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Last Friday an 11 year, in Florida, was arrested on 2nd degree felony charges of using a "deadly weapon", which in this case was a slingshot.

The slingshot in this case appears to be a scratch built "toy balloon", made of a balloon, plastic milk jug top and some rubber bands, slingshot. The child says he shot a plastic pellet at a locker and it bounced off that and hit another boy in the chest.

a quote:

'I wasn't trying to hit him. It was an accident to shoot him,' he said soon after he was released from the Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center Tuesday night. 'I just want to say I'm sorry.'

more below the fold

This diary is from this article: Boy, 11, released from jail

The boy was released from jail about 72 hours after he was arrested on Friday.

Kevin's mother, Pam Cottle, said authorities overreacted, charging her son with a felony and locking him up in an Ocala facility with violent children.

'We just want the correct punishment,' she said. 'We'll accept community service, go to teen court, whatever the case may be -- but we do want the charges changed.'

Exactly who made the decision to arrest the boy wasn't totally clear in the article. The school and the arresting officer made calls to the State's Attorney's office before the arrest.

His family's attorney believes that the charges will be reduced in the future.

The school has started an explusion process. It does have a zero tolerance for any weapons policy.

as far as his parents go:

When asked about his release from jail, Kevin said he was hungry.

Despite the seriousness of the allegations, Pam Cottle said she'll worry about disciplining Kevin after he's back home. First, she'll feed him. 'It's not like I'm gong to reward him,' she said. 'But the kid is starving to death in there. . . . He is in trouble with his father and me. But that will wait until the day after he gets home.'


Properly made and with the right ammo a slingshot can be dangerous, but a "home" made one?

I know that various laws and the fear of lawsuits have twisted some aspects of "normal" life into weird shapes.


Surely there should be some room for rational adults to address minor problems like this and not HAVE to involve the police and other authorities.

Shaking my head...

thank you for reading

Originally posted to jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:10 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just a symptom of how (14+ / 0-)

    screwed up our schools have become.  Also the police.  All involved in this one are total idiots and shouldn't be in the employ of the tax payer...

    •  Unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeff3's gotten to the point where failure to act in this manner is grounds for a lawsuit.

      You can't get sued for following legal procedures and dealing with the consequences later. You can for failing to protect someone or some group.

      They may be idiots, but likely, they're all just covering their own asses.

      •  Yes, I gess that gets us into tort (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        reform and trial lawyer territory...

      •  Sued by whom? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This is nonsense, pure and simple.  It's nearly impossible to sue an agency for failing to act, for a number of reasons.  Such as governmental immunity, discretionary authority, lack of causation, etc.  It's instead yet one more case of idiots wanting to feel important by exaggerating a minor situation.  Kind of like kids now being arrested for all kinds of stupid things that were, for many years, treated as kids will be kids acts.  

        •  It seems very likely the parents of the boy who (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davefromqueens, jeff3

          was arrested will sue the school and involved school personnel plus law enforcement officers and their local entity employer for alleged violation of federal civil rights of their son.  Plus Eighth Amendment allegations against juvenile hall personnel and their public entity employer based on failure to feed the kid, etc.  

          What the arresting officer submitted to the prosecutor in requesting charges be filed, and what the prosecutor, in the prosecutor's discretion, decides to issue may be two different things.  I'm willing to wait and see what charges the prosecutor issues.  At least in California, one can be charged with a felony for possessing or using a dangerous and deadly weapon or a weapon likely to have the capability of causing great bodily injury.  Here, if the pellet struck the other student's eye, the possibility of great bodily injury is quite high.  

          •  But what they do AFTER the fact can't be used (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            as a basis to sue them.  Only that they were somehow negligent in failing to take appropriate steps to prevent it in the first place.  What they do once the injury has occurred is irrelevant and is generally not going to be admissible in any lawsuit.  
            Certainly they didn't take these actions in case the arrested boy sued.  

            •  Not sure I understand what you are saying. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I'm not suggesting the lawsuit I describe has merit.  My view is, once the parents go to the press, a lawsuit is probably going to follow.  

