Little “Daniel” was eleven years old when he wondered into the thick brush near his home. Among the unkempt shrubs and trees, he found a discarded .22 caliber pistol. To his delight, after several tries, the gun discharged so he shot it several times into the air. One of the bullets found and killed “Mr. Bean” who was an innocent twenty-one year old walking down the street.
The Michigan courts decided after reviewing the background of “Daniel” that he was unsupervised and unaccounted for, especially since his mother was away from home at her job. Uncles and other relatives were asked to attend him, so sometimes they did, and other times, they didn’t.
Since no one cared, he was tried as an adult, found guilty, and sentenced to ten years in “kid” jail. When he was twenty-one, he was released. To the delight of the press, they photographed him as he walked away, wearing a fake-fur coat, a “zoot-suit,” a “pimp hat,” and red shoes someone had purchased for him.
Howls went up when it was suggested that the Governor had arranged for a job. “Why should this jail-bird get work when my kid can’t find a job?” The job vanished along with the apartment that he had been promised, and the educational spot that was arranged also went away.
Some months later after several minor offenses, he was stopped again by local authorities, and they found 232 “ecstasy” pills in his possession. He was charged with another crime of intending to sell drugs. Wonder where he got 232 pills from? Probably from the same person who bought those clothes and those red shoes.
Anyway, rather than go through another court case, this 22 year old shocked the court by telling his attorney that he was pleading guilty. He was sentenced to 4 years in an adult jail, and that was that. He will come back to us again in 2012, and I wonder how old will he be then?
Daniel was eleven when this terrible tragedy happened to him and to the young man who he shot. He was twenty-one when released, going on thirteen, and will be twenty-six when he is released again in 2012, going on fourteen. How could mothers and fathers let this happen? Oh well, just another “Bronx tail” about the death of youth.
(Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons)