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14 y/o arrested for saying 'meow'

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by CĂșchulainn, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    this woman should be glad that she lives where she does, around here, the response from a 14 yearold for losing his cat because of some pathetic 78yearold moaning would be far more severe
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I have made no judgements on how truthful either version of the events are. My point was simply that I see nothing criminal about saying meow on your porch in your yard. I gave examples of what contexts saying meow could be considered harrassment - this wasn't one of them.

    All potentially true (I have already stated doubts as to why point 1 may not be true). Still, while I have no doubt that the actions were very much intentional, and that the actions were even very rude, I fail to see where the actions are criminal.

    This I strongly object to. In fact, I'm quite horrified that you feel this way. I hope you never work as a judge or in law enforcement. Most right-minded people living in western society believe in a balance between crime and punishment. From this, it logically follows that most people do not support a disporportionate response and/or punishment for any crime, and especially not something as trivial as this appears to be.

    I will not even bother commenting on the 14-year old shooter. Just because sometimes harrassment can lead to more severe crimes does not change the fact that 99% of the time it does not.
     
  3. Ahrontil Gems: 8/31
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    Excellent answer. Horror. I like that. To personalise it for the sake of argument, it is quite possible that you now believe that I would do anything in my power to get the kid a conviction. Maybe even get him put into care, or some form of correctional instituition for young boys?

    Please note I only said disproportionate response (i.e. police, threat of court appearance etc.), not punishisment, you made that leap by yourself. Its an ideal response for a concerned parent from my point of view, as someone who is trying to modify the parent's behaviour.

    Now if you were the child's parent, would you still encourage the boy to meow, or would you tell him to stay away from the person who just shocked you?

    Most right-minded people living in western society would tell the child to stop antagonising their victim. Most right thinking children will do their best to stop getting caught (and this is still not the ideal situation.)

    As far as the victim is concerned that is were the story ends(if they are lucky).

    But we are looking at the story from society's point of view, not the victim's so I will add a bit more.

    The mother in this case is giving her tacit approval for the child to harass her neighbour. This is not the action of a right minded parent, no matter what her reasons are for hating her neighbour. Rewarding the child with her approval for doing a wicked thing is ultimately going to damage the child's social development.

    It is the actions of the parent that have brought this matter all the way to court.

    A judge in a children's court is trained to examine a child's delinquent behaviour and correct it, for the child's own good. The steps that have to be taken to correct the child's behaviour are unlikely to involve any kind of 'punishment' as adults understand the word.

    If the child is assigned a social worker that can help him with his behavior problems would that be unjust?

    If the child's parents have to attend parenting classes to improve their relationship with their child, would that be a punishment or a helping hand?

    Sometimes parents just need a really loud wake up call to do their jobs, sometimes they need help which they are too ashamed to ask for. Either way, if their child is harassing someone, then their victim should force the issue, in my ever-so-humble opinion.

    I can understand why you do not wish to have the child's behaviour described as criminal. In the UK it is described as antisocial. Normally an Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO) would be issued to curtail his rude or threatening behaviour. If this ASBO was breached then the breaching of the ASBO would be a criminal offence (AFAIK).

    Police involvement without any 'criminal' act having taken place is normal, just as it is normal to ask them to attend traffic accidents or assist any of the other emergency services or council services if needed.

    Children in western society are growing up with rights that their grandparents never had. Governments are still struggling to build a framework of legislation that will protect those new rights while ensuring that exploitation of the difficulty involved in policing those rights does not disenfranchise other sections of society.

    In the UK this is actually no trivial matter. Teen gangs, while not engaging in any 'criminal' activity are often seen as intimidating by senior citizens, and their high profile on street corners has (falsely) increased people's fear of crime in areas where teens congregate.

    The current government's failure to tackle the rise in actual antisocial behaviour was believed to have had such an impact on the last government elections (were the government majority dropped from 167 to 66ish {in this old article})that Tony Blair cited it as being third on the people's list of priorities .

    It was important enough an issue for the opposition leader David Cameron to make a speech on it too. Unfortunately he said that young people who wore hoodies needed more love and understanding giving rise it being dubbed the Hug a Hoody speech.

