Saturday, July 14, 2007

You Think You've Got It Bad? Park Slope Has Pigeon-Killing Eight Year Olds

[Photo courtesy of John-Paul Pagano/flickr]

This is one of the more bizarre, yet disturbing, cases of me-tooism that we've seen lately. It's an email from someone in the Park Slope Parents group that was forwarded to us by one of our trusty readers who's been following the Carroll Park teen "hooliganism" teapot tempest. It concerns the Third Street Playground in Prospect Park and is titled "Teens in Third St. Too," but is mostly about an eight-year-old killing a pigeon--perhaps intentionally and perhaps not--in the playground. Have a read:
Over the past 2 weeks both my husband and I have observed groups of rowdy teens and young kids (8 and up) in 3rd St., some totally unsupervised, some supervised by adults who did not seem concerned about their behavior. On one occasion a big teenager was running so fast he knocked down a toddler girl hard enough to give her huge raspberries on both her arms. On another occasion, just last week at least a dozen parents, caregivers and 3-5 y o toddlers, who were playing under the big slide at the "store," watched in horror as an 8 year old boy whacked a pigeon so hard with a stick that he broke the pigeon's neck. The horrified children looked on as the bird stumbled around trying to walk. Several parents chastised the boy and his caretaker chastised him as well but in a mild way. The cops were called and arrived over 10 min. later but did not get out of their car. The children walked right past them without consequence. The pigeon was eventually removed from the play area by the boy and his caretaker.

What can we do to make the playgrounds safer for all kids (and animals)? It's only the beginning of summer.
We don't know about overall safety issues, but we're thinking the child in question might potentially maybe perhaps have some, uh, issues. Did the "caretaker" tell Park Slope Mommy and Daddy that the Little One whacked a bird, freaked out a bunch of adults and smaller kids? A professional we asked said that kind of cruelty to animals could well be a sign of deep emotional issues and an indication that the child could use serious help.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

All children under the age of 18 should be raised in a central, secure location (Nebraska?) to avoid this sort of thing.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serial killers often begin at a young age killing animals. But this would NEVER happen in PS.....

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kids kill sh*t... you should see eskimo children... I hear they eat seals with their bare hands... skin them alive and stuff. Maybe he's from up north.
Maybe we should just eat our young once they show signs of 'abnormality'. I think it's this nervous parent that needs to grow up. Either way, poor kid's probably headed for a career in the smut industry. But, then again, it'll already be 2017 by the time he's 18 and people will be getting paid to have sex with chickens and stuff like that.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we showed our 1.5 yo a little froggie hopping around near the swimming pool last summer and his immediate reaction was to pick up one of his little sandals, squash it and see what happened.

it was incredible.

granted, i'm his parent so don't take it from me, but he's a sweet kid and not a future psychopath.

i see nothing weird or abnormal about an 8-yo thwacking a pigeon with a stick.

tell the kid it's bad to do that and move on folks. no need to call the cops for chrissake.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course parents would stick up for the kid. An 8 year old should know better than to hit any living being with a stick. Either the kid is messed up or his parents think he's some kind of Indigo child and aren't doing any actual parenting. I'm sorry but I never hurt an animal as a child and neither has anyone I've known. Oh, and that kid wasn't killing the pigeon for his dinner, he did it for fun. That's something psychopaths do.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The cops were called"? Apparently the "Boy Who Cried 'Wolf!'" fable is lost on these folks, who are going to be shocked when a crime occurs and the police don't appear. (It's unclear if it's the precinct or "911" which is getting these calls. While 911 is supposed to be for emergencies, I'd bet that's who all these panicky parents are calling). Then again, helicopter parents expect their kids to get adult help for every little thing, they expect an "authority" to assist them. . .

Can we also differentiate between a pigeon, a bird whose presence is discouraged and who it is in fact illegal to feed in the playground, and someone's pet, when we're calling a child an animal killer?

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's OK to kill pigeons, because they're not pets or songbirds? Can we kill ugly dogs too, like pitbulls, but make it illegal for people to kill the cute ones, like yorkies? Is it OK to kill stray cats but not housecats?

An animal is an animal, and the child was 8, so he knew what he was doing.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Queens Crapper said...

Kids don't know any better. Some people do and don't care.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It IS ok to kill pigeons. They are essentially rats with wings. I agree that an 8 year old should not be doing this on purpose. Move on. There is nothing to see here.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whether it's beating a pigeon to death or squashing a frog, that's wrong.
and you - with the frog-squishing kid - why didn't you stop the kid when you had the chance? it's obvious that you were right there. and it's chilling that you allowed your child to harm something. no surprise that you think it's OK the 8-yr old killed the pigeon. you've got problems and so will your child.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"An animal is an animal"? I happen to agree, but wonder if you do. So long as you're killing or exploiting animals for your meals, it's hard to explain why your child's seeing another child hitting a pigeon with a stick is so horrible. Unless the real problem is that you were saving the "death" explanation for some future, unspecified, time. And from the account in the post, it appears the child's caretaker didn't stand silent, just didn't give you the satisfaction of the public forum discipline you were expecting.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's odd is that some folks seem to think it is OK that a kid beat a bird to death for no apparent reason. i have no idea what the parents said to their toddler. considering the age of the child, perhaps it won't grow up to be like the 8-yr old. i seriously doubt that people really need to read a blow-by-blow (pun intended) description of how the toddler was chastised.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A child killing a pigeon or trying to step on a frog is not abnormal. Think of all the kids with bb guns in the good old days, shooting birds. Kids have to be taught right from wrong, and that is what happened when his "caretaker" admonished the child and made him clean it up. HOpefully the child's parents later found out and reinforced the message. What is scary is the story told by the author, describing a sort-of gymboree mob atmosphere where everyone berated the child and someone called the police on an 8 yr old. That, and those who state with confidence that this must be the mark of a serial killer, are just the sort of behavior that gives park slope the reputation as hysterics.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to raise the ire of those of you who feel differently, but i do think it's abnormal for a kid to beat a bird to death. it's nothing i ever desired to do as a kid, nor did any of the kids i knew at that time.
if that's no longer considered abnormal, then perhaps apathy and lack of compassion has gone up. or kids today are just violent little fuckers with complacent parents.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

killing things is a rather typical part of human development as children become aware of mortality, especially their own.

i grew up down south and hunted from the time i was 6 until i was 17. in addition to that i wandered through the woods with bb guns and shovel handles with nails through the end and would shoot and club various animals: snakes, birds, frogs. once a friend and i caught a bunch of fish and played baseball with them. now i'm a vegan school teacher.

so yeah, killing shit isn't an indicator of serious issues necessarily.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The incredible lack of compassion on this blog is stunning. I envision the some of the bloggers here as ostriches burrowing their sorry skulls as far underground as possible. I don't think I have ever seen such a convention of poor parenting in one place. It is no wonder that our children are whacking birds and squashing frogs. And to say that there's nothing wrong with that??? Are you kidding??? It is precisely this type of apathetic 'shoulder shrug' that will prepetuate this behavior. Honestly, it's hard to read this without holding one's nose. Forgive me while I feel some sadness and COMPASSION for the suffering of an innocent creature at the hands of a child destined for an uncertain future. Hopefully you can still say these kids aren't psychopaths when the stick they're holding is poised to break your neck. Hopefully you won't be asleep. Keep that one in mind as you continue to decide against setting a few boundaries and teaching them lessons of kindness and compassion that are supposed to set us apart from the poor creatures they're murdering.

8:28 PM  

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