Two incidents involving children, two very different letters
We want to thank The Low Down for providing our community with a platform to address tough issues. In the last two issues, two parents’ Letters to the Editor really contrasted each other: “No world in which kids should feel intimidated on their way home,” Nov. 17 edition and “Not a ‘bad kid’ just a ‘dumb mistake,’” Nov. 24 edition.
To the anonymous parent of “Not a ‘bad kid...’”, thank you for providing more details about the incident where your son was with a kid who threatened other children with what appeared to be a gun.
Yes, people make dumb mistakes all the time, but threatening children with a gun isn’t just a “very dumb mistake” and standing by doing nothing (as your son did) isn’t just a “very dumb mistake.”
In your letter, you wrote, “My son thought he should tell [the threatened kids] it was a joke, since the kids looked alarmed, but the kids left….” Your son didn’t have to continue hanging out with the gun owner. He could have stood up to him, left, called you or called the police. In the end, he was handcuffed because, by doing nothing, he was taking part in the threat.
Then there is the issue of why kids are hanging out in playgrounds brandishing what appeared to be a real gun, threatening to steal bikes.
Maybe the community shouldn’t blame the kids but the parents that are not equipping their children with the right moral compass. Whether those involved thought this was a joke or not, we’re confident the children on the receiving end didn’t see it as a joke. Would any of us accept what looks like a gun pointed in our direction as a joke or a dumb mistake?
Rather than writing a letter trying to absolve the perpetrator and your son, you could have written a letter of apology.
In the Nov. 17 Letter to the Editor we noted above [“No world…”], a concerned parent wrote about their child’s account of gender-based violence experienced on the way home from school. These parents initiated free workshops about positive masculinity and implored readers to “educate yourselves, talk to your kids.”
Dec. 6 is fast approaching — this day marks the École Polytechnique massacre, and it is a sobering time to have discussions with our kids about the ongoing threats of misogyny and violence. Our police shouldn’t have to put on “a good show” to scare kids into doing the right thing.
To all the kids on the receiving end of threats and violence in Wakefield over the past few weeks, we are deeply sorry you had to experience this, and we’re impressed with your maturity in not escalating the situations. And to the victims’ parents: thank you for doing the right thing by getting the right help instead of standing by doing nothing.
Gwen and Borden Smid