What would you do? What should society do?
What if your son’s best friend had a secret childhood criminal record?
What if your son’s best friend had murdered his own father when he was eight?
Would you want to know? Would you let them stay friends?
What if you were told he had been “rehabilitated”?
Would you feel comfortable then? Would you ever feel okay about letting your children attend the same school as a murder?
That’s the situation facing a community in the US state of Arizona at the moment.
A community faced with a dilemma which raises so many questions: Do they believe in the possibility of redemption? Do they believe in second chances?
The unnamed community will soon have a 15-year-old boy joining their high school. That teenager was once a little boy who shot his father and another man dead in cold blood.
The teen has been assessed as safe to join a local school, a local community, to assimilate — but there’s no escaping the fact he is a convicted killer.
How would you feel?
When he was just eight years old, the boy shot his father and a friend of his father with a gun from the family home.
The child pleaded guilty to the murders of the two men, entering into a plea agreement that ensured diagnostic evaluations and mental health examinations when he was 12, 15, and 17 to determine whether he will pose any danger in the future.
The plea agreement also said that the boy wouldn’t be allowed to enrol in any public or private school unless evaluations determine that he doesn’t pose a threat to himself or anyone else. But a judge has now ruled him fit to transition into a foster home and enrol in public school.
The wife of the second man he shot – a 38-year-old resident at his home — has expressed her disgust at the judge’s ruling.
“You don’t know what he’s capable of,” she said. “I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my family.”
Apache County attorney Michael Whiting said he, too, holds concerns.
“Based on the reports I’ve read, based on the things that have gone on since the time of the murders, I don’t think we can say, ‘Yes, he is safe. He’ll be fine in public schools. No worries whatsoever,’” Whiting said.
Watch a news report on the shooting at the time. (Post contain use after video.)