Little Criminals

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One day in Fresno, California, 8-year-old Elijah Vang nailed 11-year-old Maribel Cuevas in the head with a water balloon, and called her names. Pissed, Cuevas picked up a rock and hucked it in Vang's direction, 25-30 feet away*. It hit him in the head, opening up an impressive-looking though hardly life-threatening gash. And now, the rest of the story:

In April, police arrested the Fresno girl on suspicion of felony assault after Elijah Vang was hit with a rock. She spent five days in Juvenile Hall, then was placed under house arrest and forced to wear a monitoring anklet for 30 days. She is expected to stand trial in Juvenile Court today**. If the allegation is found true, the fourth-grader could spend the next four years incarcerated.

Looking back through 20 years of tough-on-crime hysteria, I have little doubt that my childhood was nothing more than a string of unspeakable felonies.

* So says her family.

** UPDATE: Thanks to bully-vanquishing commenter Jennifer, we learn that the trial has now been scrapped. The two pre-teens will now go to "mediation."

NEXT: When Lemonade Is Illegal...

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  1. Children must be sacrificed to the almighty Prison-Industrial Complex.

  2. Truly civilized societies recognize that there are serious differences between children and adults. We do not.

  3. Does anybody think that this girl will become a law-abiding adult if she’s incarcerated from age 11 to 15? Does anybody think she’ll do well in school?

  4. There are too many words in your question, Thoreau. It should read simply; Does anybody think? And the answer is no.

  5. Truly civilized societies recognize that there are serious differences between children and adults.

    Looking into my oh-so-fallible crystal ball (I’m still recalibrating it to account for the cosmic harmonies of the 10th planet), I predict that some people on this forum will take issue with you. Or that they would in a different context.

  6. Do the law enforcement, etc. officials involved in this matter have no sense of shame? Crap, send the kid to counseling. But please, a trial?

  7. Thank God for the jury system.

  8. Looking back through 20 years of tough-on-crime hysteria, I have little doubt that my childhood was nothing more than a string of unspeakable felonies.

    I doubt I would ever get out of prison based on my childhood.

  9. Hard to cut through the BS there. If the rock was 5 by 3 inches, it couldn’t weigh 2 pounds.

    If it weighed anywhere near 2 pounds, then there is also no way she throws it and hits him in the head from 25-30 feet away.

    In all likelihood she got up at close range and bashed him with it.

    Honestly, unlike most here (I suspect) I’d have to say her extreme overreaction warrants SOME type of legal intervention. You don’t smash a little kid in the head with a rock just for hitting you with a water balloon. Four years of detention however, strikes me as excessive to even be thinking about, unless this girl has some other serious priors we don’t know about yet.

    Anyway, the good news is: it looks like both sides are being well coached in the art of victimization and are both positioning themselves for emotional distress claims. And isn’t that the important thing here?

  10. It occurred to me that with reactions like this, we’re basically violating the social contract: kids don’t enjoy the same privileges as adults, but at the same time they’re not (supposed to be) saddled with adult responsibilities. But if you’re going to hold a little girl to the responsibility of facing adult consequences for her behavior, then she should get adult privileges as well.

    But of course that won’t happen.

  11. “Truly civilized societies recognize that there are serious differences between children and adults. We do not.”

    Except on matters of sex and mind-altering substances, on which this society views all children between 1 day and 17 and 364 days old as having the same degree of capability for judgment. (And yes, I saw thoreau’s post.)

  12. What kind of stone was it? As long as it was smooth and flat, then the girl is okay, as long as she adhered to the waiting period and has a permit.

    However, if it was a nasty, jagged “assault rock”, then they need to send that little tart up the river.

    Obviously, our government isn’t doing enough to keep rocks out of the hands of children.

  13. I got in some fairly nasty altercations as a young kid, at least one of which involved a hospital visit. Thank dog I grew up in an era when it was understood that kids got in fights. I was certainly punished, but jail wasn’t even a question.

    I’d like to know what good can come of incarcerating this girl.

  14. I’d like to know what good can come of incarcerating this girl.

    The cops get to add to their “tough on crime” statistics without risking themselves by arresting a big, scary guy who might fight back.

  15. And who the fuck dialed 911? Story doesn’t say. I hope it was a child too, because any adult whose response to the neighborhood kids getting a little rough is to call 911 is even dumber then these fucking cops and city officials. If anyone should be arrested, it should be the idiot who called the cops rather than intervening.

    (no i don’t actually think that that person should be held criminally responsible, but seriously what a douchebag)

  16. SR:

    No, for most mind-altering substances the upper limit of childhood is infinity. Because the nanny-state doesn’t work if we don’t always need nannies.

    Goo.

  17. Positive reinforcement is the only thing that works.

  18. Kudos to the little rock thrower. Didn’t start the fight, but damn sure ended it.

    They come at you with a knife, come at them with a gun. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone.

  19. independent worm,

    She didn’t overreact. The eight year rolled up with his posse and started to harass her and her friends, launching insults, water balloons and rocks at her in the process. She told him to leave and when he didn’t she toss a rock in his direction.

  20. Brett,

    If the cops hadn’t interfered, Elijah would have learned a valuable lesson about being a punk.

  21. Brett-not only the Chicago way, but the way of the schoolyard. I was brought up to believe that you should do whatever you can to avoid the fight, but if you must resort do violence, you do so in a way that ensures the person is not inclined to screw with you again.

    These folks would have preferred that the little girl run to an authority figure to get help. It’s Good training for life as an (state dependant) adult.

  22. Also-If “Mr. Maximus” wants to be consistent, he should come in here and explain how the little girl should have taken her lumps for the good of the collective.

    In the end, a bunch of shrieking monsters surrounding one kid is the face of the collective.

  23. This sounds like the premise for Holes 2 in the making.
    It seems to me that there were a number of opportunities for the adults involved to be responsible and handle the situation. That they kept passing the buck until the kid ended up arrested says more about our fear of litigation than anything imo.

  24. If the cops hadn’t interfered, Elijah would have learned a valuable lesson about being a punk.

    If the parents had handled this instead of cops, both kids would have learned not to throw shit at each other and that would have been that.

  25. Number 6 – exactly!

    The article also says the group was throwing rocks at the girl as well, but apparently she was only hit by a water balloon. I guess her mistake was not waiting to retaliate until after she was actually struck by a rock. How f*cked up.

  26. mtc has the best point here. The problem is not just that the state, as ever, is on a power trip. The problem is that adults have forgotten how, or refuse, to behave as adults.

    Treating children as adults is the flip side of treating adults as children.

  27. Number 6–

    In all seriousness, it is (at least technically) illegal for kids to defend themselves at all. When I was teaching, the fight policy at my school was that ANYBODY involved in a fight gets expelled. So if you and six guys surround me and attack me, and I lash out purely in self-defense (or even raise my arm to deflect a blow) I get the same penalty as you.

