Edmond Oklahoma, a city of about 68,000, is known for being the site of the first post office massacre (1986); the home of the most-decorated American gymnast, Shannon Miller (1992 and 1996); and the site of Yankee legend Bobby Murcer’s burial place (2008). But from this date forward, it should be known as “Home of the World’s Stupidest Prosecution.”
A few days ago, a 10 year old boy was arrested for hitting another 10 year old in the face. One punch, no medical treatment. The event occurred on the sideline of a football team practice. When the boy was asked why he hit the other he replied that the victim had been bullying him for days, both physically and verbally and that when the boy said something to him at practice, it was the last straw and he just hauled off and hit him. His father said this to reporters:
“He advised his son to “sock him in the face” in order to stand up for himself” Good for him. Dad, who like me has three boys, went on to state that he teaches all three of his sons to stand up to bullies. Good for him. After the ten second brawl, some parent called 911. When the police arrived, they assessed the situation and determined that it was best handled between the parents. They left without taking any action. Good for them.
But tough-as-nails prosecutor Town Attorney Steven Murdock wasn’t going to let lawlessness run rampant in central Oklahoma! No sirreebob! He arrested the little guy and had him arraigned in Juvenile Court on assault charges which carry up to 60 days in jail. Now the whole “standing up to bullies” thing really rings true for me. I advised all three of my boys to do the same thing if trying to talk sense to the bully did not work. I also advised them to warn them of their last chance. In 6th grade my oldest had to karate kick a kid in the groin after the kid and another were bullying and teasing him over a few days time. Fight over, no more bullying. School administrators did not even punish him because witnesses told them that my son was in the right.
But let’s say the whole bullying thing was made up, there was no bullying, the little guy just felt like hauling off on someone for the thrill of it. He’s 10 years old. He’s a fifth grader. He does not deserve to be handcuffed and dragged into court.
This is just the latest case in a growing trend around the country of criminalizing acts that are just common everyday life occurrences. Society should not police every wrong . We need to be able to raise children who deal with these issues on their own and with the help of their parents. Yes, the kid needs to be disciplined if there was no bullying or provocation; yes he should be spoken to by his parents; yes school officials ought to watch and see if there is a pattern of assaultive behavior. But making a court case out of it. Nonsense.
Steve Murdock ought to be ashamed of himself. And he better watch out, it looks like even 10 year olds in Oklahoma know how to deal with a bully.