An Open Letter To The Kid Who Vandalized Our Van

Dear Young Man,

Today we went to court for the pre-trial motions involved with this case, and you plead guilty to malicious destruction of personal property.

In October of this year, you and a friend rode by our home on your bikes, and then decided to throw a rock (three times) and break a rear window of our van. We know how this all happened because we have security cameras around our property. The part that bothered me the most about watching you vandalize our van was watching you stop to read the sticker on the side of the van alerting emergency personnel to the fact that the children inside have Special Needs.

I came to court because I wanted to put a human face on the incident for you. This was not just a random piece of glass you broke. This was kids not having a safe ride to the therapies they need to attend, this was a Mom crying as she picked bits of glass out of car seats while she thanked God none of her children were injured, this was a Dad stressed that his family was the victim of a crime while he was at work. There were human beings behind what seemed like no big deal to you at the time.

As I watched you shuffle into the court room in handcuffs and restraints (you are being held in juvenile detention for another crime) I was struck once again by how young you truly are, you are only 13 years old. I watched the weight of the situation settle on your Mother’s shoulders as the hearing began.

You were quiet, polite, and attentive during the hearing. The Judge mentioned this is the second time you have been before her in less than eleven months. I learned more about your life and I know things have not been easy for you. I know your mom is a single mom, I know you have been struggling in school, I know your mom is actively trying to find a relative to be a male role model and mentor in your life, I know you have some other challenges impacting your life that make decision making difficult. This breaks my heart for you.

I was given the chance today to make a statement to the court and I used the time to explain the human face behind this crime to you and to ask that in the community service you are being sentenced to, that you have to serve people within the Special Needs Community. This is an opportunity for you to grow in tremendous ways if you take advantage of it.

You are so young. Thirteen. You have so much life ahead of you and such potential. I pray this is just a rough patch in the journey of life for you and your family. I got to hear today about all the community resources your mom is making use of to try and help you turn this around. Your mom is in your corner. You can make a positive change and begin to make positive impacts within your community.

When your Mom, probation officer, and I met after the hearing today your Mom apologized and said that you wanted me to know how sorry you were and that you never meant to hurt anyone. I saw the surprise on your face while I was speaking in court and I truly believe you did not understand that there could be human beings hurt by you throwing a rock.

I’ve been thinking about you and your family since I left court. This time of year should be all about love and gratitude and time with our loved ones. You are spending the time in a detention facility. I pray this is the last and only time you spend in a detention facility. I pray this is the wake up call you needed. I pray your Mom can find some peace and support during this trying time. I pray you see a broader view of the world now and realize the power you have to be a force of good in it.

I wish you a lifetime of growth, joy, and love.

Love,

The Victims Cheering You On

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