    No, no, Maribel should have been a good little girl and gone inside the house when a bunch of little boys decided to harass her in her own front yard. It’s the American way.

  28. The reaction is a bit extreme, but hey, the law’s the law. She should not have fought back but should of instead called the cops.

  29. Hakluyt, that was her side of the story. Why not mention “she meant to hold back, but the rock kind of just slipped out of her hand” while you’re at it?

    He had has side of the story too.

    And in between, there was the truth, as any lawyer, judge or LEO knows all too well.

    Bottom line is: she’s old enough to know better than to hit another kid in the head with a rock, and she’s old enough to take responsibility for it. I agree the penalty sounds excessive, but that has no bearing on what appears to be an obvious example of excessive force in a situation where she really hasn’t even established a need for self defense.

    The impression i get from reading the comments above is that folks WANT her to be innocent so the charge won’t stick. That’s clouded and wishful thinking. The correct view is: yes, she has committed a serious battery, but the punishment being considered is grossly excsessive.

    PS — the full article is more revealing than Matt’s one sided version.

  30. Actually, going inside and getting an adult would have been the right response. I always thought that rule #1 of self-defense is that if you can get away from a bad situation then do so. Don’t stay there and help escalate it.

    As wrong as her response was, the cops’ response was MUCH worse.

  31. Jennifer- Is there no limit to the stupidity of public school systems? None at all?

  32. Anybody care to comment on the similarities between this situation and the lemonade stand that was shut down?

  33. Number 6–

    Nope.

    By the way, here’s something I cut and pasted from Fred Reed’s column on this topic:

    if I had a son who was ganging up with other boys to torment a girl who didn?t speak English, or did (apparently Maribel barely did), I?d slap him across the room so hard that he would think he was an astronomer, and the next time the idea of doing such a thing occurred to him, he would reflect, ?Maybe this isn?t a good idea. Dad doesn?t seem to like it.” No, Dad doesn?t. If he came home with a gash where she had belted him in trying to defend herself, I?d say, ?Son, you go to school to learn things. You just did.? Ask and ye shall receive. Actions have consequences. There are things kids need to know that you don?t do, especially boys, who are pack animals.

  34. Let’s see, IW, the kids ganged up on and assaulted her. She defended herself. Yup, guilty, guilty, guilty!

    I’ll say it first: the kid who got clobbered had it coming.
    Self-defense is the first right.

  35. The original post was commenting on rock throwing, not rock throwing in self defense. Are the complaints on this thread really about self defense or the fact that an 11-year old was sent to juvi? If this is simply a matter of a juvi issue, at what age should kids start being sent to juvi? I don’t see this as being as cut and dried as many of you do.

  36. Jennifer-that quote says it better than I ever could.

  37. Anybody care to comment on the similarities between this situation and the lemonade stand that was shut down?

    They both involve children breaking the law. All laws are meant to protect us, it is wrong for anyone, child or adult to break any law ever under any circumstances.

    That being said it is not reasonable to punish children under 21 this severely.

  38. MP, my complaints are multiple…

    If a group of kids is throwing things (which included rocks, per the article) at a person, particularly one on his/her property, that person has every right to self defense.

    Beyond that, the past and potential punishment is absurd. I don’t particularly see why she should have been sent to juvi for this, but at most it should have ended there.

  39. Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

  40. Hi, Jennifer!

    Yes, civilized people and societies are aware of the differences between children’s minds and those of adults, and reflect this awareness in their laws.

  41. the full article is more revealing than Matt’s one sided version.

    It certainly is. Let’s see: It’s Maribel who says that they were throwing rocks. No independent confirmation even though there were apparently four witnesses, possibly as many as ten.

    Her lawyer says they’ve got the wrong rock. Well, if it drew blood, it seems likely that it wouldn’t be that hard to find the right one.

    The yard was gated. I don’t know what kind of working class neighbourhoods have gated yards 25-30 feet deep. It’s unclear how much danger she was in if she was behind a gate. As was mentioned, also unclear how an 11-year old girl throws a 2 pound rock 25-30 feet. Over a gate.

    Maribel is eleven. Elijah is eight. Put the average eleven-year-old girl next to the average eight year-old boy and watch your assumptions about the weaker sex evaporate.

  42. Do the law enforcement, etc. officials involved in this matter have no sense of shame? Crap, send the kid to counseling. But please, a trial?

    counseling? shit, a head shot from 30 feet? send her to baseball camp!

  43. To quote Jeff Cooper, this is the “age of the wimp.”

    And this truly is all about deferring to authority.

    So… What happens when a little league pitcher loses his grip and beans another kid in the helmet? Arrest?

    At this point I’m just trying to figure out how isolated this incident is. I know schools have a zero tolerance policy, which is why I’m keeping my kids out of public school. I’ve never personally heard of cops getting involved in kiddie-disputes in my area, so I dunno.

  44. I don’t know what kind of working class neighbourhoods have gated yards 25-30 feet deep…

    I assumed from this they were referring to the chain link fences that enclose many yards in poor neighborhoods in California. They’re everywhere, easily 25 feet from sidewalk to porch.

  45. counseling? shit, a head shot from 30 feet? send her to baseball camp!

    No kidding. Little did poor Elijah know he was throwing water balloons at Amanda Whurlitzer.

  46. I don’t know what happened that day. I’ve read the article, and the accounts differ greatly (surprise). Some of the details sound fishy. From what I’ve read, it sounds like even in the best case scenario (she’s being pelted with rocks from multiple people) she handled it the wrong way (common sense says that no matter how right you are you shouldn’t perpetuate a bad situation if escape is a safe option). I’m not going to launch into any sermons on the sanctity of self-defense on behalf of a girl who injured a younger kid with a rock.

    What I do know is that this should have been handled by parents, and sending her away for 4 years would be a travesty.

  47. The cops probably had the wrong rock. If it really weighed two pound he would have had a concussion.

  48. To put this into perspective, once when I was around 8 I threw rocks at a 40 year old neighbor. (The reasons behind it is a long story.) He chased me, but I was a fast little runner, and got away. He called the cops; the cops showed up, and they basically were choking back laughter as they told me it’s generally not a good idea to throw rocks at people. They left, and that was that.

    Like I said yesterday, I miss the 70s.

  49. I sure hope some expensive big shot lawyer defends the little girl for free. This is another example of the over bearing safety police trying to control everybody. This way too drastic for the young girl.

  50. I agree with Jennifer about the rock the police picked up – I don’t think they do aggressive forensics with fighting children. It’s not CSI: Playground.

