9-Year-Old in Washington School Shooting Shouldn’t Face Charges

Say What!? 58

handcuffsThe words "school shooting" never fail to send chills down my spine. But when a third grader is in critical condition because she was shot by the gun brought to school by a 9-year-old classmate, the horror gets ratcheted up to the top notch. That's exactly what happened at Armin Jahr Elementary in Bremerton, Washington this week.

And yet, what's happened since hardly seems like justice for little Amina Kocer-Bowman or the little boy who landed her in the hospital. While she recuperates in the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the boy who brought a loaded .45-caliber handgun into their classroom was taken to jail and he's awaiting a court decision that will determine whether he'll face felony charges. At 9 years old!

I understand this kid should be punished. But if there's ever a kid who needs a break, it's this little boy.

Take, for example, the actual "shooting." The boy did not pull the trigger on the gun. In fact, it never even left his bookbag. Police say the weapon discharged when the child forcefully dropped his bag on his desk, sending a bullet through 8-year-old Amina's abdomen and arm. It sounds tragic, but fairly accidental. Add to it the fact that this was the tail-end of the school day, when the kids were preparing to leave for the day, and this doesn't sound like a kid who brought a gun to school with the intention of shooting up the place.

And what about that gun? Police say he took it from his mother when he was staying with her over the weekend -- I say staying with her because she is not his guardian. In fact, neither of this little boy's parents has guardianship over their own child. That job once belonged to his grandmother, who had legally adopted him ... only to die a year ago. Now his uncle, Patrick Cochran, is his guardian.

Imagine, just for a moment, what that's been like for a kid: to have been shuffled among family members, to lack stability? To have a mom who apparently is so clueless she kept a loaded handgun where her 9-year-old could find it? In fact Jamie Lee Chaffin sounds like a real gem: court records show she's got convictions for drugs and forgery. His dad, Jason Cochran, has at least showed up in court to stand by his son, but even he's allegedly behind on child support.

This child hasn't had a childhood. There's no reason to steal his future by treating him like an adult in the eyes of the law already. The real adults -- the ones who let him get a gun, who let him bring it to school -- are to blame here.

What do you think is an appropriate punishment for this kid?


Image via The.Comedian/Flickr

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3gift... 3gifts.from.god

Appropriate punishment? His Mother needs to go to jail for child endangerment, and he needs some actaul support to get him through this. The guilt this poor kid must feel.. OMG.

nonmember avatar Mrs. Clark

I see where you are coming from, however, if my child was the one that had gotten shot, I might feel differently.

Mandago Mandago

^ Exactly.

Ms.Pu... Ms.PuNkrOckStar

In my town they shoot 15 yr olds that bring fake guns to school so i cant saY. . .

KenneMaw KenneMaw

Yes, the mother truly needs to be held accountable.  He is 9 years old and shouldn't be tried as an adult.   This child needs love, stability and safety.   Has anyone else read where this boy has been a troublemaker in class?    I can only imagine why he is acting out with so much going on his in personal life.   HOpefully this story will have some type of better ending.

scoot... scooteroosMama

It would be one thing if he pulled it out aimed it at her and intentially shot her out of malice. Clearly something is going on at home that he thought he needed to run away and bring a gun with him for protection. This was an accident and bad parenting, not the deed of a bad child.

Stacey. Stacey.

Mspunkrock, big diff. between a 15 year old telling people he is armed when he is not, and a 9 year old having a gun in his backpack and not knowing any better. He should not be punished, whoever he took the gun from should.

NinRobin NinRobin

If it had been my child shot, I'd want the boy punished appropiately under the law... but a serious felony does not seem like an appropiate charge in this situation. It sounds like it truly was an accident (not that it excuses him from bringing a loaded gun to school) and this child needs some serious help and guidance. I hope that the child shot recovers well and this boy is punished appropiatly and given the support he truly needs. He's a child, we shouldn't be signig off on his life already.

Playi... Playitagain

I think the mother should be charged with a felony at the very least child endangerment and her parental rights (because she has visitation then she still techincally has them, they may just be suspended) terminated. The boy should be returned to his uncle who from all the reports gives him a good loving home and does his best. The boy needs therapy, and I dont care if the dad is behind on support, at least he sat with his son in court and rubbed his back telling him it would be ok. Anybody who says the boy should have known not to have the gun to start with need to realize he's got a hard life. I dont think he's been shuffled around persay, its not like he's been handed around like a hot potatoe. I understand if the girls family is mad, but they should be upset at the mother for letting this happen, it was her gun, in her home, loaded and from what I understand cocked. He wanted to run away and felt he'd need the gun for saftey.

Sierr... SierraLynn

I'm sorry, but a nine year old knows better then to bring a gun to school. He needs to learn the consequences of that. The mother AND son needs to held accountable. Just because he is a child does not make him innocent. He knew he brought a gun to school, and I'm sure knows what guns are capable of.

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