Thursday, April 3, 2008
At age 12, if I heard my mother scream and found someone strangling her on the kitchen floor, my instinct (as far as I know) would have been to grab a knife or blunt object and do serious damage to that person.
I do not understand why authorities in Hyattsville, Maryland, are considering pressing charges against the child who did just that.
I am staunchly opposed to the death penalty and do believe that this woman's attacker had a right to a trial or, more appropriately, to have been confined and treated in a psychiatric facility. Ideally, he would have simply been disabled until police arrived. But it would never, ever occur to me that any child warding off a parent's attacker would or should face criminal charges.
What does occur to me is that if the incident had occurred in an expensive house in a ritzy neighborhood, rather than in a boarding house where a woman struggled to support herself and her child on "widow's benefits," the boy would be cast as a hero with few questions asked. I really hope that I am drawing the wrong conclusion here.