Deadbeat Dad Killed By Son Who Never Knew Him

Deadbeat dadYou should know that when I first read about Ralph Paputsakis’ unfortunate demise, I tried to give the dead man the benefit of the doubt. Older folks in my family always warn the rest of us not to talk bad about the deceased, and that advice was ringing in my ears as I tried to figure out how in the heavens his 17-year-old son could not and did not recognize him during a domestic brawl. That plays a crucial part of the situation.

Because when a stranger started beating his uncle in the head with a crowbar, the kid valiantly ran to his defense, stabbing the assailant repeatedly to save his uncle’s life. Which would’ve been the end of the story, except that stranger turned out to be his dad. Yep, that 17-year-old boy unknowingly killed his own father in what is apparently the ultimate in dysfunctional family tragedies.

That’s a dire consequence of being a deadbeat dad, I guess.


I can’t imagine the circumstances that would make this man mysteriously show up after what appears to be an extended absence, which is good and random in the first place. But to be worked up enough to snap out and start walloping his just-barely younger brother — the dead man was 47, the uncle is 46 — all about the head with a deadly object is even more random. Something set him off, no doubt about it. Too bad he hadn’t felt that impassioned to insist on being part of his son’s life all those years.

To be fair, beyond the news stories that I read online, I don’t know anything about that child’s 17 years except the glaringly obvious one: his father wasn’t around. To the point that, in the midst of a fracas outside the family home, he was nothing more than a man who needed to get dealt with in order to spare the boy’s uncle from being killed. That says a lot.

Before I say what I’m about to say, know that I’m not talking about men who are, for reasons beyond their control, absent from their children’s lives. Maybe the mother is being a jerk and making visitation impossible, which is the low down dirtiest thing a woman can do to her kid. If a guy wants to be an active parent, why in the name of all that’s reasonable would a caring, compassionate mom block his involvement?

It grates my nerves to hear stories about chicks who disrupt their kids’ relationship with their ex just to be spiteful or vindictive. And really, they end up hurting their babies as much as they hurt their used-to-bes. Real smooth. And very mature. Same goes for grandparents, aunties, uncles, guardians — anybody who runs interference between a father who is responsible, sane, and has the child’s best interests at heart, meaning he isn’t physically, emotionally, or psychologically harming the kid. Scenarios like this happen and they’re outside of the fathers’ control.

Alas, more often than not, men just don’t do what they’re supposed to do. I don’t know what it is, but too many guys have the option of being a parent rather than the obligation. They can do what they want to do when they want to do it. Don’t get me wrong — there are some no-good mamas running around out here, too. But I can rattle off the names of a couple dozen kids I know whose mothers have been their cheerleaders, caretakers, and champions their entire lives while their daddies have been Lord only knows where. Everywhere except holding up their end of the parenting duties.

Like this kid, if my father approached me in a grocery store, a networking event, a Pep Boys’ waiting area, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea who he was (though his absence has been completely voluntary, trust and believe). It’s the freakiest of freak accidents that this boy had to meet — and lose — his dad the way he did, and I hope his family has implemented therapy as a part of the grieving process he’ll undoubtedly be going through, for one or both reasons. But I hope he can rest one day very soon knowing that it wasn’t his fault he didn’t know who he was standing against.

Charges haven’t been filed yet, if they will at all, but do you think this boy should be prosecuted for killing his father?


Image via Marco Bellucci/Flickr

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