It's another sad gun story. A 4-year-old boy shot himself in the stomach in Houston this week with what cops say was a stolen gun. Little Jaiden died of the gunshot wound, and cops have arrested his father, Marquiez Deshon Pratt, who was reportedly sleeping when his little boy found the gun and pulled the trigger.
It's a story that leaves so many questions unanswered, but the one loudest in my head right now is "what now?" What now for Marquiez Deshon Pratt?
Cops have described the 21-year-old as distraught, heartbroken. One officer repeated Pratt's lament of "I messed up. I messed up."
He sounds like a man who loved his son, and for that I want to be sympathetic.
But he is also a man who allegedly kept a stolen gun in his home and left that gun where his 4-year-old could reach it. He's a man who cops say was a drug dealer. In fact, when Houston PD responded to a 911 call, they found Pratt outside with his little boy in his arms. The despondent dad handed the boy's body over and then went back inside the house. When officers followed him, they said they found marijuana and crack cocaine along with weighing scales and other items used to sell drugs.
What kind of father keeps hardcore drugs around his 4-year-old? What kind of father leaves owns a stolen 40-caliber semiautomatic pistol? What kind of father leaves said gun where his 4-year-old can get a hold of it?
I say it's the kind of father who messed up.
But I also think it's the kind of father who can redeem himself as a human being. No one is saying that Pratt shot his son or even that Pratt didn't love his son.
They're saying that Pratt seems to have screwed up and a horrible accident resulted.
No amount of hating him for it will bring his little boy back, but with Pratt likely prison bound if he's convicted on charges of injury to a child by omission and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, there is the chance that this young man can be saved. There's the chance that this wake-up call, horrible as it was, could help a 21-year-old with years ahead of him straighten out and fly right.
How about you? Do you have sympathy for this guy?
Image via Houston Police Department