What this mom did to her son is so, so wrong. And yet ... I feel bad for her. Listen. A mom in Santa Ana, California was arrested after her 10-year-old son was found home alone with steel shackles around his ankles. It was reportedly a long, aluminum chain wrapped around his ankles and locked with a padlock -- the mom, Irma Navarro, had the key, which she had taken with her to work. There is no excuse for shackling your kid. And yet even the local cops took some pity on Navarro, who works during the day and whose 10-year-old boy had begun getting into trouble. She apparently shackled him as a "last resort," said cops.

The boy was found in a courtyard in the apartment complex where he lived with his mother, with the shackles around his ankles, and slight bruising and redness on his skin. It took bolt cutters to remove them.

Not only is this physically dangerous -- imagine if there was a fire and the child couldn't get out -- but emotionally, it's got to be life-scarring. Imagine how this boy will feel his entire life knowing his mom shackled him like a criminal.

But now we hear the mom's side. Neighbors say she is a good person, a hard-working one who cleans homes for a living, and who was struggling to raise three kids. And her 10-year-old was known as a neighborhood troublemaker who had been caught breaking doors and windows in nearby apartments. She was also worried he would join a gang or fall into the wrong crowd.

But there's a reason kids join gangs. A gang gives young men and women a sense of family and safety that they don't get at home. And this boy is not getting what he needs.

Still, cops seem to feel for the mom, saying:

She's trying to do the right thing, but [the boy is] not cooperating. He gets frustrated, cusses at her. She feels like she’s losing control of him, so this is basically a last resort.

Here is where things get a bit complicated too -- one of her other sons was with a babysitter, and the other was at school. Why wasn't this kid with one or the other too? Was he too troublesome for the babysitter? Was his school out of session?

Navarro was charged with cruelty to a minor. Her three kids were placed in foster care. What will happen to this family? These kids?

Here is what I would LOVE to see: Navarro given some help. Navarro's troublesome son given counseling and after-school activities for at-risk youth. Given a mentor. He's still young, he could change.

I would not like to see Navarro in prison because I think this is just going to make three at-risk boys even more at-risk -- to the point where they become adults that the system needs to deal with rather than kids.

Navarro needs help too. She needs counseling, parent classes, therapy. And where is the father(s)? Are they being allowed to shirk their financial and emotional responsibilities to these children?

Yes, we can all bitch that this mom shouldn't have had three kids if she couldn't take care of them. Hell, I totally agree. But they are here now, and they need to be made into productive citizens while it's not too late to help them and their mom.

What do you think should happen to this mom?

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