Last week, a tragedy occurred in Kansas City...an 18-month old little boy drowned in the bath-tub. As police looked into the situation, they found out that the tragedy was worse than it appeared to be...the 18-month old was actually drowned in the tub by a 5-year old, while a 16-year old babysitter slept through the whole thing. This story, about how the police were investing the act as a crime, and possibly looking into charging the 5-year, fired me right up.
I guess, from further research, there is no minimum age for 'legal responsibility' in Missouri, so there is nothing saying that the state CAN'T file criminal murder charges against a 5-year old...but, in this case, my initial thought was the person guilty here was the 16-year old who slept through this happening.
A little research, and reading more than one take on the story, has changed my mind yet again. This story provides a little more detail, and changes who the blame belongs to. According to the newest story, the two children were left home with a teenager who was mentally handicapped.
Mentally handicapped can have a wide range of application...but, of course, I picture the worst...like someone with Down's Syndrome( no offense to folks with Down's...but it is the image that comes into my mind when the media uses a term like 'mentally handicapped').
IF someone left an 18-month old and a 5-year old home alone with someone that has any REAL degree of mental retardation(once again, not a PC term, sorry) then THAT someone is the guilty party.
After all that offending, and backing and filling, it's obvious that the 5-year old will need some help. If 'pressing charges' is what it takes to get her some help...well, so be it. I am the first one to jump up and say 'punish the guilty, punish them NOW, and punish them harshly'...but...a 5-year old, while she can commit a crime, can not be 'mentally guilty'. I would like to think my own 5-year old would not do this...but I can see a 5-year old thinking 'This kid is making noise, and I know holding him under water will make him stop' but not realizing that the 18-month old will never make noise again.
Another 'sad all around' thing.