    It is pretty absurd that this was/is being handled by the police rather than the parents of the kids involved. Talk about the state acting in loco parentis. In loco crazy, abusive, drunk parentis.

  51. When I was younger my friends and I got into fights all the time. We fought, parents made us apologize to each other, and that was the end of the disput. Are teaching our kids to complain about every little thing these days? It’s like our society became one great big therapy session.

  52. I mean dispute. Sorry

  53. Am I the only one that keeps having flashbacks to the “Cartman’s Hate Crime” episode of South Park?

  54. Not to threadjack too much, but considering how long it’s already taking us to declare victory in our six-week war with Iraq, can you IMAGINE what our military will be like when all of the grunts are members of the “Don’t you dare fight back” generation? “Hey! That insurgent threw a bomb at me! I’m gonna tell!”

    Of course by then the insurgents won’t even need bombs; all they’ll have to do is light a cigarette and our troops will run screaming away from the secondhand smoke.

  55. From what I read, it was the aunt of one of Maribel’s playmates who called 911 to report the head injury after the boy got hit. The cops over-responded with three squad cars and a helicopter, and made a spectacle of the whole unfortunate incident.

    The kids were acting like kids. The boys were taunting her and throwing things at her, she got mad and threw something back, probably the first handy object. That’s what kids do because they are still learning to develop better ways of dealing with conflict.

    Holding her for five days and allowing her parents only one half-hour visit is already excessive. The idea of felony charges is a travesty.

  56. Thinking over the post I just made, I realized how appropriate the second paragraph was. The state (police) acted like an abusive parent. Rather than saying, “That was very bad! We’re going over there right now to apologize, and you’re grounded for a month!” the emissaries of the state tackled her, and physically threatened her. They plan to, in effect, ground her for the next 5 years. When you expect the state to be your daddy, it might start acting that way.

  57. More from the Fred Reed column:

    How is it that the police department needs three squad cars, an ambulance, and a freaking helicopter to subdue an annoyed girl of eleven? In my many years of riding with the police, I knew them to be men, gutsy, hard-core, willing to go to bad places full of bad people. You might like them or you might not, and you might have reason either way. But they weren?t pansies. Real cops would be stone embarrassed to arrest little girls on assault charges. Not these cops, though.

  58. They should make a Reno 911 episode about a situation like this.

    Those cops got their asses handed to them by the guys with paintball guns.

  59. I’ve updated the post with a “so sayeth her parents” on the 25-30 foot claim.

  60. thoreau,

    If the parents had handled this instead of cops, both kids would have learned not to throw shit at each other and that would have been that.

    Nah, running off the mommy or daddy only encourages the bully.

    Actually, going inside and getting an adult would have been the right response.

    That only encourages the bully.

    Jennifer,

    In all seriousness, it is (at least technically) illegal for kids to defend themselves at all.

    Sounds like how Britain treats its adults. Great quote.

    independent worm,

    I read the full article. The eight year old bully got taught a lesson.

  61. I find it incredibly ironic that the girl is being held responsible for “escalating” the conflict, given the extremity of the way the police came down on her.

  62. I’ve updated the post with a “so sayeth her parents” on the 25-30 foot claim.

    damn. i really thought the state had unwittingly stumbled upon the next big thing with this little girl.

  63. Serafina,

    Talk about a disincentive to call 911.

  64. These folks would have preferred that the little girl run to an authority figure to get help. It’s Good training for life as an (state dependant) adult.

    …And good training for another helpless, forlorn woman. We need more of those.

    Hey, in the cops’ defense: she could’ve been a terr’ist. …She was foreign. Well, wasn’t she? 😛

  65. I guess I meant to say “is” and “isn’t she”. I suppose her life isn’t over…yet.

  66. Chalk up another vote for incredulity at a 2 pound rock being thrown 25-30 feet.

    I’m not sure /I/ (a grown man) could throw that well… Especially not something that wasn’t designed for throwing…

    That’s at least a potato [that you get at mid-range steak places] sized rock…

  67. When you’re outnumbered by four or five to one, how the hell are you supposed to defend yourself WITHOUT “escalating” the conflict? It reminds me of the old Virginia law (which they were talking about changing when I moved away, but I don’t know if they did) which said that if an unarmed person attacks you, you may NOT use weapons to defend yourself, because that would be “escalation.” So if my weak skinny self is walking down the street and a big muscular bodybuilder starts to strangle me, legally all I can do is try to fight him off with my bare hands. And if I die–well, the cops aren’t required to portect me anyway; all they have to do is arrest me if I protect myself.

  68. Jennifer-

    I have no idea what the law says, but common sense says that if you can safely remove yourself from the situation (e.g. go inside your house when the 8 year-old boy throws rocks) then do so.

    Once again, I’m not defending the decision to prosecute her. But I’m not going to let the state’s horrible decision blind me to the girl’s bad decision either.

  69. Let’s see, IW, the kids ganged up on and assaulted her. She defended herself. Yup, guilty, guilty, guilty!

    #6, if you read the article more closely, you’d see that she only CLAIMED she was ganged up on when the cops arrested her. However, that is apparently far from the truth.

    And it makes sense, the way she portrayed it. She knew she was wrong, so she inflated the other kids actions to try and justify what she did. So one kid becomes “a gang” and one water balloon becomes “rocks.” She hoped to make her action look more plausible to the cops.

    The problem with HER STORY is that the cops found (A) NO EVIDENCE of other kids joining an attack, and (B) NO EVIDENCE anyone threw a rock at her. All the police found was her apologizing for splitting the kid’s head open with a rock.

    If you’re going to take the self-serving statement of someone being arrested to be The Truth and ignore all the other facts in the story, that is your prerogative, but passing that off as the truth is not helping anyone understand this any better.

  70. Thoreau–

    If it were an 18-year-old, I might agree. But as Hakluyt already pointed out, the only way to make bullies stop is to stand up to them. Had this girl gone into the house or ran for Mommy, then the boys would know they could get under her skin and they’d up the harassment level next time.

  71. In fourth grade, we had a new kid come mid-year. He was from LA and made a big show of being a badass. He very vocally called out every boy in the class “tomorrow I’m kicking your ass and the day after that, I’m kicking your ass.”

    The teacher took him aside, and explained that he didn’t have to kick anyone’s ass, nobody was going to kick his ass, and generally ass kicking wasn’t the way to make friend. He started bawling, the teacher had us eat lunch with the poor guy and that was that. It’s amazing what a little commonsense, compassion and flat out explanation can do to help most kids.

    This was 1979. Can you imagine the legal and pyschological throw down had that happened in 2005?

  72. IW–

    Even if it was just water balloons, the girl was minding her own business playing in her own yard when this brat/these brats started harassing her.