    Both the parties have taken broadly the same tack, saying that the families of children exhibiting antisocial behaviour need help and their victims need protection. Neither measure is coming fast enough for the general public to feel happy about the situation.

    No doubt by the time this generation of children are all senior citizens we will all have a new set of rights and responsabilities and you will need a laminated license to go out causing mischief on Halloween

    That's a lot of typing. Might as well add what I have seen the results of first hand;

    One family with two teenage boys who caused four neighbours on a quiet private housing estate to sell up and move out over the space of 3 months.

    One teenage boy who attacked their victim with a knife and then harassed the victim until they left their home.

    One teenage gang who harassed a family out of their business which was also their home.

    By teenage I mean under the age of 16. In every instance there was something disfunctional about the parents in the family. In every instance the victim had cultivated a close relationship with the neighbour's child (possibly making the child fearless). In every instance the police did the bare minimum.

    I can't say I blame the police for their lack of interest. By the time the victim is prepared to admit that the situation is out of control, the animosity between both parties is too great to defuse. The only thing to do if a person wants to be happy is to move away(in my opinion) because life is too short (especially when you are 78).

    [ August 30, 2006, 00:50: Message edited by: Ahrontil ]
     
  4. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    That's what teenage pranksters aim towards, even though they and their parents will say it's doing something harmless in their own garden or on public space, or whatever such crappy excuse. If one were to dismiss such trivial cases, some people would be left alone at the grace of their smart pranksters.

     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Noted. I felt that was a reasonable assumption. When you talk about criminal behavior (which I assumed you feel this is), then any type of response would necessarily include some type of punishment. Besides he was arrested and charged with harrassment - that's punishable behavior. Sorry that you felt this was a leap in logic that was not justified.

    I'm not going to answer everything you said point by point, and just select a few parts. I think we're looking at this completely differently, and until we get on the same page we won't come to any agreement.

    I would answer "yes" and "punishment", because I think that response is too severe considering the actions. To me it sounds like a kid who is emotionally distraught about losing his cat - he doesn't need to be rehabilited into society because of "behavior problems". I don't think he even has behavior problems for that matter. I think the main difference between what you and Chev are saying and my way of thinking is that we are tackling this issue from very different perspectives. Both of you seem to be placing this boy's actions on the same level as the hooliganism seen on street corners by teenagers. From that perspective, I think the response you are recommending is justified. However, I see this as a much lower level than the referenced hooliganism. That's why I'm not responding to everything point by point. Hopefully, with my further explanation, you'll understand where I'm coming from.

    I have a pet dog which I am quite attached to. I know if I were in a position that I had to unwillingly get rid of my dog it would make me quite upset. In addition to being upset about the loss of my dog, I would probably harbor some level of aggression towards the person that caused me to get rid of it. I know that's not a very logical way of looking at it, because it was the dog's actions that really were the cause and not the person, but I'm just thinking about human nature here.

    Deny it as we might, people do get attached to their animals, and the loss of a pet in some cases is only exceeded by the loss of a loved one. That's because the pet IS loved and IS considered to be part of the family in many cases.

    All I'm saying is that having to get rid of the cat may have had some type of psychological or emotional impact (or harm if you prefer) to the owners of the cat, which would include both the mother and the boy. While that does not remove any and all culpability, I do believe it should be considered a legitimate mitigating factor. I think it is simply human nature to not be nice to people who hurt you. Taking revenge or holding some type of vendetta against the person that caused you pain isn't justified, but the human condition is one that would probably take some level of solace in making the person causing you the harm to feel as miserable as they made you feel.

    The kid may very well be causing some harm to the old woman, but I think it can be argued that the harm caused to the boy was even greater. In closing, I do like the judge's ruling here. He basically gave them 90 days to work it out between the two of them, and if they do, that's probably the best for all concerned. No punishment for the kid, and no more nasty meows directed at the woman is the best resolution.
     
  6. Ahrontil Gems: 8/31
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    Not as an answer to Aldeth's post, but simply as a point of interest from the UK perspective, Tony Blair, the British PM, has today suggested that tomorrow's potential troublemakers can be identified even before they are born, and that the government has to intervene much earlier in a vulnerable child's life to prevent problems developing when the child was older.

