Fighting mad!!!

20 Nov

I’m angry!!!  Now, I do tend to have a bit of a temper. Usually it comes from irresponsibility on the part of my children or a disrespect from them towards me or each other. But other than that, I’m pretty even tempered. Usually care free and chipper. Not today!  Today I’m just angry.

This has been brewing inside me for a few days now and today I’ve decided to voice my opinion. I rarely watch the news. In fact, I can’t remember the last time there was cable in the Wampler houseshold. We have too many other things to be doing than camping out in front of the tube. And my kids would much rather be running and playing out side. We don’t have video games. Well, that’s not entirely true. We have one…still in the box from 4 Christmas’ ago. My kids just have no interest. But I do catch the news online.

Have you been watching the story of the 8 year old accused of murdering his father and friend? There is still a decision to be made of whether to charge this 8 year old a an adult!!  Are you kidding me? An adult??

I’ve spun this around in my blond head over and over thinking of all the reasons, all the scenarios. Anyone have an 8 year old out there? I have a 9 year old. He’s happy, good kid in school, bit of a temper if you push him…but at 9 to think he has the capability to understand “Forever”. To know that life can end quickly and that’s it. There’s no coyote come back. No return from the dead for another round. He doesn’t get that. In fact when our cat died last year, he kept waiting for her to return. We buried her, dug the whole, covered her up, flowers, cross…the whole nine yards. He didn’t get it.

My first thought is…what the heck was going on in that home? Now, I don’t mean abuse at all. There aren’t any signs and I really don’t think that was the case…who knows? But where is the mother of this 8 year old? She doesn’t have custody. I’ve said a million times…when a child’s mom can’t keep it together, they are lost. Dad maybe. Tough but kids learn to deal (even with emotional damage), but mom?

How in this situation can the parents NOT be held completely responsible. I’m not even just talking gun safety, though that certainly has to be a factor. I’m all for guns. Got a couple myself. That’s another story. What does the 8 year old watch on TV? Who watches him after school? He said, “after school I walk around the block but I don’t tell my parents.” Where are the parents? Is he a latchkey kid? What? What was going on that the parents weren’t 100% engaged and present (in the sense of responsibility) .

As a society, parents have dropped the ball. It infuriates me. Parents are checking out. Blame it on a two family income, blame it on the economy. Whatever you choose. But as parents, we’re turning our kids loose into an insane world and leaving them to the wolves.

I know the woes of a dusty wallet. I gave up a $33/hr job for a $10/hr job. Stupid, I know. Why? Because as a single parent I was going off to work at 6am. My little ones were getting themselves ready to school, walking themselves to school, getting themselves home, and waiting a good hour or so for me to finally arrive.  I was looking down the road and all I could see were three angry, out of control, emotionless children. I then suffered from a third heart attack.  It was a wake-up call.  It was time to make a change.

I look around at the kids in my neighborhood. There’s a 7 year-old girl mooning my boys. A 13 year-old dressing provocatively and cursing like a sailor. What’s going on? When as parents will we make the commitment to be completely involved in all aspects of our children’s lives. When will we as a whole stop medicating our children and start mentoring them and training them in the way they should go?

My heart aches for this 8 year old. I want to wrap my arms around him and rock him. I want to laugh with him.  Do I think locking him away for life will solve his ‘issues’? I don’t believe they are HIS issues. They are ours. Now, I’m not one to trust in the rehabilitation of criminals…depending on the situation. I believe murderers and rapist should be put to death. No questions asked. But a child? An 8 year old?

Who do we point the finger at and how do we turn our children around? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this.


Posted by on November 20, 2008 in encouragement


10 responses to “Fighting mad!!!