  73. NO ONE, is to stone ANYBODY, until I blow this whistle..

  74. I’m surprised nobody’s said it yet: Won’t somebody think of the children? Or are we only supposed to think of some of the children?

  75. thoreau,

    Sorry, that only encourages bullies to come after you.

    IW,

    …that the cops found (A) NO EVIDENCE of other kids joining an attack, and (B) NO EVIDENCE anyone threw a rock at her.

    You actually don’t know this. You are merely making this up.

  76. Michael–

    I, personally, am thinking of the children who should be allowed to play in their own damned yards. And if some boys start harassing said children, I think those children should be allowed to defend themselves and CONTINUE playing, rather than have to go inside the house until the boys decide to “let” her come outside again without being harassed.

  77. I.W.,

    Do you think that a police department which obviously overreacts (and we can agree that anything more than a single squad car was an overreaction, I hope) is less likely to lie than a kid who’s been caught doing something wrong?

    I’m not saying the girl isn’t lying, but it seems to me that cops lie just as often as children do.

  78. From the article:

    Police offer a different version. Officers maintain that no other boys were involved in the incident. Elijah threw only one water balloon, they said.

    And yeah, i know the cops aren’t the font of truth themselves often times. Then again, neither are 11 year old kids. In this situation though, i’m going with the cops because (a) they had no real incentive to get into this one way or the other, while (b) Maribel had every reason on earth to make up a whopper of a tale to try and wriggle out of trouble.

    Some of you guys are too much. Busting a kid’s head open with a rock is a case of “kids will be kids” or “self defense”, YET, throwing a water balloon is “bullying.”

  79. I only heard that the boy’s parents refused to press the charges when all of this happend.

  80. You actually don’t know this. You are merely making this up.

    I only know what I read in the papers. See my previous post.

  81. IW–

    Throwing a water balloon is “bullying” when you throw it not as part of a friendly water fight, but at someone who’s minding her own business and doesn’t want to play with you. Throwing a rock is self-defense if you’re minding your own business and then some twit throws a water balloon at you.

    And the cops are either lying or mistaken about the rock–a two-pound rock connecting with an eight-year-old skull would have causes far more serious injuries.

  82. As far as how to dissuade bullies, it certainly isn’t just the child’s responsibility. Especially when there are large physical differences.

    If a child attacks another child, then it’s the adults’ responsibility to separate the aggressive child from from the non-aggressive ones, much more than it’s the victim’s responsibility to fight back.

    If my son was beaten up by a group of older, bigger kids and their parents (who I would contact before the police) were unable to prevent it from happening again (to any kid, not just mine), I think I would call the police and file charges, the same way I would if I was assaulted myself.

  83. I await the city’s lawsuit against the balloon industry.

  84. Jane wrote

    “All laws are meant to protect us, it is wrong for anyone, child or adult to break any law ever under any circumstances.”

    All laws are meant to protect someone, but not necessarily us. It is illegal, but not necessarily wrong, to break them. Or maybe you were being sardonic? If so, I’m with you.

  85. Throwing a rock is self-defense if you’re minding your own business and then some twit throws a water balloon at you.

    Self defense? Or retaliation?

  86. IW,

    …(a) they had no real incentive to get into this one way or the other…

    They have plenty of incentive actually. They already look foolish enough as it is. Use your brain mate.

    Officers maintain that no other boys were involved in the incident. Elijah threw only one water balloon, they said.

    Compare this with what you wrote:

    …that the cops found (A) NO EVIDENCE of other kids joining an attack, and (B) NO EVIDENCE anyone threw a rock at her.

    These two statements aren’t equivalent with one another.

  87. Jennifer,

    A little media attention is all that was needed. 🙂

  88. Not to threadjack too much, but considering how long it’s already taking us to declare victory in our six-week war with Iraq, can you IMAGINE what our military will be like when all of the grunts are members of the “Don’t you dare fight back” generation? “Hey! That insurgent threw a bomb at me! I’m gonna tell!”

    To continue threadjacking, I was very impressed by Stephanie Gutman’s book The Kinder, Gentler, Military. The introduction’s available here.

    In the UK at the moment we have a discussion about the treatment of military recruits which I find surreal. I only accept the existence of a standing army as a necessary evil, and I’m definately not keen on invading places on a whim. But the fact is that if you’re going to train soliders to fight in a war then you cannot treat them as five year olds. I could just about believe the present controversy if it was discussed in terms of “abuse”, but I would still be sceptical. In the end I think that to properly prepare people for combat you probably have to abuse them somewhat.

    But when training of recruits is discussed in terms of bullying my conclusion is that this is not an army any more. It is some sort of state run creche for young “adults”.

  89. IW–

    Self-defense. But how would YOU suggest this little girl have dealt with it? Let the little boys chase her inside and make her stop playing? Tell Mommy and give the boys more ammunition for the next go-round? Try and ignore the deluge?

    Or maybe she should have called the cops.

  90. IW,

    Basically, you read into the statement that “no evidence” was found, when in fact the cops made no statement of the kind.

  91. Ooops, my link on bullying in the British army…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4675885.stm

  92. Jennifer,

    The story states that she was ordered to attend a “mediation program” with the bully. It also says that the mayor and police chief stated that the charge was appropriate. If indeed it was appropriate it seems a bit odd to end the ordeal by sending the two to a “mediation program.”

  93. In this situation though, i’m going with the cops because (a) they had no real incentive to get into this one way or the other

    The cops have every incentive to justify their idiotic behavior in this case.

    Which is done by making shit up about 2 pound rocks, and perhaps by claiming that poor little Elijah was just minding his business when big mean Maribel broke his water balloon with her stupid face and then winged him in the head with a freakin’ cinder block.

  94. Rod,

    Jane=Juanita=troll. (If not a troll, then mildly retarded.)

    Jennifer is right about self-defense vs. aggression. It’s a simple case of instigator/agressor vs. reactor.

    I can’t believe that you would take a group of little boys’ statements as gospel truth. My guess is the cops just decided what the real story was based on a democratic majority: (“Oh, well 4 little boys say that the girl was terrorizing them and they were doing absolutely nothing to provoke her. So they must be telling the truth, since they all deny that they were doing anything to bother her, and no one is siding with her.”) Any of you fucks seen Donnie Darko? I’m sure it’s not insane to imagine a bunch of crude little bastards ganging up on a girl at that age — particularly if she is foreign. Kids are cruel, and even sociological differences like gender and/or ethnicity will cause needless harassment.

    Perhaps the little girl overreacted by mindlessly throwing a rock at someone. But don’t assume that just because she’s allegedly apologizing profusely that she’s doing so because she was instigating violence on that boy. Maybe she just feels bad because she didn’t mean to injure him that badly. I’m just saying it’s not fair to her to make assumptions about her motives for apologizing, IW. You’re assuming she’s guilty of being the agressor.

