Monday, May 23, 2005


People always seem to ask for advice about hiring a lawyer after they've already hired one. Again one of my friends has had their kid do something stupid at school and is facing criminal proceedings, and the parent is looking for some way to find another blame assignment person other than their own clogged selves. It is amazing.. and it just puts me in mind of the soft school/hard school discussion that I had the other day. There's a book out about soft/hard culture shifts in the C. Wars that is true enough here.

This kid was fooling around in class and put something in his teacher's coffee cup and was outed by the other kids in the class, he was called on the carpet and fessed up... then the school principal called the cops and the kid was charged with attempted murder. Turns out the chemical prank was poison (I don't think the kid realized what he was putting in the cup.) Anyhow, now the kid is charged witha capital felony and the mama got a lawyer, who charged her 10K$ and she asked if that was too much and what could she do now. After telling her that a contract is a contract there wasn't much that anyone could do. I started thinking about what was happening.

That kid did something incredibly thoughtless and was called down on it. He probably didn't "really" mean to commit a felony, but he did.. now he thinks that since he's a kid that somehow it will be fixed. Not. And the mama is just as boneheaded about the deal. She recruited a lawyer, signed a contract with the man to represent her son, and now wants to go shopping for another lawyer. Duh.

I'd say the lady was the reason why the kid is such a lose cannon. His idea of a harmless joke is to put poison in someone's coffee. Now his mother thinks that the school is somehow to blame because the man should not have been drinking coffee and leaving his cup out where anyone could put poison in it. Suddenly there's this not so subtle shift of responsibility.

Where did we go wrong as a culture? I don't know. There is a real shift from being a kid.. what the French call the "age ingrate" and being a functioning adult. You can track a boy who is capable of being a total moron at 16 yet becomes a responsible and capable adult working in industry or being a soldier.. by the time he is in his middle twenties.. and the same kid is like a totally different person. The shift is that the kid gets away from the nurturing soft irresponsible teens and tweenies... and gets out into he real world of having to pay for his own screwups.

That mama never has had to pay for anything... until now.

Why did we allow this softness ever to intrude on our lives in the first place? I never had it.And I am continually amazed that other people can't see what is coming down on their heads until they are charged with having to be responsible for thier own folly.

Jesus... committing a capital crime, a life felony, as a joke... then not thinking that anyone will call them on it.