Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Anxiety of your child's Death

I was watching an episode of Law and Order the other day where they investigated a corpse/murder victim and found that an angst-filled high school bully named John Telford slammed a sickle blade into this kid's neck.

In the high school, most of the students were separated into social groups: geeks, jocks, freaks, and some other generic terms. In order to investigate and frame this boy, they had to interview other kids John has bullied, one in particular who he's repeatedly called a "faggot" and threatened by putting a knife to his neck.

This kind of element in the next generation makes it very difficult for communications between youths. Between everybody. I was thinking that I'd be pretty pissed, to say the least, if that was my son murdered.

The bully had a bunch of weapons in his house, including knives (throwing and combat), nunchucks, a machete, and the sickle. Upon further investigation, it was found that John's father, Robert, bought him the sickle. The boy then used his father's credit card, acknowledged by Robert but not reprimanded, to buy a whole bunch of other weapons. Robert said that he thought John was using them to practice his martial arts, as he used to take classes.

The maliciousness and violence in John's heart also came from his father, as Robert claims to have been teaching and encouraging his son to be this violent so that John would be able to protect himself. He, instead, has turned his son into an up-and-coming serial killer. How any parent, even the chauvinist, thick-headed pig fathers can find this even remotely feasible is beyond me.

The evidence presented in court was not enough to prosecute John with: he cleaned up the crime scene pretty good, there was no blood on the sickle nor on John's clothes or John himself, other victims of John's were too terrified to testify against him. Cleaning up after himself threw the insanity defense out of the window, since he clearly knew he was wrong. Not to mention the fact that when the two detectives investigated his house garage, Robert was reluctant to show them the target dummy and throwing knives John used for practice. However, no dice on throwing John in jail. So, they prosecuted the father, saying that they will imprison him for murder in the first degree for turning his son into a walking killing machine.

Yes, the charge is tenuous, charging someone for their being a malicious and destructive parent (for their character), but I don't think the charge would have stood in (the fictional) court if the connection wasn't direct. I mean, Robert let his teenage son have all of these weapons and encouraged him to fight against people in school. If you were the parent of the dead boy, I'm sure you'd want justice by locking one of these two culprits up. With the fictional jury, the charge worked and the father was arrested. Yes, now parents have to be afraid of being arrested for being bad parents. Perhaps it set a loose and even illogical precedent. But examine the context. Put yourself in the victim's parents' shoes.

The deadly irony is, after an episode like this, one would be terrified of sending their child out into the world......unless they were teaching their child the same things John was being taught. How does anything get solved then? Let me answer that with this: how else is a parent and child to let go of their anxiety otherwise? There's a difference between defense and aggression. It's called wisdom.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesOctober 9, 2008 at 7:03 AM

    That final sentence: so true and so powerful

    A friend of mine's daughter was murdered almost 18 months ago and the killer is still at large. I think that's the only thing worse i can imagine - to know or not know who killed your child, but to know their death has gone unpunished

  2. Oh this post reminds me of this book I'm reading: "We must talk about Kevin" (a book built on several trues stories, about a teenager who kills students in his school). In this book they accuse the mother of the son, because they think she is an unresponsible parent. I don't know what to say about this issue. The parents are probably to blame as well.
    I don't believe that your genes determine who you'll become (just a single bit) and I'm sure that the closest people the child has in his life and then for example parents, are really important when it comes to who he grows up to be.


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