  95. Jennifer, you continue to ASSUME the girl was attacked by a gang of rock-throwing maniacs. Please read the article.

  96. This is so similar to an incident I had when I was about 10. I was visiting a “friend’s” farm and we were wandering in the woods with another friend of his who I guess he wanted to impress more than me. I was bending over looking in a creek, and my “friend” pushed me from behind so I would fall in the creek. I managed to catch my balance and leap across the creek without getting wet. In instinctive reaction, I bent down and picked up a flattened soda can on the ground and whinged it at him. Well, it curved and hit him right in the mouth with the edge. He had to have about 10 stitches. We weren’t so much “friends” after that.

    He, too, deserved it. But to think I could have spent 4 years in juvy . . . . ???

  97. IW–

    I did read the article, and several others on the same topic. And you didn’t answer my question–what do YOU think she should have done?

  98. When I was being beat up by two boys as a little kid, my big brother saw the altercation and ran out and whupped the crap out of both sorry little boys. All you need is a big bro with an anger management problem. He’ll take the heat. (Bonus: maybe he would do the jail time for you, too!)

  99. poor little Elijah was just minding his business when big mean Maribel broke his water balloon with her stupid face and then winged him in the head with a freakin’ cinder block.

    Hee hee hee.

  100. I don’t see how this girl did anything wrong. “Leaving the area” only encourages the bullies to chase her off every time they see her. She did exactly the right thing by braining that little bastard with a rock: she stood up for her rights. Unfortunately, after the state gets involved the lesson learned is quite different. The girl has learned that she’s supposed to acquiese when confronted by a group of boys hurling taunts and rocks at her. Good idea. The bully has learned that if he assualts someone and they escalate the situation by doing nothing more than having better aim than he does, the state will be on his side. Why just throw rocks and water balloons at a girl when you can get her arrested? Here we have the makings of a future politician. If anything, the girl ought to get one free shot with the rock of her choice at the other three boys.

  101. Seeing as how this was also on brickbat today, we can look at its story. According to that, Elijah Vang (who is 9 in that story) acknowleged that he started the fight.

    And to those of you who think an 11-year-old girl can’t throw a two pound rock 25-30 feet (less than 10 yards, or about the width of a not-to-wide street), I bet you don’t have any kids. My stepdaugher was able to throw a football about 40 feet when she was 10, and she is still a shrimp at 12.

  102. Hakluyt — I understand there is a minor difference in meaning between the two statements.

    Nevertheless, the STORY does NOT indicate that the cops found, or that there was, ANY evidence to support Maribel’s tale. It appears the cops believe she was lying about the whole thing. The story offers NO evidence to corroborate her gang-of-boys-throwing-rocks claim. Do you believe the officers DID find such evidence, but aren’t sharing?

    Cops lie and plant evidence all the time. But they usually reserve this for real bad guys they know are dirtbags who they just want off the street. Sometimes, they do it to help out a DA with designs on state office in a high profile or must-win case. Other than that.. not so much. I have a hard time believing they did all that here, where there’s nothing to gain, and everything to lose on the PR front.

    I can understand that once a mistake is made, then cops will go to the wall to defend it. But what i see in this article, the only mistake is by the DA’s office in charging it so high. Nothing suggests the cops were mistaken as to whether Maribel hit the boy with the rock and busted his head open. In fact, i don’t see anyone in the article denying it; only spinning it to make it sound less bad or to try and justify it.

  103. Independent Worm–

    What do YOU think the girl should have done?

  104. I don’tunderstand why minorites call 911 on family members. I grew up in a minority neighborhood in the 70s and a house would need to be on fire for someone to call the cops on a kid.

    It seems every time you read in a paper about a questionable shooting it seems it’s a familty member who called about their druck briother who was waving a knife. And then the person is surprised that the cops shoot their brother dead.

    Who did this caller think would show up when she dropped the dime on a little girl in the barrio, social workers?

  105. I think part of the problem is that the self-defense laws in the US are so screwed up.

    That means you have one set of people posting about what they think it is reasonable for the girl to have done, and you have another group of people posting about what it would have been LEGAL for the girl to have done, and although the two sets of actions don’t match, both groups are using the phrase “self-defense”.

    As far as I am concerned, reasonable and just self-defense laws would allow the victim of an attack or unwanted contact to use whatever means were necessary to stop the attack or unwanted contact. “Necessity” would be measured relative to the specifics of the situation. There would be no requirement to withdraw.

    That would mean [to address a post above] that if five people attack you with their bare hands, you can fight back with a chainsaw, because the chainsaw balances out the other side’s numerical advantage. If attacked by someone larger and stronger than you, you could hit him with a tire iron. The tire iron balances out the other party’s physical advantage. And so forth.

    It would also mean that successive escalations would be reflexively justified until the attack stopped, because one can only measure the necessary level of force when the attack has actually stopped. If someone is throwing water balloons at me, and they won’t stop when I throw twigs, dandelions, or grass clippings back at them, but they DO stop when I throw a rock, that would seem to demonstrate that the rock was the necessary level of force.

    One other point that I’d like to address is the ongoing assertion by some people that this matter should have been dealt with by the kids alone, or by parents, and not by the police. I actually think it’s appropriate that the police are involved – but the police should have arrested the little boy, and not the little girl. If we were talking about adults here, and an adult from my town ran on to my yard and starting throwing objects at me – ANY objects – and wouldn’t leave when I told them to, leaving me no choice but to hit them with a garden hoe, when the police came they sure as hell wouldn’t be arresting ME. They would arrest the guy who was harassing me in my yard.

    The whole “kids will be kids” philosophy is incredibly damaging to children, and does nothing to “socialize” them or “teach them about life”. If we want to teach kids about life, we should teach them that if they harass people standing in their own yards, they’re going to the pokey. That is the life lesson kids need to learn. They certainly DON’T need to learn that it’s OK to screw with people and that not only can your victim not fight back, but that no one else is allowed to intervene in your “play”.

  106. IW,

    Its not a minor difference in meaning, its a major difference in meaning.

    Shawn Smith,

    Now we get the real story, not the spun one put out by the facist cops. 🙂

  107. Jennifer — for starters, she should have put the rock down and not thrown it. After that, its really up to her. She had lots of possibilities. As far as we know, there was one boy, one balloon. So really, what’s the big deal? She could have chased the kid away, told his parents, whatever. She might have gotten her own balloons and done the same back to him. Who knows. It’s really not a big deal to get hit with a water balloon.

    I realize we are a Sensitive people with lots of Pride and Outrage and Umbrage; and that we can’t be “dissed” in public so our outraged egos permit us to indulge unlimited fantasies of vengeance and violence in response to even the tiniest of slights… but this is, technically, still a civilized society. Maybe bashing people over the head with a rock was a good way to do things back in the caveman days, but we’ve moved beyond that.

