Everyday Ethics

I just have to say, completely unrelated to ethics or dilemmas, thank
you Virgin America, for in-flight internet. I love multi-tasking a
5-hour journey and work! (I’m completely serious).

Now, on to more interesting things. Talk about an ethical fail – this
Georgia man was arrested on Monday for disciplining a crying toddler
with a few smacks to the face
. The kicker – it wasn’t his child. In
fact, he was a complete stranger to the child and mother.

First, Roger Stephens apparently approached the child’s mother in
Wal-Mart and told her, “If you don’t shut the baby up, I will shut her
up for you.” Yep, fail #1, Mr. Stephens, for threatening a mother and
child because the kid was doing what children often tend to do-cry,
whine, make lots of noise.

Next, when Stephens encountered the still-wailing child in another
aisle, he decided to make good on his threat. He allegedly slapped the
toddler on the face – not just once. Four to five times, according to
police. BIG ethical fail, and in my opinion, child abuse. But to round
things off, let’s end with ethical fail #3, the closing taunt: “See, I
told you I would shut her up.”

The authorities agree with the child abuse, as Stephens has been
charged with first-degree cruelty to children. I only hope it sticks.
I’m of the no-spanking, no physical-discipline school of thought,
though I don’t believe it is necessarily child abuse when the actual
parent uses this method.

So am I a hypocrite for hoping this man serves some type of jail-time?
Should he be considered a violent offender for doing what I’m sure many
parents have done (which is, of course, a whole other discussion – what
crosses the line of appropriate parental discipline)? Or should he
merely receive counseling for not realizing that it was not his place
to take this child’s discipline into his own hands?

What do you think?

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