Never Lie To A Father Holding A Gun
Never Lie To A Father Holding A Gun
This tragic story out of Texas yesterday was so horrible that it has taken me a while to process how I felt about it.
To sum it up, a man was alerted at about 2:30 am by one of his young children that there was someone in their big sister’s bedroom. Dad armed himself and confronted a 17 year old male… who was in his 16 year old daughter’s bed. The daughter claimed she didn’t know who this was. The father and the young man argued – over what, we don’t know – and when the 17 year old made a motion as if he was “grabbing something,” the father shot and killed him. The 16 year old later admitted that she had let the 17 year old male into the house and that she knew who he was (there are different reports on whether or not he was her “boyfriend”). The police later confirmed that the 17 year old was unarmed.
Now, it’s all very comfortable for us to armchair quarterback this horrible story with 20/20 hindsight. Let us, however, take this story at face value and ask how we would react, given this exact same set of circumstances. Your child wakes you in the middle of the night. I hear someone in the house. I don’t know who this person is. It sounds like whoever it is, is in Sister’s bedroom.
Given that information alone, any reasonable person would do… what? This father got his weapon and went to check on his daughter.
You find a young man in your daughter’s bed with her. You don’t know him. And what’s more, she says she doesn’t know him.
It’s easy to say with hindsight that she was trying to cover herself and not get into trouble. It’s easy to look back and say, “Two teenagers in bed together? Of course – this is what teenagers do!”
This might have been true once upon a time. Times have changed. Parents are now constantly barraged with stories of children being snatched out of their own beds (Elizabeth Smart and Polly Klaas) and children kidnapped in broad daylight and then murdered. There has never been a time when it was “safe” to assume that the unknown intruder was “just” a boyfriend.
As a parent, I can completely understand where the father is coming from. He has no idea who this intruder is. When the intruder is confronted, the daughter claims she doesn’t know, either. There are reports that an argument broke out, and I’m betting it was the 17 year old saying something like, “Yes, you do” and “You let me in.” The father made a choice of who to believe, and he trusted his daughter.
We know now that that was a mistake. We know now that her answer to her father was the pivotal moment on which the rest of the events hinged. Would the father have shot him if she had said, “I snuck my boyfriend in”? I would say probably not. But we’ll never know.
As I was relaying a sanitized version of the story to my 10 year old, her eyes widened at the enormity of what one lie had done. Two families forever broken. One young man dead. One father overwhelmed with what he had done (reports are that he was transported to a local hospital with a panic attack after the police arrived). One 16 year old girl who cost someone their life by lying to save herself from whatever “trouble” she might have been in.
“Never lie to a father holding a gun,” I said to my daughter.
Since this happened in Texas, I find it highly unlikely – if all events transpired as currently reported – that the father, even if indicted by a grand jury, will be convicted of murder, or even manslaughter. There is more likely to be a huge civil suit, which will probably ruin the family financially. The 16 year old has three other siblings. Their lives are now also forever changed because of what she did. And of course, the 17 year old boy’s family must be devastated. I can’t even imagine.
This story should be told as a cautionary tale across every high school in America. And not as a “gun control” story, and not as a “sex” story, but as a morality lesson. The lesson should be that lies have consequences. Maybe not a consequence as dramatic as this one, but they exist. We live in a culture where morals have been left like so much litter on the side of the road. Everyone would rather “CYA” than confess to screwing up. Our kids see people in power lie all the time, often without consequence. Why shouldn’t kids think they can lie boldly and baldly themselves?
The only person who could have stopped the chain of events in its tracks… told a lie. That lie got a young man killed.
And now, she has to live with the consequences of her lie.