    Or so it would seem.

  108. IW–

    So in your mind, a civilized society is one where you don’t have the right to sit in your own yard without being hit by a water balloon?

  109. I think the bottom line is that nobody here knows what happened, but we do know that trying to prosecute her was absolutely unjustified.

    You guys can believe whoever you need to believe to make whatever point you need to make, but all I see is a choice between:

    1) A little boy with a history of making trouble who got into a fight
    2) A little girl trying to avoid a draconian penalty
    3) Cops trying to justify a draconian decision.

    I don’t see ANY credible parties here. Somebody’s telling the truth about something, but I have no clue who it is.

    Anyway, even though I still think she should have gone inside the house and gotten an adult to deal with the kid (or, more accurately, his parents) that point is a minor point in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that she’s no longer being prosecuted!

  110. Thoreau–

    She got off this time, but I’m sure the cops will overreact again. Heaven forbid a little girl being hassled while she’s playing try to defnd herself.

    And the cops should all be fired anyway; if you need multiple squad cars and a helicopter to arrest an unarmed little girl then you’re clearly too much of an incoompetent wuss to do your job.

  111. A football doesn’t weigh two pounds.

    This is total kids stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I whinged rocks at friends or bullies when I was a kid. Heck, we used to have “neighborhood wars” where all the younger kids would have dirt clod/rock/stick fight with the older kids in the neighborhood. I grew up in the suburbs, and that’s what we did to pass time during summers when the houses in the neighborhood were being built.

    I also have to echo other commenters who suggest that ending an altercation started with you is the best alternative if you can’t simply leave. If I go the rest of my life without getting into a fight, I’ll be pretty happy, but I took that time in college learning Jeet Kune Do and Jiujitsu so that if some jerk starts a fight with me, I’ll end it and he won’t like the result. My JKD instructor called it being “harmless like a rattlesnake”.

    This also reminds me of something else he said: “Use your environment, never underestimate the power of a rock. Nobody will get close to you if you’re hurling rocks at him.”

  112. I didn’t realize the French were so big on defending themselves against aggression 😉

  113. Jennifer

    I have consistently characterized this as an OVERREACTION on the girl’s part. Not saying the boy was right — he shouldn’t have hit her with a water balloon, apparently. At least in Maribel’s mind, they were not playing.

    However, just because somebody was wronged you does NOT give you a license to do whatever damn fool thing you want. The “VICTIM” isn’t automatically right in her response just because she’s been harmed in some way. There ARE limits on what even our nations’ beloved victims are allowed to do.

  114. IW-

    What did you think of Fluffy’s 3:23 comment that a victim should be allowed to do whatever is necessary to make an assault stop? Bear in mind, if the boys had run away and Maribel chased them and continued to throw rocks, that would be a completely different matter. But screw this idea that in any conflict, the AGGRESSOR gets to decide what is and is not fair.

    If nothing else, I daresay this boy learned a valuable lesson about leaving people the hell alone when they don’t want to be bothered.

  115. There ARE limits on what even our nations’ beloved victims are allowed to do.

    IW,

    You make it sound like Maribel slit the boy’s throat. Sorry, but I don’t think throwing a rock in retaliation is unheard of or out of the question as a means of retaliation. To be hypocritical and speculate on why she was profusely apologizing: I’m guessing she probably didn’t intend to wound the boy so greatly, as much as she intended to get him to go away.

  116. I suspect the reason the aunt called 911 was to get an ambulance for the boy with the gash in his head. I doubt she wanted the police to come.

    Given her limited English, it’s quite possible that the operator would think there was gang warfare going on, which might explain why the police sent the force they did.

  117. Does anybody honestly think that this is the best test case to use when articulating general rules of self defense?

  118. thoreau,

    I didn’t realize that you are such a wimp. 🙂

  119. Hopefull the punk boy learned his lesson after he got dropped.

  120. NO ONE, is to stone ANYBODY, until I blow this whistle…

    But he said Jehova!

  121. Does anybody honestly think that this is the best test case to use when articulating general rules of self defense?

    Not the best, but it’ll have to do.

  122. Are you trying to draw biggus dickus out of hiding?

  123. I was smashed in the head with a rock when I was a kid. I believe the consequences were my spelling skillz. That and my parents talked with his parents. There were no police helicopters or felony charges involved.

    Incidentally, how much did it cost for that chopper to take down this girl?

    Could we see this on an episode of “Cops”, please? That would be great. Thanks.

  124. Parodist,

    That distinctly sounded like a threat. At least to me. Then again, if it’s not too big…

  125. Jennifer — You’re absolutely right; if a wet shirt isn’t grounds for a split skull then i don’t know what is. What was i thinking? Tune in tomorrow when the logic on H&R leaves me no choice but to agree that being jostled in an elevator justifies taking a baseball bat to somebody’s knees.

    smacky — And you guys make it sound like the boy slit Maribel’s throat. Apologies tend to be admissions of wrongdoing, accompanied by a seeking of foregiveness for having done the wrong. That’s how i took it.

  126. the question it seems no one is asking is, why did this girl refuse to play the water balloon game with her neighborhood boys? she may be a foreigner, but it seems she has already picked up the lamentable individualist attitudes of our once-great nation.

    she would rather sit behind her fence than play with other children, reinforcing the social bonds on which the community depends. when the boys insisted that she take part in community play, she threw a rock at them. the fact that nearly all of you side with such antisocial behavior speaks volumes.

  127. IW-I base my presumption on the fact that I used to be a kid, have seen kids in action, and know damn well that it’s more likely for a herd of boys to gang up on a little girl and deny it than for a little girl to go apeshit with no cause. Both are possible, but the first is by far more likely.

    As for the crying: ever hurt someone more than you meant to? You tend to feel bad, even if they had it coming.

  128. I’m not sure why, but I am getting the same reading as IW on this.

    And thoreau is 100% right. I had a boy throw a stone at me at about that age, for no apparent reason. I yelled at him, but I guess retaliation didn’t occur to me. (The entire neighborhood became involved and he was duly punished by his parents.)
    I think the “kids will be kids” argument can only be used here if you absolve both parties.

  129. Jennifer — You’re absolutely right; if a wet shirt isn’t grounds for a split skull then i don’t know what is.

    Uh, how about being hassled when you’re on YOUR OWN PROPERTY? You seem to have the opinion that unless the boy causes actual injury, the girl should just fucking tolerate it.

  130. Number 6,

    You said exactly what I was trying to say all along. Thanks.

  131. Let’s also keep in mind that the girl probably did not mean to split his skull, but only to drive the agressor(s) away. Mens rea and all that.

