One of the most frustrating things about being in retail, and having merchandise which attracts kids is the shoplifting. You know they’re swiping things, usually candy, gum, small toys, primarily because they are little boys and other little boys dare them to do it. Unfortunately, it usually was not the kid who was at fault, but their parents who let them get away with it. When I could, I would let the kid know he/she was being watched. When that happened, they usually put the item back. There were also times when a kid was just bad. The worst of it, though, was when an entire family of shoplifters would come in and work their way through your merchandise. I once had a magnificent Zuni inlay squash-blossom necklace disappear that way. No business owner in their right mind would call the cops on a child for swiping a pack of gum.
In Post Falls, Idaho, evidently they don’t realize the Bloody Code, enacted in the 1660s in England, was repealed in 1814. During those years, a child the age of nine could be executed. Much has been made of the law, and quite a bit has made its way into fiction. A quick search of the records shows that young children were not executed, or don’t appear to have been. Instead, they went prison or were transported. A 9-year-old boy in Post Falls is now in juvenile detention, thanks to Kootenai County prosecutor Barry McHugh, who issued the warrant after the child failed to appear in court – twice.
First, you don’t arrest a child and put them in the county lock-up for stealing a pack of gum. You arrest the parent or guardian and put the child in a decent home – if they don’t have one. Does the prosecutor comprehend that a 9-year-old child is NOT responsible for his or her comings and goings? The town’s chief of police was disgusted with the fact that he had to serve the warrant. His 15-year-old brother was also in trouble and is also in juvenile lock-up, because the parents lacked a way to get them to court.
Let’s put blame where blame belongs – with the owner of the business who had the unmitigated gall to have cops arrest a 9-year-old kid for stealing gum, and refusing to drop the charges. It is obvious the parents don’t have the capacity to help their children. Let’s just hope that some enterprising litigator steps in and destroys the business owner who did this to the poor child. This is child abuse, nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve been discussing prosecutorial over-reach for ages, since the events in Ferguson. Yes, we have a problem with some cops, but the real problem is not with cops, but with county prosecutors who are using this sort of thing to make their name so they can be tough on crime, and run for Congress.
One wonders about the judge who signed the warrant and the prosecutor who is pushing it. Idaho is big into the whole libertarian thing. I wonder who is making money off the system, while they destroy this child?