What Happened to Responsibility

Here is the latest from the “Who’s right and who’s wrong” department. It seems a five-year-old boy from Kansas decided to hug a sculpture at a local community center causing the sculpture to fall from its pedestal. The sculpture was damaged. The cost to replace this sculpture? $132,000. Here is the question, actually two questions: Whose fault is it? Who should pay for it?

Whose fault is it?

Where does the responsibility lie for this accident? I think we can all agree that the five-year-old shouldn’t be held responsible, after all, he is still at an age where he hasn’t developed the ability to reason. I am guessing he didn’t pause to think the statue would fall on him.

This leads us to the parents, and really all of the other adults in the room. Shouldn’t the parents of this child have been more aware of what the child was doing? Mom claims there is more to this video than what we are seeing. What is it? Was she just around the corner watching, getting ready to chase after him before he could do his climbing thing? If you pause the video at 11 seconds, I don’t see anyone who is paying attention to the boy.

What I do see is the other “adults” in the room, three of them, chatting with each other. One of them is busy texting someone, and of the three I can’t identify the mother as one of them. So where is she?

The other side of the coin is should the community center be responsible? There is nothing to keep someone from doing exactly what the boy did. There is no sign, nor rope, and the piece doesn’t seem to have been attached to the pedestal. I would think if you are going to display something of that value you would be a little better at protecting it. This is a public facility, supported by the taxpayers, so they can’t stop people from coming in and bringing their children so should they have anticipated this could happen. We live in a world where our children are no longer disciplined or taught what is right or wrong. Parents no longer take responsibility for their own actions, nevermind the actions of their children, blaming others for whatever happens.

Who pays the bill?

This leaves us with the question of who should pay the bill? First, we all know that the winners of this case, no matter what the judgment is, will be the lawyers. I can already see a lawsuit coming from Mom against the community center for the “irreparable damage” to this little boy who will now need years of therapy in order to get his life together. Then Mom has also suffered the trauma of seeing the scrapes on her child’s face and worrying about how he will be scarred for life. This could be worth millions, although we all know they aren’t doing it for the money.

There is a lot here we don’t know. We only see a few seconds of the incident. We don’t know if this little boy was out of control the whole time he was in the building. We see another child in the room, was he somehow involved? Did mom have another child that was occupying her at the time? We don’t see the boy actually climbing onto the pedestal, so we can’t determine if the three women could have stopped them, although my guess is even if they did they wouldn’t have. Can you imagine if one of these women ran over and grabbed the little boy before he climbed? Can you say “child molestation”?

The Answer:

Is there one? Where does the responsibility lie? Clearly, the community center should have thought a little more about putting a sculpture worth $132,000 in a place with no protection or at least securing it. But there is also some responsibility to the parents of this child. I understand things happen but shouldn’t the mother have been keeping a better watch on her child?

I think the most telling line is the caption from the KMBC website:

“I cannot believe they allowed something so dangerous to be where kids play,” said Sarah Goodman, mother of the boy who toppled sculpture.

Certainly doesn’t look like a playground to me.

Thoughts? Please feel free to comment below.

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