              •  The comment I responded to originally, (0+ / 0-)

                to which you then responded, to which I responded, to which . . .
                Anyway, the original comment was essentially excusing the actions of the administrator and police officers as acts to protect themselves against a potential lawsuit if they didn't take such extreme action.  To which I queried who would be suing them for failing to be ridiculous in their reaction to the situation.  I think things just took a tangent from there.

                •  Got it. Maybe I should adopt BTD's purported (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  current strategy of only responding to snarky comments.

                  I do agree that, given the civil litigation climate, schools must, as good risk management, err on the side of caution as to  kids bringing weapons, prescription medicine, etc. to school.  The child who is barred from attending the school has due process rights to a hearing after the fact.  Also, we have no information about the behavioral history of the child who was detained.    

  •  It's all fun and games until you lose (13+ / 0-)

    your habeus corpus rights.

    "No man should have to clean up after another man's dog." --President Gerald R. Ford

    by Mogolori on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:15:06 PM PST

  •  Our Dems in congress... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can probably really identify with the tyke.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:18:19 PM PST

  •  Kim better leave her watermelon gun at home. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShowMeProgressive, jeff3

    Spitballs are scary, too, if you can spit really well.

  •  Criminalize, criminalize, criminalize... (11+ / 0-)

    Every day, legislators, cops, prosecutors, and judges think of more ways and reasons to lock people up.  They're never too young to start.

    Just wait until the private prison companies really get cranked up.  Nothing like a prison lobbyist with lots of cash whispering in our legislator's ear:  More crimes, more conviction, longer sentences.  We need more bodies to fill our jails so we can make more campaign contributions.  Very scary indeed.  This country has gone punishment crazy!

    America:  Land of the free, and home of the caged!

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

    by Red no more on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:22:28 PM PST

    •  Prison Industrial complex (4+ / 0-)

      A hidden horror

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

      by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:26:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Second diary today (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NewDirection, Chaoslillith, AntKat, jeff3

        about locking up very young children.

        Inmate Faten Ibrahim was unlikely to escape. She lived at a compound built as a prison for Texas' worst criminals, within a perimeter of razor wire. Her eight-by-eight-foot cell offered only a thin sliver of window, her toilet in an open corner left no cover for stashing break-out tools, and, at any rate, cracking the cell's thick steel door at night would have tripped an alarm. She certainly wasn't going to try bolting, especially since Faten, who lived in the cell with her mother for three months, is five years old.

        They kept an 11-year-old in jail for THREE DAYS?  That's just beyond appalling.  I hope they get their assess sued off, and someone takes their juvie jail away from them.

        It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

        by Red no more on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:32:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for the link! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, AntKat

          shakes head in disgust. Once upon a time, this would not have happened....

          "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

          by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:37:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't know what worse... (5+ / 0-)

            that it's happening, or that most people are completely oblivious.

            Kind of like all the people killed in no-knock drug raids, people just yawn and fawn over Anna Nicole and Britney.  I guess people won't wake up until it's happening to them...

            It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

            by Red no more on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:49:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I, I, I (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              People, nowadays, look after themselves first! How the loss of rights of OTHER people can effect them isn't important.

              "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

              by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:53:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I'm reasonably well off and don't have any problem observing the law; no taste for drugs or anything like that. And I know plenty of other people like me who do indeed care about others they never expect to join. The real culprit here is not people, but rather the very crude caricature of people that people easily default to in order to pass in quick conversation since they are made to assume it is normal, or that they default to internally when they haven't examined an issue.

                •  OK, how's this then (0+ / 0-)

                  How many people will break their schedules/lives to help other people, especially people that live in very different social patterns?

                  My assumation is the number is smaller than necessary to change the present laws and, even more importantly, change the downward pattern of laws and effects on society. And, without a direct, on questions asked, effect on most people's lives this will not change. The event that will change that, will also greatly effect society in general in the US. (Exactly what that event will be, I don't know. Some sort of widespread disaster/martial law is my guess.)

