Why weren’t the parents punished?

I saw a tv show last night (a rerun) about the Jonesboro, AR school shooting in which 5 people died and 10 others were wounded, a few years ago. During the program, it was mentioned that both boys had troubled childhoods, and there were lots of warning signs that were ignored. That may be easy to say in hindsight, but listen to these instances:

Mitchell Johnson had been accused of sexually molesting a 2-yr-old girl a year before the shootings. He had been repeatedly reported missing by his mother as early as 8 years of age. In most states, a child missing this often constitutes child neglect. He professed to be a member of the Bloods, and frequently talked about killing people. He vowed to commit suicide after a girl he had a crush on rebuffed him, and he showed a friend the gun and rope he planned to use to do it. (Too bad the friend talked him out of it.)

Andrew Golden was reported by his school mates as having killed dogs routinely with his .22. He carried a knife, wore camouflage and fatigues, used filthy language, and was a bully who was quick to pick fights. He reportedly killed a neighbor’s cat with a bb gun; the cat was found in the garbage.

I don’t know about you, but THIS IS HOW I SEE IT: Parents are responsible for their children until their children are no longer minors. Not just because they have to take care of them, because they can’t take care of themselves, but legally. If your child breaks a window, or causes other damage, you have to pay for it. But parents are not being held responsible. There is a legal responsibility here that parents bear that is not being enforced in these cases where children commit these heinous crimes.

In other instances where children have killed, no mention was ever made of parent responsibility or criminal liability. I remember a young black boy who beat a 5-year-old girl (I think she was about that age) to death WHILE HIS MOTHER, WHO WAS BABYSITTING THE GIRL, SLEPT UPSTAIRS. She should have been prosecuted for 2nd degree murder, or at least manslaughter, because she had assumed responsibility for the girl’s welfare when she agreed to babysit her. I’m sure there are many other cases I could dig up.

I truly believe that if parents were held liable for more of their children’s actions, they’d be better parents, or at least some of them would and that would be something.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this.


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