911 Caller Declares Parenting Emergency

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Police in Roxbury, Massachusetts, said that an exasperated mother called 911 on Saturday, saying she could not get her 14-year-old son to stop playing "Grand Theft Auto" and go to sleep.  Angela Mejia said she woke up at 2:30 a.m., hours after telling the boy to go to bed, and saw the light on in his bedroom.  Sure enough, he was in there communing with Satan by playing the video game against her wishes.  Apparently believing she had no other options, Mejia called police, who were able to talk the boy down and tuck him into bed.

Mejia appeared to blame the makers of "Grand Theft Auto" for her inability to control her son.  "I would never buy that kind of video [game]," she told the Boston Herald.  "No way.  I called [911] because if you don't respect your mother, what are you going to do in your life? . . . I want to help my son, but I can't find a way."

Well, here's one way – don't let him have a Playstation in his room.  Here's another – if he does have one, unplug it and physically take it out of the room.  Or, if what you don't like is "Grand Theft Auto," push the button (it looks like an arrow) on the top of the machine.  A flat silver thing will come out that you should then take to your priest for the appropriate ceremony.  That's three ways right there, each of which should be tried by you before calling 911.  Seriously, I have more sympathy for the lady who called 911 when McDonald's ran out of McNuggets than I do for this one, but that might be because I like McNuggets and am not a huge fan of "Grand Theft Auto."  (Have him try "Borderlands" and he will forget all about GTA.  A possible fourth strategy, and also a solid endorsement of my possible parenting skills.)

Surprisingly, Lawrence Kutner, the author of a book called "Grand Theft Childhood," did have sympathy for Mejia (who, to be somewhat fair, is a single mother dealing with four kids).  "Clearly, it's a very, very rare situation for someone to call the cops," he said, suggesting he does not know about the McNugget lady, among others.  He admitted her call was an "extreme" reaction but claimed to understand her frustration with game addiction.  Much more surprisingly, a police spokesman also downplayed the use of 911 for child-control purposes.  Officer Joe Zanoli said the call over video-game obsession "was a little unusual, but by no means is it surprising — especially in today's day and age when these kids play video games and computer games."

My (unscientific) review of the comments to this story on the Boston Herald's website suggests that a rather large majority of people do find it surprising and even irresponsible.  But not everyone does.  One commenter wrote, "child services must be called and intervene since the mother allowed an ultra violent video game into her state funded apartment."  My question is, where are the hyphens in that household?  If children are being exposed to that kind of grammar abuse, I'm calling child services myself.

Link: Boston Herald