The next day I saw the video from the surveillance cameras at the park. The two twenty somethings were love birds. It was obvious. They were simply taking a walk in the park, arm in arm, holding hands on a peaceful fall night.
Then three teens followed on the tape...wearing hoodies, low riders, and on skateboards. They looked suspicious. Simply by their look and their attire. But not so fast. My son wears hoodies. Often has his pants sagging. Even tools around on a skate board from time to time. Does that make him guilty of arson? Today we know more. A press conference was held. It was the teens. They confessed and with their families turned themselves in. They claim they had no intention of burning the park down. They found a used flare and lite it. They placed it on the ground. Not realizing the ground was entirely covered with recycled rubber. Sounds like a bull story. As saddened as I am about the playground being a pile of ashes, I believe them.
I seem to be in the minority at the moment. The comment sections on local newspaper and television websites are filled with hatred toward these three young teens. Nasty, vile and venomous comments are being written by adults toward three 13 year olds. I wonder if any of these commenter's were ever thirteen? Can they not remember doing something stupid as a teen. A curiosity moment with fire crackers perhaps? This clearly was not a malicious act. The teens did not plot out a scheme to purposely burn down a playground.
I am not saying these kids should not be punished. They indeed should. I do believe they should be made to help clean up the mess. They and their families should be there as the community comes together to rebuild the structure. I think they should also go around to the junior high schools in the area and help teach their peers that it is never a good idea to play with fire. I suggest we all use this experience to reach out. To help others understand from the mistakes. Especially with our own children.
On Saturday, the community held a rally. It is heartwarming to see the response...