Thursday, September 3, 2009

'Social Victim' Slaps Toddler at Wallmart---A Folk Hero?

Stone Mountain, Georgia: Yesterday 61-year old Roger Stevens, after listening to a 2-year old toddler screaming and crying in a cart, walked up to the child's mother, Sonya Matthews, and said: "If you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you". The mother didn't and he did!

It is reported that Stevens slapped 'the screamer' four times and the child shut up. Stevens was then arrested on felony charges of 'cruelty to children'.

Looking at a picture of Roger Stevens it is clear he could exact some real damage on anyone if he had his heart in it. According to follow up medical reports, "the child's face was slightly red". The child was not hurt and Stevens was clearly measured with his physical assault.

NOW! If anyone slapped MY CHILD in a similar circumstance the perpetrator would be in ICU forthwith. And I think most parents would feel the same way.

At the same time, certainly, more than 99.99% of us, when hearing and dealing with the inconsiderate rudeness of other parents not controlling their children would not take any physical action at all. In essence, virtually all of us would not do anything when dirty, hacking, coughing screaming, unruly, little children are allowed to run wild and literally take control of public places.

Many parents of small and young children are considerate and conscious of others peace and comfort when their children misbehave. But a lot are not. At one time or another, I'm sure we all have been the victims of the 'social crime' Roger Stevens experienced yesterday. But, we 'victims' never seem to get any justice. Mr. Stevens took justice into his own hands because of the great disconnect between these 'rotten-parent citizens' and the rest of us.

Did Roger Stevens strike a blow or blows, 4 of them in this situation, for those of us who are also 'social victims'? At the movie theater, a big box store, a mall, the grocery store, a restaurant ..... how many times have we been interrupted by a 'screamer' sounding like a shrill Sarah Palin singing The Star Spangled Banner on an iceberg? How about obnoxious pre-teens running up and down isles, pushing and shoving one another, playing on carts and messing with blood pressure machines, spreading their viruses and bacteria while their parents nonchalantly eat their nachos and big-macs? And the rest of us walk in it, hear it, and somehow reluctantly accept this tyranny and trail of garbage, bodily fluids and residue.

Yesterday, it seems one 'social victim' got "mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore". And, Roger Stevens took matters into his own hands. Is Roger Stevens some kind of Folk Hero because of his action? Maybe. But, he's also in jail for his work.

Certainly, strangers should not be able to slap kids around for any reason. And, I'm pleased we have law prohibiting it with appropriate penalties.

Some would hope, however, that Mr. Stevens felony charge would be reduced to an infraction, a fine paid with an order to stay away from children, and perhaps a 12-step program, 'Slap Brats Anonymous' or some such. Sounds right to me. How about you?

John


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