                  "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

                  by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 08:20:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, Rodney King.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ...Had a pretty big impact. Made a democrat out of me, along with the first Gulf War. But there were strong countervailing forces. Probably the riots had a complimentary effect.

                    Clinton opted not to triangulate toward to promise of kinder and gentler.

                    I think that the simple solution cannot be ruled out. Saying to people that if they support insane levels of supposed security it is because they are cowards cannot be overlooked as an option. People want to be safe, but they want to be safe because they are strong, and they also want to be strong for it's own sake. Therefore, they will choose the strength that sane policies evidence, offered the option and that explanation.

                    It is possible that this level of penalization will prove impossible to sustain.

                    It's also possible that technological advances will revolutionize what criminal justice means, and indeed what security means in the first place. We'll see. We only think we know what technology may add to the mix and those ideas are dystopic. But imagine a world, if you will, where it would be very, very hard to harm another person or commit serious property damage or theft. Imagine the resultant revolution in liberty, and the insanity of locking most sorts of people up in such a world. If you feel resigned to certain things, so do I, but they don't need to be bad ultimately.

    •  they already are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, gustynpip, jeff3

      America has the highest percentage of its population behind bars of any industrialized country, IIRC, including China.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:33:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just another example (10+ / 0-)

    of how this country is going completely insane.

  •  This Is What Phrases Like Zero Tolerance (12+ / 0-)

    And "war on crime" mean.

    Wars have collateral damage and people should not invite that into their cities, neighborhoods, and families.
    Zero Tolerance = Intolerance.
    Intolerance = A Very Bad Thing. A thing we had to have an entire century to overcome in this country basically, and seem to have been unable so far to shake, but really must.

    •  Zero Tolerance sounds so RIGHT! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AntKat, gustynpip

      But it ignores that real life is fluid, and the laws/customs need to be adjustable. If not the law becomes a straight jacket...

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

      by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:30:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Doesn't Though (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wenchacha, Flinch, gustynpip, jeff3

        It doesn't sound right at all.
        It sounds like brutal totalitarianism wherein anyone who steps ever so slightly out of line or falls through a crack will be crushed like an insect and have his fellows nervously step around his or her still-twitching limbs, anxious not to be singled out in turn.

        Zero tolerance is precisely the sort of thing that they say in fascist regimes but, actually, in Nazi Germany they couldn't go quite so far with the brutal rhetoric. Here many if not most people joke about the weak becoming brutalized sex slaves in prison. There, they had to call additional detention beyond original sentencing "protective custody."

        We have, in fact, one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and the real insanity is that anyone bats an eyelash at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib when we have the most prisoners of any nation on earth. And we are not, by nature, more criminal.

        We lead the world, vastly, in prisoners, whether in raw numbers or per capita:

        United States of America
        December 2001


        Russian Federation
        September 2002


        December 2001

        217 697

        September 2001

        South Africa
        June 2002

        Islamic Republic of Iran
        April 2002

        June 2000

        And this is because of the "wars" fought on victimless activities like marijuana, largely, whereas other countries do not prosecute such wars and somehow still exist.

        Not all are guilty (enough people on death row have been exonerated by DNA evidence to cast doubt on cases with less care paid). Long sentences and stigma mean that hard work and luck can do little to correct mistakes of the penal system. They also mean that people who made mistakes and committed crimes have less incentive to be productive... For what? To wash dishes and live in a hovel at best?

        Bear in mind too, the direct cost to their families and the psychological effect on their families. This stuff destroys people, families, whole communities, indeed whole classes. In my lifetime the whole notion of rehabilitation has been replaced wholesale with forced sodomy and infection with AIDS, not to even get into what maximum security prisons have evolved into, which you probably have no clue about.

        There is not slippery slope here. We are at the bottom, the absolute global bottom. Other countries can point to poverty and dictatorship as excuses for their excess, but we have none.

        •  You are very correct (5+ / 0-)

          I believe the most recent figure on prisoners in the US is over 3 million (plus another 1 million in city/county lockups).

