First, the cowardly story:
This week, a tragic murder case is being tried in California. Two young boys’ lives are ruined, both the victim’s and the defendant’s. It’s a long story, so let me try to shorten it for you:
The victim was a flamboyantly-gay 15-year-old who came to school day after day dressed in makeup and high heels and taunted the then-14-year-old heterosexual defendant, saying things like, “I know you want me!” and “Love you, baby!” even following the defendant into the restroom on occasion to continue the taunts while the defendant attempted to relieve himself.
Now, please don’t mistake me here. Taunts don’t justify murder. There’s no question about that.
Continuing on…The defendant told a teacher about the victim’s taunts and confessed that he (the defendant) wanted to beat the victim up. The teacher advised the defendant against fighting and reportedly told the school’s assistant principal that the victim’s behavior needed to be addressed. The assistant principal reportedly responded that the victim’s behavior was immune to any intervention by school personnel because the victim had the right to freedom of expression.
The taunts continued. Unbeknownst to anyone outside of the defendant’s family, until recently, the defendant reportedly had been sexually abused as a young child by an older male cousin and was extremely sensitive to any suggestion that he might want to have sexual contact with another male ever again. One day, the defendant came to school, sat down behind the victim in a classroom, pulled out a gun, and shot the victim in the head.
Now again, please don’t mistake me here. As you know, I very rarely buy that a defendant’s not legally responsible for a crime because of prior trauma, and nothing’s changed. Do I think that a 14-year-old defendant can know what he’s doing and that it’s wrong? Sure. Did this defendant know what he was doing and that it was wrong? I don’t know, but I’d say probably. The trial will sort that out.
Continuing on…My point here is that the assistant principal apparently had an opportunity to avert a murder and didn’t. The victim’s behavior was by no means a justification for murder, but it was sexual harassment, and that shouldn’t have been tolerated regardless of the victim’s gender or sexual orientation. Apparently this assistant principal did tolerate it, fearing that she’d be criticized for somehow being “anti-gay” had she taken action.
If that’s how it went down, then the assistant principal is a coward who’s unfit to be entrusted with the welfare of children. Once more, no one is responsible for pulling the trigger but the person who pulled it, however, had the assistant principal done her duty and looked out for the rights of both students to receive harassment-free educations, we might not have two ruined lives and two grieving families today.
Next, the ironic story:
A couple of weeks ago, a depraved, sadistic, humanoid monster broke into the home of a wealthy Australian businessman. The businessman wasn’t at home at the time, but his teenage daughter was. The the intruder locked a device around the girl’s neck, telling her that it was a bomb which he could detonate remotely if her father didn’t pay a ransom. He also told her that the device had a microphone and a transmitter through which he’d be able to monitor her conversations and ensure that she called only her father, not police.
She ultimately called police anyway. The bomb squad came, determined that the device was actually harmless, and got it off of the girl. Happy ending for the girl, right? Not so fast. Talk about trauma — just imagine the trauma that she suffered during those hours when she believed that her head might be blown off at any moment! So, a couple of weeks later, the assailant has been taken into custody in…Kentucky. Of course the Australians want him extradited back to Australia immediately to stand trial for this horrific crime, and of course we’ll send him back, as we should.
But, remember last year when we wanted the Australians to extradite an American citizen back to the U.S. to stand trial for killing his newlywed wife, also an American citizen, while they were scuba diving “down under”? The Australians, who had kept the guy locked up for a whopping one year after he admitted (non-pre-meditated) responsibility for the wife’s death, gave us a hard time about getting him back here, insisting we assure them first that he wouldn’t face the death penalty here, because they don’t believe in it over there.
I’ve been to Australia, and I found it to be a beautiful place with great people, but…guess how much time this psychopath who perpetrated the bomb hoax faces in Australia? (This shouldn’t be too tough — keep in mind how long they locked the American guy up, and his victim was dead!) Four years. That’s right, a maximum of four years! I’ve written recently about how the maximum sentence for killing upwards of 80 people in last month’s mass shooting in Norway is 21 years and about how ridiculously cushy Norway’s “prisons” are, but I think maybe even the Norwegians might be tougher on this “collar bomber”!
Now I know I’m always lamenting how we’re not tough enough on criminals here at home, but I think (make that hope) we Americans could agree that this guy needs more than four years. So, how about we tell the Aussies we’ll send him back as long as they assure us that he’ll be locked up for at least 20 years if convicted there, because that’s what we believe in here, hmmmm?
And finally, the uplifting story:
At a celebrity hockey game for charity in Minnesota last week, an 11-year-old boy’s name was drawn to come onto the ice and attempt to shoot a goal from the center of the rink. If he scored, he won $50,000. Unfortunately, the boy wasn’t present…but his identical twin brother was.
So, the brother took to the ice, took the shot, and…scored…$50,000! Not so fast though. The boy’s father made him tell contest organizers that he wasn’t really the one whose name was drawn to take the shot.
No word yet as to whether he’ll be allowed to keep the money, but either way, as often as I point out bad parenting here and on TV, this is the kind of parenting that actually gives me hope for the next generation of Americans!