  1. David M Pitchford

    November 20, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I understand your outrage. Even feel some of it myself.
    Here’s something to ponder, though . . . at 8, I knew very well I was going to kill my stepfather. Knew with which gun. Knew how to shoot, and where to shoot him. It was just a matter of him crossing some line I’ve forgotten over the intervening 30+ years. But I know I was willing to rot in jail or swing from the gallows for it (I have no idea what their method of institutionalized murder was in Arkansas in 1975, but I had in mind they would hang me). And I was certain Jesus was going to forgive me the moment I popped up into heaven. So . . . I can imagine the kid thinking it through and making what to him was a well-reasoned decision. But I don’t have any idea of the details. I don’t read about such things. Gives me bad thoughts and feelings – kind of a PTSD sort of thing, wanting to either close myself in or make the rest of the world go away.
    Obviously, I did not shoot my stepfather. He’s alive and well and living about an hour’s drive from me. And he’s still with my mom . . . but that’s a novel unto itself. And I’ve managed to stay out of jail. And life has had some very good moments between then and now; I’m even fairly chummy with my stepfather these days.
    I believe I was an exceptional child (and having the redline/flatline self-esteem I have, that’s a very bold statement I can only make anonymously thanks to the wonders of modern technology). But I know very well from what I’ve learned and experienced over the rest of my life that even the most exceptional child may have a keen intellectual understanding of felony and prosecution, but they can in no way ‘realize’ the significance of all that. Which is to say that I very much agree with you that it is quite absurd to even consider trying him as an adult.
    I guess maybe the big difference between your compassion and mine is that I want to hold the poor murderer in a sheltering embrace . . . under water until his pain is over and he can go on to whatever comes after this life. Because I know the guilt of murder, though only by intent and not by action, and what it can do to you over forty years, and I would save him from it if I could. I’d save anyone I could from that. And if the kid is beyond guilt . . . we need better mental health sciences, and facilities for such persons.
    Also, I agree with you to some smaller degree that parents should have some culpability. Parents whose kids cache weapons and commit mass murders in schools and malls should at least be charged for negligent homocide if not as accessories. Though in the case of a “broken home” in which one parent is absent more than the other, that is, one parent has more custody time, it gets complicated to sort out responsibility.
    I’m very much ambivalent about executions. But then I have a lot of rather radical ideas about the whole ‘justice system’ in this country especially. And so, I’m very happy to have made of myself, instead of a polititian or law-enforcement officer, a writer — and have the authority to unilaterally kill or resurrect anyone on my page 😉

  2. Marvin D Wilson

    November 20, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Very heavy and complex topic, Katrina. I’ve been observing parenting decline in quality ever since my generation, the Hippies, “grew up” and became the selfish, greedy, me me me I want everything for me and a life of fulfillment for me” Yuppies. Then they raised the generation X and the slackards.Each generation of parents (more like sperm donors and recipients) has failed worse than the one before, and now the “family” is a far cry form the 50’s when I was born and a kid.

    I understand your anger, even share it. I was also profoundly impressed with David’s testimony and comments. An eight year old CAN be fully aware of right and wrong good and evil and CAN premeditate murder. However, and this gets back to the lack of parenting issue, how in the hell does an 8 yr old grow up so fast become so worldly, be so enraged and full of hatred at that early an age that he chooses to take a life?

    No parenting. No love. No God. That’s how.

  3. Katrina Wampler

    November 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Well it sounds (and I can only assume) there was abuse in your situation. I understand that all too well. I too had thoughts of killing my step father as well as myself. Never thought of being hung or anything just that I wanted the abuse to stop.

    In this child’s case, and we just can’t tell, I don’t think that abuse was the case. Maybe it was. We may never know. But as a whole, in our society, I believe parents have just checked out! They are no longer active participants. Parenting is not a spectator sport.

    Have you seen the news in Nebraska where parents are dropping off teenagers. Why? Now, I by no means have wonderful well behaved kids 100% of the time. I have one that tries my nerves on a good day. I’ve spent many nights in tears and prayer over her. How much more worse would it be if I just threw up my hands and said, “not my problem anymore”?

    Our kids are screaming for help. They’re screaming for direction. When we look the other way, for whatever reason, our children are forced to make it on their own and they simply do not have the capability to make the right choices.

