Thursday, February 27, 2003

Sadly, another example of zero tolerance. An 8 year old interrogated & arrested for a lunchtime game of 'cops & robbers'.
I am not a parent but I can understand in a limited way what the child's father must have felt as his son was arrested. I can understand why the suit is being filed & why the parents are upset that this would happen to their son. I cannot understand why an officer of the state was able to take away his son though. I'm not questioning the legality of arresting an 8 year old for playing 'cops & robbers': but how can an officer with a broken arm & a dislocated hip arrest an 8 year old by himself?

Badge or no badge my intitial reaction would not have been nearly as calm as Mr. Alston's was. & consequences be damned if I would let the state take away my child because he played a game in which no one was or could be hurt. What is suprising about all this is not the charge, nor the age of the defendant:as we've become too accustomed to PC laws & zero tolerance to be shocked by it anymore. What is suprising is that a parent would be intimidated into letting his child be taken.

I am not faulting Mr. Alston for what he did or didn't do. Respect for the law as personified in a police officer is something that has been ingrained in most of us from an early age, as has faith in the courts to sort everything out. But lawsuits & monetary awards cannot repair emotional damage. Prevention is worth more than any settlement could hope to offer. It is partially our own fault for standing by while things like this occur. It's partially the fault of legislators & bureaucrats who pass these asinine laws & regulations in the first place. But let's not forget that it is also the fault of the LEO's for enforcing such laws.

"An attack on the Kings' soldiers is an attack on the King". Funny how some ideas die hard. Had Mr. Alston forcibly resisted his 8 year old son being taken away he would have faced charges. His legal troubles would be immense. But if I were a parent then those would be troubles I'd get into willing if it meant protecting my child. Now if my hypothetical child would have been throwing rocks at cars or taking a kids' lunch money, then perhaps I could see some justification in his being detained temporarily as a scare tactic to induce future good behavior. But over a game of cops & robbers played with paper cut in L shapes???

Perhaps I'm wrong. If any parents out there feel this is an over reaction & that Mr. Alston did the right thing feel free to write & correct me.

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