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Susan Mernit Headshot

Abused and charged with murder: 8-year-old boy shoots & kills father and family friend after 1,000th spanking

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If you are 8 years old and you have received 1,000 spankings since you were old enough to start counting them, what does that mean?

It could mean you'd been recording them for 3 years, since you learned to write in kindergarten, or that you'd been recording them for a year, since you were seven and learned how to carry forth numbers in addition. If you'd been recording them since you were five, that would mean you'd been spanked almost once a day for the past 3 years, with 95 days off from getting your butt hit. If you'd started keeping track of the spankings when you were seven, which mean you were being hit more than 3 times a day for the past year.

Think about it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, spanking. Every day for three years. Or, breakfast, spanking, dinner, spanking, before bed, spanking--spankings happening more frequently to this child per day than many people spent walking their dog.

Can you imagine living your life knowing that every day, at some point--perhaps more than once--a beating was going to happen? And that your father, responsible for mentoring you and your upbringing, was going to be the one to lay it on? Flat of the hand, paddle, belt, kitchen implement--did it matter after a while what your Dad hit you with?

Or was it just the consistent searing drip of the days, held together by having your pants pulled down and your butt beaten--not only by your Dad, but by his friend, a man who rented a room in their house.

How bad could any child be--any person--that someone could justify beating him, day after day?

If this isn't child abuse, I don't know what is.

If you think I'd strongly consider handing this eight year old the shotgun he is accused of picking up and using to fire two rounds each into Dad and his pal, you're reading me right.

And when I realized that this child--who doesn't live with his Dad full time--managed to score all these beatings from a monster who had only partial custody, I'd consider shooting this abuser myself.

For me, reading the news reports about this story underscores how powerless children are and how powerful the family is. In every account reported on this tragedy, the child's grandma is reported to have said, on hearing the news, "'I knew this would happen. They were too hard on (the boy). I knew (he) did it. He spent the night in my bed cuddling up to me. I had a feeling he did it. If any eight year old boy is capable of doing this, it's (him).

Which do you think would be more likely to cause Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? Being an 8 year old who is spanked daily or multiple times a day by your father and stepmother and their friend, or doing a tour of duty in the Middle East as an adult?

I'd argue that the child--who was abused and no one did a thing about it--could be more screwed up than any vet suffering from PTSS--after all, if the kid's perception was that people who loved him wanted to beat the living crap out of him--in this case, it would be true.

When this case comes to trial, I have no doubt we are going to find out this child was a scapegoat for a sexual sadist or some other kind of pedophile sicko who found excuses to inflict pain on his son under the guise of discipline. And if that is true, this evil dad raised a son who killed out of self-defense.