    This 8 year old probably can not comprehend the magnitude of what he’s done. One day he will and he will need effective counseling and a lot of compassion. He will need parents that are committed to giving him the best chance at a decent life. Assuming he doesn’t spend the rest of his life in juvenile detention and then onto prison.

    Thank you so much, David for your comment.

  4. Katrina Wampler

    November 20, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    you are so right Marivn! No parenting!

    As I’ve said, it really makes me angry. Parenting is tough. I don’t blame it on broken homes. Some of the best kids come from broken homes if both parents remain committed to parenting and do so together.

    I see the kids around us. Some of my kids’ friends. They are in 2 parent homes and worse off than my kids. Why? The parents just aren’t paying attention. One mom even said to me, “I just figured they’d somehow be ok.”

    We can’t assume they’ll be ok. We have to be vigilant in knowing where they’re going, who they’re with, what they’re watching, etc. That is our #1 job, our first priority. Kids can live without materialistic things. They’re better off without most of them and may have a better chance at becoming the productive adults we should be raising. They can not, however achieve that on their own….without effective parenting.

  5. Terri Main

    November 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I think it is ridiculous that the law considers someone under 18 not competent enough to sign a contract or (under 16) drive a car, but down into grade school, they consider “adults” for criminal activity.

    Be consistent. Besides, I believe in redemption. Sure punish the child. But also repair him.


  6. Katrina Wampler

    November 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    wonderful point, Terri. Just doesn’t make sense does it?

  7. CJParker

    November 20, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    We’ve taken God out of our children’s life. They can’t pray. They can’t talk about God or religion in school for fear of being sent to the principals office. Parents are “gone” most of the time and sometimes someone else is raising them, if they’re lucky. Parents blame the teacher when their kids do wrong. “My boy/girl would never do that!” How the hell would you know? You’re never there. Kids are acting out to get attention. Why? Because Mom and Dad couldn’t care less. And God forbid we should give our kids a smack on the butt. That is abuse.

    So let’s see…no God, no prayer, no attention, no discipline=delinquent kid.

  8. Katrina Wampler

    November 20, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    absolutely!!! It’s time that parents take an active role in parenting. Teach our children to pray again, to live their lives in a Godly manner. But first, we must model such behavior.

  9. joyceanthony

    November 20, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    I honestly don’t believe he did kill them. I’ve followed the case, listened to the “confession” and being an intuitive, felt what I could. It just doesn’t add up.
    Now, for a general statement (coming from the point of a Psychologist, mother and daycare worker). Yes, an 8-year-old is capable of planning and carrying out a murder–and understanding the implications. Trying that child as an adulkt, however, makes no sense. While he/she would be capable intellectually of the crime, emotionally he/she would not be on an adult level to deal with the consequences involved in adult punishment.

    In addition, there would have been numerous signs pointing to this possibility long before an act was commited. It is here that parents would need to step in-and many don’t.
    Like you, Katrina, I left a good-paying job with great benefits to be with my son, who had emotional issues requiring a full-time mother. I chose to work where I could be with him as much as possible. Priorities are often messed up in today’s ociety–and the children end up losing 😦

  10. David M Pitchford

    November 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I think this is the single most important point of this entire discussion:
    “But first, we must model such behavior.” (Katrina said it)

    God? Well, God it there no matter what. Religion and instruction are different matters. Good religion is the best thing any society can offer. Bad religion is the single greatest force for evil in the world (yes, of course this is merely my opinion). Overall, I think it boils down to the matter of bad or no modeling. Kids learn from watching and imitating far more than they learn from listening – that’s hardwired into our physical beings, the animal part of us.
    I cling stubbornly to the hope and faith that compassion is far more powerful than contempt. And I lament that our society at-large tends to favor contempt and scoff at compassion. That’s something we can all work on to better the world and America where we are – this is the action we can take locally to start the healing.
    David M Pitchford


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