Saturday, May 27, 2006

Crime and Consequences: Another Sad Story

This just makes me sad.

Two students have been charged with giving a high school's employees marijuana-spiked muffins in a senior prank that sent 18 people to the hospital and triggered an FBI and terrorism investigation.

"I had no idea of the scope of my actions," Ian Walker, 18, said Friday, a day after he and friend Joseph Tellini surrendered to police. They could receive 10 years in prison or more if convicted of felony charges.

When Lake Highlands High School employees ate the muffins, they began complaining of nausea, lightheadedness and headaches. Most of those sickened were quickly treated and released, but Rita Greenfield, an 86-year-old receptionist, spent two days in the hospital.

Walker, an honors student at a nearby Catholic school, and Tellini, 18, were each charged with five felony counts of assault on a public servant, each of which carries penalties of two to 10 years in prison.

"It was juvenile and stupid, and believe it or not, I thought I was only participating in a senior prank," Walker said.

This quote is from FoxNews. The entire story can be accessed here.

Why am I sad? Because I think these boys are going to go away for a long, long time, and I just don't feel in my gut that they are evil people. I think they behaved badly and foolishly, but I don't think they are evil.

Violent crime is different. Even two year olds feel empathy and will try to comfort someone who is crying or hurt by patting them. The behavior is not consistent, but by the time children are big enough to do actual harm to another, they usually know that if someone is crying or screaming in pain, something is wrong, and if they have inadvertently caused that pain, that they should apologize and try to rectify the situation. I don't get how anyone can find pleasure in beating, raping, or killing another human being. You know what? I don't want to get it either.

These boys did cause harm to others for whom we certainly hurt. They obtained illegal substances, no less, to do it. They should have known better. But I believe them. I think they really did not understand the scope of their actions and that they really thought it was just a silly prank. They didn't think it through, and now their behaviors have led to far-reaching consequences over which they have no control, and their lives are in ruin. What a waste.

I hope that other young people hearing this story (okay, all of us) will make a mental note to think through their actions before committing them, concentrating on all the possible ramifications, because we really don't want to see more lives destroyed before they've even begun.

Related post: "Life Lessons from the Holt Affair" (my very first one!)


At 5/28/2006 7:42 PM, Anonymous Kilroy Was Here said...

"Why am I sad? Because I think these boys are going to go away for a long, long time, and I just don't feel in my gut that they are evil people. I think they behaved badly and foolishly, but I don't think they are evil."

Pretty dumb what they did! No they are not evil however, The should get some jail time at least 6 months and 3 years probation.

At 5/28/2006 10:08 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Yeah, pretty dumb! I know they have to go to jail, but our prisons really concern me. I think there should be separate prisons for violent versus non-violent criminals. I don't have it all worked out in my mind, but people have gone into prison for non-violent crime and been destroyed by the violent criminals. They can come out HIV +. There is something wrong with going to jail for a theft (w/o violence or threat of violence) or drug possession and end up with a death sentence bec there was no protection from prison rape. The system is broken and I don't know how to fix it. Whenever possible, I would like to see a system that supports restitution. That can be achieved many times for non-violent crimes. Violent ones, I don't know how restitution could be made; those probably do need jail time.

At 5/29/2006 7:02 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

In lieu of my comments, I'll just quote Stand To Reason founder Greg Koukl:

"We're essentially teaching our children that they need not be accountable to anyone. Why are we surprised when they're not accountable to anyone?"


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