Kids, Parents, and the Law

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Hello!  This is the first of what I hope to be many pages that express exactly how I feel about various topics.  Not to put too fine a point on it, this particular page IS more of a rant than an opinion.

I know that as a child, people from my parents generation worried about what would become of our country when the kids grew up.  Also that the kids of this generation are the worst kids ever!  As I grew older, I found out that people of my grandparents generation felt the same about my parents generation.  Well, now that I consider myself an adult (I'm 36yrs. old bah!) I tend to feel the same way about the youth of this generation.

I am not so much talking about morals (though they do play a part).  I'm talking about lack of Respect!  Respect for the law, their elders, and for themselves!  And in my view the responsibility for this decided lack of respect falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents.  Not society!  Not the government!  Not the school system, but the parents!

When I go to my favorite pizza place (Round Table Pizza, is there any better?) for lunch and I see 2-3 women with their children and the kids treat the restaurant like their personal playground, how should I feel?  I understand that children get excited and tend to get loud when having fun.  However, a restaurant is a public place, and a certain amount of decorum is expected.  And the mothers in this situation, by not calming their kids down, restraining them from running around etc... are actually teaching the kids that this is acceptable behavior!

Sure, while I was growing up my parents believed that "children should be seen but not heard."  And today more "enlightened" parents feel that children need to be able to "express" themselves.  But this is going off the deep end!  Kids MUST be taught that there is a time and a place for loud, noisy fun.  And that public places such as restaurants are neither the time nor the place!

I hear all the time that this bill or that law should be passed to protect our children.  Why should the government be responsible for the care and feeding of our kids?

Here's an example...

I read a few years ago in the USA Today about the following...
Two young boys (I think 10-12yrs old) saw a man get out of a pickup and go into a store. There was a rifle in a gun rack in the pickup.  The pickup was not locked.  The kids were skipping school and they stole the rifle.  Some hours later one child accidentally shot and killed the other.  This incident occurred in the state of Montana.

The article talked about gun control, how the parents were thinking of suing (surprise, surprise) the owner of the rifle, and whether or not criminal charges should be filed against the owner of the rifle.

The article did NOT talk about the fact that kids were not in school when they should have been, or the fact that they committed a crime when they took the rifle, or about the fact that one child whether by accident or not committed a criminal act by killing the other.

In my opinion the slant of this article expresses what is wrong today!  Instead of looking to the parents to find out why the kids were not in school, why kids that young would feel comfortable enough to steal a rifle from a pickup, and why the kids would be stupid or ignorant enough to play with a loaded rifle, this article choose to focus on the possible irresponsibility of the rifle owner.

As one who travels all over the country (I'm a truck driver), I've noticed that it is very common in that part of the country for vehicles to have loaded rifles in them.  Also I believe that gun ownership, in general, is the norm in that part of the country as well.  If the parents had done a better job of teaching their kids about guns, as well as doing a better job of teaching them not to steal from others, this might not have happened!  Or, how about making sure their kids go to school like they should? But no, let's just beat up the poor guy that had a (legally) loaded rifle in his pickup and who chose not to lock it (not legally required) when he went into a store.

By the way, my parents were/are against guns, but both my brother as well as myself were taught NEVER to point a gun at anyone unless we planned to shoot them!  Simply because it might be loaded and go off and kill someone.

Here's another example...
This happened some 10 odd years ago in Gresham, Or.  A single mother was cleaning a vacant house.  She had her young (3-5yr old) daughter with her.  Without her knowledge the child left the house.  The child went next door, through the front yard, opened a closed gate into the back yard of a house where the owner was not home.   The child wanted to play (assumed by others) with the dog that was chained to a doghouse.  The dog happened to be a Pit Bull terrier. It had never bitten anyone before (according to the Multnomah county animal control).  The owner did have the dog chained to a doghouse.  The dog could not reach the fence.  The only gate was at the side of the house so the child had to go through the front yard to reach the closed gate.

The child was found dead by the mother about one hour later lying close to the dog.  There were no witnesses.

Since this happened so close to home (I was living in Portland at the time) I followed this rather closely.  The dog did indeed attack and kill the child.  The animal control insisted on, and eventually did put the dog to death (even though the dog was not a known biter).

All the news articles in the local paper focused only on the facts that the gate was not locked, that the child was too young to read the beware of dog sign posted by the gate, and whether or not criminal and/or civil action should be brought against the owner of the dog.

At no time did ANYONE point out the mother's accountability in this case!  The fact is that the child wandered off and was missing about an hour before the mother even noticed the child was gone!

Once again, here is an incident where the parent fails to adequately safeguard her child!  Not only (in my opinion) should criminal charges be filed against the mother (they weren't), but the owner of the dog should have filed a civil action against the mother (he didn't)!  As far as I'm concerned the mother does NOT deserve any compassion for the death of her child! She was DIRECTLY responsible for the child's death!

Why is it so common for us to place blame where it doesn't belong?  Have we gone so far down the toilet as a people that we can not see the tremendous damage we are doing to our children by not properly teaching and protecting them?

I'll leave the whole gun control issue for a later page.  I could go on and on with other examples of where parents don't do a proper job of raising/teaching their kids.  Or how the public wants/expects both the schools and the government to do the job for them.  The fact is simple! Parents MUST take responsibility for properly raising their children!  It is their responsibility alone.  If they do not want the job, or can not do the job properly, they shouldn't have kids.  No one said it was easy but our children are too precious. 

Perhaps instead of telling schools to teach the kids for the parents, maybe the schools should teach the parents how to be better parents. Or, how about laws to punish parents for being bad parents?


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Last Revised: 12/25/2000
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