  132. Jennifer — I’m not sure how to take your comment. Surely you do recognize that there is some kind of limit on the use of force to retaliate against minor injuries? Even if they happen on your own property.

    Also you indicated above you believe Maribel acted in self defense. That’s true… IF the terrifying and life-threatening Water Balloon Blitz was still in progress. Once it was over and there were no more airborne rubbery water-sacs to defend against, it moved into the realm of retaliation.

    That seems to be the root of our disagreement.

    Also, please note the date for Halloween on your calendars everyone. I don’t want to read about any reasonoids gunning down a “masked gang of egg throwing trespassers” in “self defense”. 🙂

  133. “I actually think it’s appropriate that the police are involved – but the police should have arrested the little boy, and not the little girl.”

    No, for crying out loud, the police shouldn’t have arrested anyone. A large grim-faced cop should have put a fatherly arm around each of the kids in turn and gently explained that it’s a bad idea to bully people, or to throw potentially deadly missiles at others (even if they are being dicks), and made each of the kids apologize to the other. In other words, he would have de-escalated the whole matter. That’s the kind of judgment I thought we paid cops to exercise.

    “Given her limited English, it’s quite possible that the operator would think there was gang warfare going on, which might explain why the police sent the force they did.”

    This explanation is the only one that makes any sense at all of the police’s behavior. Of course, once they learned that they weren’t dealing with gang warfare but with a schoolyard brawl, they should have adjusted their reaction accordingly.

  134. IW–

    According to some of the articles I read, she threw the rock AFTER she told him to stop and he refused.

    And she threw ONE rock. Had she thrown one, drawn blood, and continued throwing more, that would be an entirely different story.

    And personally, I think you should be allowed a LOT of leeway when it comes to defending your right to enjoy your own property (or your parent’s, at any rate). Had the dumb little boy left her alone, none of this would have happened.

  135. biggus dickus said:
    “the fact that nearly all of you side with such antisocial behavior speaks volumes”

    Our respective names corroborate your thesis, eh?

  136. This sounds like an experience of mine. Older boy throwing rocks. I go home and fill up a squirt gun with ammonia. End of story.

    Probably qualify for WMD these days. Maybe Fresno needs some DHS funds to buy a used Cobra. A little strafing might teach these buggers a lesson.

  137. Jennifer,
    Mirabel is 11 and so it is possible that she has started menstruating. According to your views in the Kansas case last week, she would have the right to have sex if she wanted, with the possibility that she would have to take responsibility for a child. Yet in this case, you are perfectly willing to abnegate any possibility of responsibility to her. How do you reconcile these views?

    Others,
    I apologize for the thread-jacking.

  138. Anomdebus–

    If she has (consensual) sex that’s her business, nobody else’s.

  139. If she has (consensual) sex that’s her business, nobody else’s.

    C’mon…I expected better than a kneejerk libertarian reaction from you.

  140. i don’t believe this thread has already got 140+ posts. a kid threw a rock at a kid. in related news, a kid in louisiana just broke up with his first girlfriend, and there was a brief fistfight in a high school in new york.

  141. a kid in louisiana just broke up with his first girlfriend

    I smell palimony! Implied contract, anyone?

  142. MP–

    Well, perhaps the parents’ business as well. But what the hell does that have to do with this topic? Let’s say you have two eleven-year-olds, each of whom just shoplifted a candy bar. The first kid is sexually active; the second one’s a virgin. Should the first kid be tried for theft as an adult while the virgin goes to juvenile court? Of course not. I don’t know what connection Anomdebus expected me to draw here.

  143. Actually, to make a better analogy, let’s say you have two eleven-year-olds, each of whom just threw a rock at a kid who needed stitches as a result. Does the virgin get in less trouble for this than the non-virgin?

  144. Jennifer,
    I did not mean that sexually active human beings are adults, though you may or may not believe that.
    Somehow, as I have read your views, someone who is biologically fertile is mature enough to make decisions regarding sex, but not regarding violence.
    Just to be clear on my position: I think most minors are children, though ideally, they should be able to prove that they are competant to make their own choices. After that they can do whatever their conscience tells them, but they can be punished as adults if they break the law.

  145. “Tune in tomorrow when the logic on H&R leaves me no choice but to agree that being jostled in an elevator justifies taking a baseball bat to somebody’s knees.”

    You know something, Worm? I don’t think this is far-fetched enough to be a properly hyperbolic example.

    If someone comes on an elevator, stumbles, and jostles me, obviously it’s not an assault.

    But if three or four drunks get on an elevator, and decide to start pushing me, just because they think it’s funny [certainly not out of the realm of possibility for a handful of drunks] I think I would be perfectly entitled to start smashing their laughing faces with a baseball bat, if I had one.

    All you would have to do to be perfectly safe from my Bat of Doom would be to refrain from tormenting strangers in public as your evening’s entertainment.

  146. Somehow, as I have read your views, someone who is biologically fertile is mature enough to make decisions regarding sex, but not regarding violence.

    First of all, this assumes that sex and violence are somehow equivalent behaviors. I don’t think so, despite the way they’re often hooked together when they’re mentioned. By contrast, if I’d previously said something like “11-year-olds should be tried as adults if they commit violent crimes,” then your confusion would be more understandable.

    Secondly, this isn’t even about “violence” so much as it is a typical childish reaction to typical childish behavior. Both children did things that would most likely be crimes if committed by adults; the question is are they still crimes when you’re talking about kids of 8 and 11?

    Girl sits in yard. Boy comes by, shouting insults and throwing things at her. Girl says Go Away. Boy remains. Girl throws rock and hits boy in head, requiring a couple of stitches but no concussion or long-term damage.

    If *I* am the girl and the boy is some man in his twenties, then the cops should probably get involved on some level. But not in this case. If the cops are there at all, they should be acting in the gruff-but-fatherly capacity mentioned by Seamus.

    I could go on, but your second post makes me suspect you’re actually the latest incarnation of Juanita.

  147. Jennifer,

    I read anom’s comments regarding minors, sex, and personal responsibility as relating to statutory rape. If a minor was able to assume absolute legal responsibility for their actions, then statutory rape should not be a crime. If that poster was referring to consensual acts between minors, then I too don’t get the point.

    And please don’t mention Juanita again.

  148. You know, I always thought that the use of force should be a last resort, not something you do whenever a punk needs to be taught a lesson.

    That’s really what my argument boils down to. And let’s keep in mind that regardless of the size of the rock and the distances involved, she clearly gave him a pretty nasty gash. A somewhat harder impact and he could have had a concussion. Off by a few inches and it could have been an eye injury.

