crime scenePrepare to feel conflicted. A father who says he found a man trying to molest his 4-year-old may be facing a whole other kind of trial. Cops in Shiner, Texas, say the little girl's dad put a stop to the assault then beat the man to death.

So far what cops will do with the dad remains up in the air. I'm not surprised; there's no easy answer here for them. Say you were put on a jury to face a case like that. Would you be able to make a decision that would let you go to bed that night with a clear conscience? I don't think I would.

I want to say that the fatal beating the Lavaca County sheriff says happened in a family house (no names have been released to protect the sexual assault victim's identity) on Sunday afternoon was the right thing and cheer from the rooftops.

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I'm a parent, for cripes sakes. I never want to see a child being hurt in any fashion. Just last night I sat in my house with my heart beating fast against my chest because I'd heard a rumor that a local teen had to be airlifted out of an accident scene (good news: it was one of those exaggerations that spreads on Facebook -- she's fine). In that sense, if the allegation of abuse is true, then I would have been shaking with anger and horror both. If I were that father, I would have wanted to kill that man.

But wanted to does not equal would have.

Consider this: when you take justice into your own hands, what happens? You get in trouble. You, the person who, up until that very moment, was in the right.

You may say it's "worth it" because the other person got what you thought was "coming," but you are forever marred by having sunk to the criminal level. You are what you profess to despise.

I can imagine that if this dad beat this man, he thought he was doing it for the right reasons. I hope that the police and prosecutors treat this whole case with that in mind. But there is no way to walk away from this one feeling anything but conflicted, is there?

What's your read? Do you think the accusations against this dad make him a criminal or a hero?

 

Image via Tex Texin/Flickr