It wasn't that long ago that people were "cheering" the "hero dad" in Texas who beat off his daughter's alleged child molester, killing him in the process. We tend to like these stories for the obvious reason: It sets a terrible situation right. A child is being hurt. A parent rushes to the rescue. The parent gets revenge on the child's attacker. All is well with the world again. But what if that scenario goes horribly awry? What if the person who hurt the child genuinely did it by accident? What if the father who rushes to the rescue is overcome with the understandable desire to beat the bejesus out of the person who hurt his child? And what if the person who hurt the child just happened to be a cop who was carrying a gun? There's no "happy" ending to this story. But it might teach everyone a lesson about using fists instead of the law.
Saturday night, an off-duty police officer was riding down the street on his motorcycle when apparently a little girl darted out from nowhere in front of his bike. He intentionally "ditched" the bike in an effort to avoid hitting her, but it was too late. His bike slammed into 4-year-old Taniyah Middleton, as well as her 18-year-old cousin, who had run out to help her.
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The cop, despite being injured himself, reportedly began trying to help the little girl. This is when the girl's father, Christopher Middleton, ran out of a nearby restaurant, saw the scene, and began taking out his fury on the man who had hurt his daughter.
Reportedly the man identified himself as a police officer, but the infuriated man just kept pummeling. Then the 18-year-old cousin joined in. About to lose consciousness from the beating, the cop pulled out his gun and fired, killing the father.
This horrible scenario brings up a whole lot of questions: How did the little girl get out of the restaurant? Why was she running across the street? Why would the cop feel his life was so in danger that he had to fire into the father to get the fight to stop? What about firing into the air? Or, at the most, his leg?
The little girl is recovering from her injuries, as is the police officer. The tragedy is being investigated. But it does make you wonder if this all could have been avoided if the father had called police rather than begun lashing out physically. When it comes to our kids, it's not easy to let our heads, not our hands, be in charge. But it might be for the best.
What do you think the father should have done?
Image via Aranami/Flickr