Not a ‘bad kid,’ just a ‘dumb mistake’
Regarding the article, "Guns drawn at Wakefield centre" (The Low Down, Nov. 11), I would like to clear up some of the impressions that the article gave: I can do this because my son was there for this incident.
One of his elementary school friends was at the community center with a friend of his from Hadley. This Hadley friend – I'll call him Frank – was from Gatineau, I believe, and not Wakefield. He was due to sleep over at the friend's house for the first time.
My son had never met Frank.
While these kids were hanging out, some other kids were also hanging out on bikes nearby (maybe 20 feet away). Frank started calling out to the kids saying, "Hey, give me your bike." My son assumed this kid was just joking and being a bit of an ass. Frank then took out his BB gun and waved it around saying, "I have a gun." My son’s friend told him to put the gun away. My son thought he should tell the kids it was a joke, since the kids looked alarmed, but the kids left on their bikes right away (no doubt scared because they left to call the police).
Obviously Frank should never have done what he did: it’s inexcusable. But my son was certain this kid was being an absolute ass, and not someone who was trying to steal a bike nor assault anyone. He had brought the BB gun because he had expected to do some supervised target practice during the friend's sleepover. When the cops came, all the kids – Frank, my son and friend(s) – were made to lie on the ground and were handcuffed. Parents were called.
When I got there and was informed what had happened, the cop told me regarding the handcuffs: "We put on a good show" and I believe that they did [that] to make a point — that none of this dangerous nonsense and idiocy was to be tolerated. Based on my son’s reaction, I believe the point was made and well taken.
I don't believe Frank is a bad kid, but rather a kid who made a very dumb mistake because he was likely trying to show off and thought he was being funny. None of these kids will ever forget this, and thankfully nobody was hurt.
A concerned parent
Editor’s note: The Low Down has omitted the author's name and any other information in this letter that might identify any youth involved in this incident.