We joke about the Mayans and the end of the world quite frequently on Sprocket Ink (and let’s face it, you’re going to hear more of our Mayan snark in the next 12 days), but then there’s a story that makes us all stop and think, “What in the hell is the world coming to?”
This is one of those stories.
Last Saturday, in Portland Oregon, a seven year old and eleven year boy armed themselves with a cocked and loaded .22 caliber pistol, and attempted to hold up Amy Garrett in the Freedom Foursquare Church parking lot. At first, according to Garrett’s report, they attempted to hijack her truck while she waited for her parents in the church parking lot. She refused to turn over her truck, and so then the younger child told the older child to show her the gun. After showing her the gun, they demanded her money and cell phone, and threatened to shoot her. Garrett refused, again, driving away to call 911, and saw the older child pull the gun from his waist as she left the area.
Another bystander apparently called police, because the children were soon apprehended in the parking lot (after attempting to flee police, of course), and the gun was found when the older child was told to keep his hands out of his pockets, and he refused to comply. Garrett then waved down officers, and reported her altercation with the children.
The two boys are so young; they cannot be placed in juvenile detention, and were released to their families. The older child promptly attempted to flee (again) and was quickly caught be officers on the scene.
This may be the youngest attempted robbery on record in the U.S. As Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police bureau stated:
“I’ve never heard of a 7-year-old being involved in an armed robbery. At that age it’s far too early to understand the consequence of actions.”
Thankfully, a full-fledged crisis was averted here. Now, certainly the question of how these children got their hands on a loaded pistol is going to be dissected by investigators and the news media alike. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be. I am saying, however, that the gun is the least of our worries here.
Where in the world did these boys get the ideas to: carjack someone? Rob someone while armed? Flee from police? And even scarier—attempt to pull the gun on police; refusing to cooperate with officers when apprehended? We could argue the nuances of gun control until the cows come home, but there is something far worse going on here, and until we know what motivated these children to do such a thing in the first place, no discussions of gun control or gun safety will help us avert another potential (or actualized) crisis such as this.
What would you do if a pre-teen child attempted to rob you? What if they were armed?