Be Careful What You Ask For

DA will look into Cy-Fair student’s suicide (Peggy O’Hare, Houston Chronicle):

Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos said her office will investigate what led to the suicide of a 13-year-old Cypresswood-area boy whose parents said he suffered two years of intense bullying from other students at school.

.     .     .     .

Lykos said her office will examine whether there were instances of “egregious conduct” before Brown’s death. “I’m very concerned about this,” she said.

Brown killed himself around 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the family’s home in the 11700 block of Cypresswood after arriving home from school. He shot himself in his stepfather’s upstairs bedroom closet using a 9 mm Beretta that had been kept on a shelf there.

The death of a child is a terrible tragedy, for which it is natural to seek an explanation. It is normal for those who lose a loved one to seek to place blame (whether on themselves or on others) to try to make the tragedy less unfathomable. But suicide often defies any explanation beyond the facile. There might be plenty of blame to go around, or there might be none; only one person knew why he killed himself.

Whatever the answer, I’m pretty sure that it’s unwise for the folks who made a handgun available to a 13-year-old kid, knowing that he was suffering intense bullying at school, to ask the government to apportion blame.

7 responses to “Be Careful What You Ask For”

  1. It seems to me that the bigger issue, and the one no one seems to have yet pointed out, is the complete and utter ridiculousness of Lykos’ “investigation.” If someone can point out a single criminal statute implicated by the bullying and suicide of young Asher, I would be deeply indebted. Even assuming you could prove their actions beyond a reasonable doubt with the main eyewitness and complainant dead, what are you going to charge these bullies with? While Texas has criminalized just about every other kind of conduct over the last 20 years, surprisingly — and, in all candor, thankfully — the legislature appears to recognize that certain types of conduct, while pernicious and reprehensible, are simply too pervasive and juvenile to merit prosecution.

    Lykos is engaging in political grandstanding, aided and abetted by her sycophants at the Chronicle. Such an investigation is a pointless, waste of time that can never result in any criminal charges. It can, however, result in its true intended objective: Crowd-pleasing publicity.

    • I thought that the ridiculousness of Lykos’s* “investigation” would occur to readers of this blog upon a little reflection. It may be the bigger issue, but the parents’ own potential liability for endangering a child is the more interesting one. If Pat Lykos were less of a political creature, she might decide to make the world safer for kids by making an example of Brown’s father.

      * Knowing that you love to write, I recommend to you the new state of the art in usage manuals, Garner’s Modern American Usage. Garner agrees with Strunk, White, and me (but not with the insipid AP Style Guide) on the question of plurals of singular nouns ending in -s.

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