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Murdering a hamster

By Gay Published: January 26, 2010

Still reeling from the account of the woman who forced her son to kill his hamster with a hammer because he got a bad grade, I wrestle with what punishment would be appropriate for her.

That she is an unfit and cruel mother is unquestionable: What action should be taken against her is not clear. Is she a fit mother? In my mind, she is not, because she compelled a young child to commit a cruel and vicious act upon a helpless creature which the child loved, and which resulted in the death of the animal. She has subjected her child to a lesson that is no acceptable, namely, if you fail at something, you sacrifice something which has nothing to do with the failure.

Instead of talking with the child and the child’s teacher to understand why he got a poor grade, she gave in to despicable ruthlessness, and unfortunately, the child will carry that lesson with him forever.

If a parent is abusive or negligent, the child often is removed from the home. Removal of the child from this abusive home—and that certainly qualifies as a particularly heinous punishment--would have severe consequences for the boy. Nevertheless, the court should weigh the ramifications of denying the parent custody versus the influence of her behavior on that child.

I am not a child case worker, thank god, as I can only imagine what a painful and thankless job it must be. Nor do I envy the judge who would decree what is to be done.

But the mother must be punished in some tangible way that the child can measure. Perhaps she should be made to clean cages at an animal shelter for a year or two, or work at a homeless shelter, because that woman needs educated. If she already is aware of cruelty of the act, then perhaps menial work will persuade her to follow another direction if her child again does poorly. And he will. We all fall and stumble many times, in many ways, before our morals and norms are sealed.

It seems to me that an obvious correction would have been to deny television or gaming privileges, which would speak to the possible problem, that the child needs to spend more time on his studies. Receiving a poor mark is hardly a capital offense, yet the woman made it so. Not only did the child suffer, and I will go out on a limb here and say probably forever, but so did the animal, and though the mother may deny it, she was punished herself, because she lost a good bit of humanity with that one act.

Submitted by Gay Fifer, owner Parsley Hollow, Inc

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