the outcome would be different if this happened to a community leader as opposed to someone who is on TANF. Sometimes good reasoning and informal restitution can have far better outcomes than an early entry into the justice system, even if it is informal probation. Probation is still probation and is more of a retaliatory punishment rather than understanding and forgiveness, good judgment and reasoning without state involvement.

Beth, right on.

8:01 AM  
Blogger weese said...

I coulnd't agree more. The state is WAAYY to involved. We need to be able to raise our kids - ourselves.
with all the good, bad and ugly that comes from that.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep...if I was growing up now, I would most definitely be in the Crowbar Hotel. The plan was good...sneak into school after hours, cut the thermostat wires end result being some time off from school. Rats did us in and the getaway wasn't all that well thought out. Lesson learned...when making a getaway, don't take the train. They just wait for you at the next stop. Bastards.

But come to think of it, the suspension from school wasn't all that bad.

Moose

12:54 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Here the kid would likely be turned over to his parents, at least in most cases, depending on the parents' track record. Seems that having Dad or Mom po'd is still a threat to most locl kids.

1:28 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

On further thought, "Jim" I've been reflecting on many of the screwed up justice system mistakes in this county where child abusers are punished by having to go to counseling and then will have their records expunged by way of a nifty plea bargain with the DA, yet other parents who go through all the proper steps to report an injury to a foster child are charged with child abuse and can't afford to fight the local DA and just roll over, lose the child and have a felony record and have to go to the Josh half way house. Do you want names and cases. I am actually well versed with the system here and I really believe it is the DA who should have been recalled in this county.

It's funny how you choose the same words that another local blogger chose when I wrote about the DA two years ago. I know you will probably be too busy to reply to this since as everyone knows you are really busy since "You've Got Typing" to do, and finger exercises.

Moose and Mike, my favorite reprobates. I bet Weese has raised some hell as well.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Actually ... I think some of how the kids are punished (by the courts) depends on the victim. When I was working at a local plant, some kids shot the windows (yep, with bb guns). When the police caught the kids, they asked the plant owner what he wanted. Whether he wanted to press charges or not. The owner told them if the damage was repaired, he wouldn't press charges.

Though judging from how I overheard the parents talking to the kids, I'm sure they got more punishment than the court system could dish out.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, our children have been taught to never, ever, talk to any stranger (especially police) without a relative being present. With the foggy climate of this county in the last decade of "law" enforcement I wouldn't trust my child's well being to any of the local institutions. And that's plain sad.
"Jim" keep typing, you really need the exercise. Chin lifts would help the wattle, too.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous denise said...

I have to say I agree with you. The justice system here and everywhere where children are involved is scary, whats really scary is they think they need it. I would much rather discipline my children then leave it to the hands of law enforcement.

7:07 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Denise, I bet your kids are staying off the roof now.

7:54 AM  

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