    In effect he has suggested taking action without any specific incident having to have taken place when the child's environment is seen as giving cause for concern. This is still only a half-formed concept for which scant details are available.

    The fact that this initiative was raised during his first interview since his three-week stay in the Caribbean shows, in my opinion, that the issue has some importance, if only as a means of winning votes (the whole 'before you are born' idea being an attempt at grabbing headlines through controversy).
     
  7. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    @Aldeth:

    It depends, really. ;) I'm mostly saying that he has no right to do what he does and it can be very annoying from the point of view of the old lady. It would be a different thing if the boy listened to the music she didn't like or something like that, but when he specifically aims to annoy her, then something is wrong. Therefore, it is a transgression of some degree. It's not just a matter of poor style like not saying hello would be. Mind you that it's been going on for quite some time and the boy has no intention of stopping even though he's been informed of the anguish his behaviour is causing. There must be a means of at least stopping him, if not atually making him make up for it somehow.

    Ideally, the British solution sounds well, i.e. order him to stop and if he doesn't, then punish him not for what he physically did, but for violating the court order.

    Again, it's possible that the old lady's actions led the family to getting rid of the cat, in the sense that she either overreacted and exaggerated things, or maybe even simply coloured them up and confabulated. That is something to reduce the boy's culpability, but it's not enough to give him a de facto permission to harass the old lady further.

    Also, if the old lady maliciously harassed the family into getting rid of the cat, she should have no recourse now except that the boy should stop meowwing at her. I believe that everyone has the right to demand a certain person to abstain from any interaction with himself. Therefore, since the meowwing is between the boy and the old lady, not involving any third parties or their interests, then the old lady should be able to cause it to cease simply because she's unwilling party to a bilateral activity. This doesn't automatically mean that she should be awarded any kind of damages, no, only that her demand to end the meowwing at her should be protected by the court.

    As for punishment, I don't know. It really depends on the circumstances of losing the cat and the effect the event had on the boy, as well as the effect of the old lady's behaviour on the boy. If he actually kept meowwing or doing anything else to annoy her after she demanded a stop, he should probably be punished, because it's a completely different situation when you're informed of the effects of your actions and asked to discontinue them. You can no longer claim you didn't know, didn't want, didn't notice etc. Most of all, however, the boy should be stopped. Only then, if he violates the court order to leave the old lady alone (not just meowwing, totally leave her alone and abstain from any annoyance whatsoever), he should incur proper punishment for violating a court order. At any rate, I don't see a fine or arrest material here, but some community service could do.

    Absolutely. Even up to the point of just ordering them to stop, although I believe they should answer at least for harassing the old lady even after she asked them to stop. This doesn't mean the old lady shouldn't answer for whatever harassment she may have committed, but that's a separate proceeding and the boy and his mother haven't filed any claim of their own.

    You could see it in many ways, for example that the original offender and the self-vindicator should both answer for each one's crime independently, or that the matter should be considered jointly, or that the smaller offender should be absolved and the bigger one incur proportionately reduced punishment. Personally, I believe that the original offence should always be punished, or at least answered for, regardless of what happened later. In judging the latter, justice demands taking into consideration all the circumstances of the act, as well as the mental state of the offender. This means that the self-vindicator, in so far as he had been really wronged, should incur reduced punishment. While taking revenge for being reported to the police could be an aggravating factor, taking more or less proportionate revenge for being made to give up a beloved animal should be a mitigating factor. At least so long as it's instinct and desperate and not a cold calculation accompanied by contempt for public justice. At any rate, I'm trying to speak from the point of view of the judge, not of the law. Those circumstances need to addressed individually and considered carefully in each individual case.

    It's very well possible, but we don't know for sure and we don't know what harm the cat caused to the old lady. If your neighbour's cat walks into your possession, a normal person will probably stroke the kittie, give it a little snack and take it back to the owner safely. But if the cat destroys your plants, turns the garden into one big mess and treats your lawn like one big litterbox, then it's obviously different. We don't really know what happened between the boy's family and the old lady. Obviously, the meows directed at her must stop, but I believe either she should receive no damages or the boy and his mother should be instructed that the circumstances warrant a claim of their own against the old lady.

    Yeah.

