Ponder this:

Friday, August 12, 2011

True [and other] crime

A news story:
A 13-year-old local boy admitted in Family Court on Tuesday that he accidentally shot his friend to death last winter. The boy also said, when questioned by the county judge, that he understood why a loaded handgun is dangerous. The prosecutor said that he, the boy and his attorney, and the boy's parents had reached a plea bargain and the boy would be sentenced to nothing more restrictive than probation. The victim was visiting his friend’s home at the time of the shooting. The boys were alone in the house and found a handgun and ammunition owned by the defendant’s father. They started playing with the gun, loading it and unloading it several times, until it went off, police said. The dead boy's mother said not only is her son dead as a result of the incident, but her father as well. In January he visited his grandson's grave and, disoriented by grief, wandered into a highway and was hit and killed. The father of the defendant faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

I read stories like this and usually stop and think for a few minutes about the sadness of it all. Maybe I mutter to myself a little bit about the parents' lack of foresight and how so many lives are ruined now. But I don't think about how the ripples from the act of a single moment spread to change circumstances so far beyond the original event. 
Think about the defendant's parents as they move through the local store on a regular grocery shopping trip. 
The boy will get probation, so he's lucky. But he'll be in school. He'll be the kid who killed his friend. For the rest of his life, no matter if he moves away, no matter if people around him know it or not.
Think about the truck driver who killed the grandfather. Is that guy having nightmares? Did the accident impact his employment? ...his marriage?
I recently read two novels, in the space of two or three days, that gripped and froze me in the experience of being close to tragic crimes. I recommend both of these, but include this caveat: have a happy book in reserve to follow!

Cage of Stars


Jinksy said...

Couldn't hep noticing the word 'Aftermath' I used it HERE as well...

Wanda..... said...

Curious young boys can cause so much unmeant harm to themselves and others. Too many sad stories like this. Guns go off too easy, they should be like my candle lighters, which are hard for me to make work. There's an extra spot to hold down, as one pulls the trigger for the flame, why not on guns for accident prevention, something above and beyond a safety lock.

Mitchard's 'The Deep End of the Ocean' was a tragic read also...will put both of these on my list to read, June.

Friko said...

Guns and ammunition easily available in a household will always ensure that lives will be destroyed.

I have never understood why that still causes so much wonder and concern. Knives are bad enough, but guns . . . ?

Olga said...

I am so not in the mood for sad books right now, but I am sure I will get to Mitchard's book eventually.

Carolynn Anctil said...

Everything we do or say has consequences and affects others. I'm reading a book with a similar theme, right now, called "When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakeable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances" by Carol J. Kent. It's a true story account of her experience after her son committed murder.

Suze said...

How to make sense of it all ?

English Rider said...

A friend of mine had a qualified gun safety instructor give a series of lessons to her family. She has two sons and wanted to prevent this kind of tragedy, in case they were ever in a situation like this with a gun found at a friends house. I would never have thought of that myself but I think her reasoning is sound.