What a 10 Year Old Knows

Pennsylvania girl, 10, charged with tossing crack during drug raid:

A 10-year-old girl has been charged with evidence tampering after authorities say she tossed small bags of crack cocaine out of a window during a drug raid.

Kudos to the appropriate authorities for bringing this outlaw to justice! She was a dangerous villain, no doubt:

District Attorney Andy Jarbola said the girl had a “bad attitude” during police questioning.

“What’s so amazing about this investigation is how street-smart this 10-year-old child was,” he said. “She knew what she was doing.”

If she was a public school student, which might not be an easy assumption given the circumstances, I would have to commend her civics teacher for instilling the subtleties of evidence tampering and probably conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and false statements criminal charges to the child.

However, I think this is just a district attorney out for prosecutions for their own sake or worse, for the sake of furthering his career. Because from what I remember of my fifth grade year, my parents were paramount to my moral upbringing, and although they instilled me with a solid enough foundation of if the police can prosecute you for it, don’t do it, other children within the projects probably missed that. Without some other a priori religious or philosophical framework in place, perhaps this child thought that keeping mommy out of jail was a value worth preserving and that she had a moral imperative to defend her family life against arbitrary outsiders.

Jarbola said, “She knew what she was doing.” Indeed, it’s hard not to know what one’s doing when one is undertaking an action. This ten-year-old child was apparently throwing crack out of the window. The thing mommy stored or sold. Because the police were coming. I am sure that this was all within the child’s mind unless the mother was also a hypnotist. However, whether the child knew this was wrong is another matter. But not to Jarbola. Jarbola has actus reus, which is all The Man needs these days.

Frankly, I would like Jarbola to explain to the child why it’s wrong that Mommy is selling a product that alters the brain chemistry to willing consumers. That it’s illegal because it’s bad, and it’s bad because it’s illegal, or whatever simplicities and banalities Jarbola would use to back it up. Does Jarbola have an ethical idea for what, exactly, the ten-year-old child was doing so that he could explain it to her, or is it enough that what she was doing was illegal and she knew she was at a window, tossing baggies out?

Because frankly, I couldn’t explain it to her without resorting to the simple if the police can prosecute you for it, don’t do it dictum that I’ve outgrown as far as moral precepts go. As a practical guide, it’s handy, but if a child doesn’t adhere to it and cannot understand why drugs are evil and drug sellers, especially Mommy, are evil, it’s hard to convince me that the child knew what she was doing.

Perhaps we should count our blessings that Jarbola isn’t trowelling on additional charges like he would were she an adult: armed criminal evidence tampering if they found a gun on the premises, corrupting a minor (herself), and so on.

Regardless, I think Jarbola’s decision to charge the child and his facile summation discredit him as a prosecutor and, ultimately, as a man.

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1 thought on “What a 10 Year Old Knows

  1. this is the lifestyle the child knew. She was probably brought up to fear the police and thus if they were coming toss what you have period .She needs to be in a good foster home where she can live a normal life with no drugs and where she can learn that most police men are the good guys.but this is just 1 of the many kids living this lifestyle. I would say if she was older & flushing it away maybe she really knew but a 10 year old is in 4 th grade just how much does the adverage 4 th grader really know? Any way that is my comment
    Chris from Lakewood Washington

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