    I’m not saying she should have been prosecuted. But I am saying that throwing a rock at a kid’s head is not the best way to “teach a punk a lesson.” Don’t let the prosecutor’s ridiculous actions blind us to basic facts of life.

  149. MP–

    Even if the topic is statutory rape it still can’t be compared to this case; the first question concerns what should be done to an adult for consenting behavior that is only a crime because the consenting person fell below a legal age limit, whereas this case concerns what should be done to a child for NON-consenting behavior that might be a crime for anyone ABOVE a certain age limit.

    Thoreau–

    I’m not necessarily saying the girl shouldn’t be punished, depending on the details; I’m just saying that the cops shouldn’t be involved in this case. If this were a girl with a long-term record of walking around chucking rocks at people for no reason, that would be a different story.

  150. I saw Mirabel on the 6:30 news tonight and am now convinced she was a victim of police profiling.
    Also a victim of the fact we have too damn many police. They’re resorting to make-work.

  151. I’m not necessarily saying the girl shouldn’t be punished, depending on the details; I’m just saying that the cops shouldn’t be involved in this case.

    Um, that’s what I’ve been saying the whole time. Every time I say that her parents should have punished her, I include the disclaimer that I vehemently oppose the police involvement. And then everybody comes back at me with stuff about how she was defending herself and he deserved it and whatnot.

    FWIW, if I were her father I wouldn’t punish her at this point. She’s suffered enough. My only point was that if this had been handled properly there would have been no police involvement, and instead her parents would have dealt with her.

  152. Somebody is fibbing.

    Here at Casa de las Rocas Grande (House of the Big Rocks) I rounded up an oblong small rock about the same dimensions as the alleged weapon. It weighed exactly 34.5 ozs (roughly the same). I asked my 9 year old son Jake to heave that thing. He threw it three times and was never able to toss it more than 10-12 feet. That’s a far cry from the reported 25-30 feet. He might only be 9 and she was 11, but he has three years of Little League under his belt.

  153. Policing in this country has gotten out of hand. Regardless of who threw what at whom or how many people were involved, there was no point in the police taking this as far as they did.

    The initial reports I saw had it that several boys were throwing water balloons and rocks at her. If that’s the case, and I have little reason to believe it isn’t at the moment, then it’s perfectly justifiable self-defense.

  154. JK–

    I read the Army-bully article you linked to, but I wish it gave more information. When they complain about recruits being bullied, are they talking about normal stuff like a drill sergeant yelling insults at the recruits, or are they talking about recruits ganging up on somebody and beating him up?

    That book introduction about the “kinder, gentler” military was pretty funny, though. In a sad, God-help-us-all sort of way.

  155. Thought some of you might enjoy this link, given your endless thirst for extreme vengeance in the face of minor indignity. That’ll teach THIS guy to go around disrespectificatin’ motherfuckers, yo!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/03/AR2005080301081_pf.html

    A man lifting his infant daughter out of his car was killed in an apparent case of road rage by a motorist “who obviously exploded” and shot him four times at close range in front of dozens of witnesses, authorities said.

    The victim’s 10-month-old girl was covered with blood but uninjured when police found her in a car seat on the floor of the vehicle.

    …..

    Bishop told investigators he was driving his wife to the train station when Andrade’s vehicle backed toward him on Main Street, Cruz said. The two exchanged heated words.

    “He said his wife was scared, and he said he was angry at that encounter,” Cruz said of Bishop. “He said he made up his mind right there that he had to do something.

  156. Excellent point, IW. If I can sympathize with a little girl who throws rocks at rock-throwers, then it stands to reason I must also find murder an acceptable response to a guy who cuts me off in traffic, right?

  157. As an aside.

    Jennifer,

    Virginia does recognize disparity of force in its self defense laws. At least that’s what the NRA taught me in the CCW class. In your hypothetical example, if some roid raged baseball player came after an average sized man, that average sized man would have a strong (but not perfect) self defense case. Replace the average sized man with an average sized woman and it becomes a near perfect case.

  158. Jennifer, well, it did end the assault didn’t it? That guy won’t mess with old Mr Bishop again! (actually when i posted that i was more thinking about Fluffy’s violent revenge fantasy of 7:21 last night. Freaky.) But then again, you have not so far shown any limit to what you would consider self defense.

    I take it that the Bishop example is one you’d consider “too much force”? Can we get you to commit to that much?

  159. JW–

    My Virginia anecdote dates back to 1994; glad to hear they’ve become more sensible since then.

    Independent Worm–
    Yes, if it makes you feel victorious, I will freely admit that shooting a guy is too much of a response to being cut off in traffic. But I still sympathize with a little girl who throws a rock at a bully, and I hope that you, yourself, are capable of making a distinction between the two.

  160. Just so we’re clear, the older kid who threw the rock at the younger kid is the one standing up to a bully?

  161. Thoreau–

    Yes. There’s no age limits wherein a bully must be your age or older, or it won’t count. And several younger boys ganging up on one older girl would certainly qualify as “bullying.” Remember, Thoreau, it’s not like the little boy was just minding his own business when the girl just walked up and chucked a rock for no reason.

  162. Heck, we used to have “neighborhood wars” where all the younger kids would have dirt clod/rock/stick fight with the older kids in the neighborhood.

    We shot each otehr with BB Guns and bottle rockets. Kids got mad, kids got hurt, kids had fun. Parents disciplined us, and a couple times a cop showed up to lay the scare tactics on. It usually worked, no one went to jail, and somehow, we all survived.

    Man alive, I’m glad I grew up in the 70s. I truly pity any child in today’s environment. My generation is making for wretched parents.

    -Keith

  163. Jennifer,
    My question has nothing to do with consentual acts and nothing to do with equivalence of sex and violence. My question is simply about responsibility. One one hand, it seems you think an 11 year old might be responsible enough to have sex (assuming menstruation), but on the other hand they are not responsible enough to understand the consequences of “childish [acts]”.

    The state says that you are responsible enough to drive when you are 16, but you need to be 18 to smoke and 21 to drink alcohol. That doesn’t mean that they are “somehow equivalent behaviors”. Presumably, there was some logic behind these age decisions. There is an understanding that the individual is responsible enough at those ages to accept the responsibilities of those activities, including punishments for transgressions.

    As far as your ‘juanita’ suggestion, believe it or not it pains me to get into conflicts. I almost didn’t read the responses this morning because I feared you might have misinterpreted again.
    I may not have been 100% clear, but I made the wording simple with the intent of getting something out vs having a 2000 word essay that I scrap because it was a rambling mess. If objectively, this misunderstanding was due to my unclear wording, I apologize.

  164. My question is simply about responsibility.

    Even so, anomdebus, there’s a huge difference between being held responsible in a situation where the only one who could possibly be hurt is you, versus being held responsible in a situation where you hurt someone else.

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