Monday, December 22, 2008

You go, Dad!

Humiliate: [Late Latin humiliāre, humiliāt-, to humble, from humilis, humble; see humble.]
Dennis Baltimore Jr. was caught vandalizing school property at Long Beach's Wilson Classical High School.

He was sentenced by his dad to walk the streets of Long Beach and Signal Hill on Tuesday for five hours in two locations wearing a sign saying, "I am a juvenile delinquent who should be punished. I have wasted your tax money with dumb acts of vandalism in the public schools."

The lede asks "Cruel and unusual punishment or just good, old-fashioned discipline?" as though there were necessarily a difference. A punishment that's "usual" soon becomes ineffective, and an effective punishment requires a certain measure of cruelty. It can be overdone easily, of course, but the point is to make him really, really not want to be in that situation again.

The kid's not suffering any permanent harm. He's just learning some desperately-needed humility. My parents would have done this, too. The fact that he accepted his punishment even though he's too big to use brute force on, indicates that he's been pretty well raised so far. He did something stupid and destructive, and his dad is reacting appropriately.

I'll bet anything we don't see this kid on America's Most Wanted in ten years. Way to go, Dad!

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