Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weasel of the Week: "John Doe"

On March 14, a 16 year old boy somehow was able to get on the public address system at a Walmart store in New Jersey, and announced that all African-American customers had to leave. It took police 5 days to finally arrest the kid, charging him with harassment and bias intimidation, then released him into the custody of his parents. Citing his juvenile status, the kid's identity is being kept confidential.

And that is a mistake that only compounds the situation.

Let's assume that whomever was in charge of the PA was called away for a moment or three. That would be long enough for our "John Doe" to get to the PA and make his announcement. What likely led to his arrest was a brazen, arrogant error of judgment on the part of "Doe" by returning to the scene of the crime. Walmart employees probably recognized him, called the cops, and he was picked up.

Realistically, I can't see him hiding behind juvenile laws here. This was a far more serious offense than just tagging a store wall with graffiti or vandalizing the local Salvation Army, for example. This brat is adversely affecting the lives of a number of innocent people with his asinine, immature antics. I say, he has to be tried as an adult, so that he learns first hand the severity of his actions. Who's to say he didn't spend the last 5 days bragging about his little stunt to pals at school? What if that was what got him busted?

If they want to keep this kid's name out of the papers, there's only one realistic solution here, and that is to immediately assign him to a sensitivity training course, especially if there's one available at his school. If he completes the course, he can have this expunged from his permanent record, but that doesn't guarantee he'll have completely learned his lesson. Who's to say he doesn't do something this stupid again? One thing's certain, and it's the weasel ears this punk will wear as a result of his fool's folly.

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