    @Ahrontil (quotes also from the BBC article):

    I agree. Sometimes those people aren't interested in their lives so long as they get enough money to drink or even just to go by without drinking or anything. Then enter either alcohol and abuse or simply abuse. People who have children should not be able to elect to stay jobless, for instance, unless they have enough income from other sources to provide for the child. If they suffer from personality disorders dangerous to their surroundings, the authorities should be able to force them to accept psychiatric aid.

    Absolutely. I only wish to make the reservation that couples or even single mothers should never be forced to have an abortion or even placed before an abortion or loss of social money dilemma. The parents' religious and other convictions should be respected, so the forced aid shouldn't serve as a leave for the government to brainwash the children with some ideology, e.g. they shouldn't turn kids into pro-choicers or tell them that premarital sex or gay sex is okay and what parents are telling them is wrong, just because the parents drink alcohol etc. What I'm saying is that preventing crime is one thing, while ideological upbringing is a different thing. I can easily see a left-wing government abusing these powers to instill pro-choice, pro-gay and whatever such politically correct convictions into children from troubled families. I can also see stupid clerks encouragaing Muslim girls to give up headscarves, telling Muslim or Orthodox Jewish kids that parents have no right to forgive eating pork hamburgers, Catholic ones that parents have no right to ban meat on Friday or in Lent etc etc. Just because a family is dysfunctional, doesn't mean clerks and social workers should be able to feed children with ideologies of their choosing.

    A valid concern indeed, although other people have some rights, too, so people shouldn't be able freely to pass on violent or otherwise antisocial inclinations.

    Agreed, dangerously close to Lombroso's theories. Still, certain circumstances are likely to cause children to turn into criminals. But I'd rather this were determined by carefully and rationally considered statistics, not by mere analysis.

    I seriously hope he's not considering ordering teenage or dysfunctional mothers to abort... Although I can surely understand even isolating teenagers who can't keep it zipped, until they grow up. :rolleyes:

    Just so long as there are no abortion orders.

    Yeah, but it doesn't always work.

    Agreed. That stinks of abortion orders, I'm afraid, or at least effectively causing pregnant girls to abort. Taking kids away from dysfunctional parents, or even ordering parents to have no more children, is one thing. Abortion orders would be a different one altogether.

    Agreed and it looks like judging them less worthy than children from normal families. Just so long as it is protecting the children from corruption, it's fine. Protecting the society from those children, after ruling them doomed, would be different. And wrong.

    Yeah.

    Yes, intervening when matters take a wrong course but before something really bad happens is better than intervening only after the really bad things already happen. But this shouldn't take the form of protecting the society from a group of unborn children, or to any form of genetic selection. I only support the idea of forcing people to accept treatment for addictions and other issues, to pick up social money that's there for them, to seek and fulfil their jobs if they have families to provide for. But this is the point where courts consider taking children away from parents in the current system.

    Ah, I would forget. The whole sex lib and "teenage casual sex is good and fun" idea is the culprit, not any shortcomings of the access to contraception that people have, so far as teenage pregnancies go. Wrong must finally be called wrong and there should be no more pretending that white is black and black is white. Children must be untaught the early sexual initiation habits or the revolutionary ideas that kindness and politeness is for sissies. :p Time to restore some respect and decency. :p
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I actually like that solution a lot. Basically, you tell him to stop doing what he's doing, but assuming he does in fact desist, then no punishment is forthcoming. Of course, it's not like that's a foolproof system. Even if he keeps doing it and the old lady hauls him back into court, it's going to come down to his word versus her word. Unless she gets a recording of him doing it and the time and date of said recording can be verified, there's no way to "prove" that he did it.
     
  9. Trellheim Gems: 22/31
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    I wouldn't really call two 'meow's harassing, I don't understand how a case like this could go to police investigation (well actually, in America, yes it can).

    I mean come on, tell the kid to to shut the hell up if he's bothering you.

    And btw, people, nobody has the time to read all your quotes ;)
     
  10. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    The article says the twice part is disputed and there's a version stating it's been two years. At any rate, why no police investigation if someone is forced to put up with hostile pranking by neighbours, especially something he actually gives a damn about, unlike most people who are able just to shrug it off? It's not like small cases aren't important: in fact, bigger cases tend to have neglected smaller beginnings. ;)
     
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