The debate over whether a father who found a man molesting his 4-year-old daughter and allegedly beat him to death has been raging for days now. And it's time to put it to bed. Cops say the Texas dad will likely not be prosecuted. What's more: he says he wishes it hadn't happened.
A grand jury will still debate charges of some kind for the father while police search for family of the deceased before releasing his name. And regardless of their decision, the father who acted out on his daughter's abuser has two things to live with for the rest of his life that I don't wish on anyone.
For the rest of his life, the dad, whose identity has been sealed to protect that of his daughter, the sexual abuse victim, will close his eyes and see a man hurting his precious child. There's no escaping that.
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The molestation was not his fault. But here's betting it haunts him anyway. Because that's what happens when you're a parent: seeing your child hurt is not something you can put in a box and stow on some dusty shelf in your brain.
And then there's the beating, the death of the sick pervert who dared hurt that little girl. The father has expressed regret for the beating death, according to the Sheriff in Lavaca County. Sheriff Micah Harmon says he never meant to kill the man and has referred to the incident as accidental.
I'm not surprised. I said this week that beating someone to death, no matter the circumstances doesn't make someone a hero. It sounds like this dad agrees with me.
Hurting someone for hurting an innocent child sounds like it would fill you with satisfaction. But there's a distinction that the folks who have been thumping on their chests that this man is indeed a hero have failed to make. There's hurting, and then there's killing.
To cause the death of another is a whole other ball of wax. It isn't something you get over easily, even if you had the best of intentions. Maybe especially if you had the best of intentions ... after all, a person who kills on accident is not a cold-blooded killer. The person who kills on accident is more likely to have real feelings about it, because they are, at heart, a good person. Just ask anyone who has accidentally killed someone: the driver who came around a turn and hit the pedestrian because they couldn't stop.
No matter what happens with that grand jury, this Texas father's nightmare is just beginning. And throwing around the word "hero" is not going to lighten his load.
Put yourself in this dad's shoes, how would you be feeling right now?
Image via Michael Melchiorre/Flickr