          It sounds right to people that either don't want to think about the problems that Zero Tolerance causes, or aren't told the problems. Given the very limited coverage in the major news, my hope is the people aren't being told and IF told about things will change. My fear is that people may not care...

          "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

          by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:04:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And More Prisons Being Built (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler, jeff3

            Ultimately, how much difference is their between semi-permanent incarceration, and simply gassing them all, upon society?

            I don't mean to seem at all to belittle how definitely innocent people have been targeted as in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, this is not that. But all it takes for full-on fascism is for one little excuse to be enough to come down on a person like a ton of bricks.  We are more than there, and Democrats are not helping. At all, on the whole.

            Really the whole point of fascism is ironclad conformism, and it need not be defined on racial lines. Of course the proportion of African-Americans behind bars is a possible counterargument but really it is much more about class. Nobody ever wants to stick up for, gasp, criminals, and that's why fascism dies a slow death typically as people one by one wise up due to personal acquaintance. Moreover, the degree of repression across all of society in fascism is wildly overstated; people focus on the extremes and this allows them to feel it isn't happening, so long as X, Y, and Z don't happen.

            Well, the solution obviously isn't more alarmism or the chaos on which it feeds. We need to resurrect the idea of a republic wherein "the individual" is the client of government, and not the liability government seeks to destroy for its very impertinent nature.

  •  WTF? (11+ / 0-)

    The boy was released from jail about 72 hours after he was arrested on Friday.

    Why was this child held for 72 hours?

    I have zero tolerance for child abuse!

    *Needed* A Dem who can win PA-18 in 2008!

    by AntKat on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:32:31 PM PST

  •  I can't imagine being that boy's parents for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    those 72 hours.
    And why in the hell was he hungry?
    Don't we feed our budding felons in prison?

    *Needed* A Dem who can win PA-18 in 2008!

    by AntKat on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:39:14 PM PST

  •  Didn't even warrent expulsion (9+ / 0-)

    I teach kids a little older than this.  This was an offense which warrented a supsension of several days but certainly did not even rise to the level of even expulsion much less imprisonment.   The moronic administrator who called the police should lose his certification.

    President of the Elders of Zion Chapter 112

    by Pumpkinlove on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:44:45 PM PST

  •  Breaking News (10+ / 0-)

    George orders Dennis the Menace waterboarded in Gitmo

    I got nuthin (-6.88, -6.15)

    by guyermo on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:45:52 PM PST

  •  My understanding is that in (5+ / 0-)

    New Jersey you can be charged under firearms law for hitting someone with a baseball. They consider anything propelled (even by arm) as a missile and a conviction is an automatic 5 years.

    "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

    by java4every1 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 06:54:06 PM PST

  •  It seems common to "overcharge" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, jeff3

    ...that is, to go for charges that are significantly more severe than reality justifies.

    Lake sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Mysinger ... said it's common for deputies to consult with prosecutors in certain circumstances.

    'When you have a case that borders on several different statutes and you're trying to decide which one is the best fit -- it's not uncommon,' she said.

    But when you're going for completely the wrong charge - don't talk to anyone.

    •  Go to show that I'm TOUGH on criminals (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, Joffan

      "I can't be weak on crime!" local lawyer. So, to be visibly tough on crime, "Let's throw the book at everyone!"

      Instead of "This is a waste of resources, people. Parents you will talk to and punish the child. School admin you will talk to the teacher, to increase that teachers awareness about what is happening in the class."

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

      by jeff3 on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:09:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Real slingshots... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, jeff3

    are serious weapons, however...

    You can kill small animals very easily with a slingshot. And easily take an eye out (not snarking).

    Just sayin'. Slingshots are not toys.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 07:26:36 PM PST

  •  So (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oculus, jeff3

    this young man may be saddled with a felony record for the rest of his life ? he may have to answer yes on every job application he fills out that asks about convictions? For bringing and accidentally shooting off a sling shot at school? Goodness :(


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