Two interesting stories from the Nutmeg State in the last month or so remind us rather forcefully that not everything is a crime.
First, we have the tragic death of a two-year old, who shot himself with his father’s gun. Both parents have been charged with risk of injury to a minor. Apparently, the gun was left unlocked and loaded in an accessible location. A very stupid move on the parents’ part and they are paying for it dearly. But will criminal charges accomplish anything? It is an accident and should be treated as one, not as a crime.
Some might argue that prosecuting these negligent parents serves as a deterrent to others, but I think the death of the child is deterrence enough. After all, children have died under such tragic circumstances in the past and criminal prosecutions haven’t prevented further tragic deaths.
Even more curious is this arrest today of a mother who left her child alone at home for four hours:
Police said when the boy arrived at his Richard Street home after school on Friday, Binns was not home.
Police said the boy was found playing in a neighbor’s yard and had no idea of how to contact his mother. The phones in the boy’s home were not working, police said, and the boy had not eaten.
State law doesn’t specify at what age a child may or may not be left alone at home.
So now the State is parenting? The mother probably needs a smack upside the head, but a criminal prosecution? That seems to be a bit of overkill in this case. The child is fine. We’re now punishing her for what might have happened, instead of what did.
Sounds an awful lot like the Guv’nor’s approach to criminal justice.
Whether either of these prosecutions goes anywhere remains to be seen. This also highlights the power wielded by prosecutors. They have the power to drop these prosecutions, or press on, a la Raising the Bar, in the face of common sense that advocates some sort of community service or probation.
Since when have kids become so fragile that they can’t be on their own (in a neighbor’s yard no less) for a few hours? Is stranger danger real or a product of a paranoid society?
And how screwed is Catherine O’Hara?