Moral Low Ground


Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson Supports Pepper-Spraying 8 Year Old

April 5, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Mass Media with 5 Comments

Gretchen Carlson, host of Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, has voiced her support for pepper-spraying misbehaving children. “In my book, that’s called discipline,” the acerbic host asserted.

According to Politicus USA, Carlson’s comments were made in response to the case of an 8-year-old Colorado boy named Aidan who was pepper-sprayed by police following a violent temper-tantrum in which he spit at teachers and brandished a sharpened stick with which he tried to stab them. “I was so mad at them,” the second-grader told NBC 9 News. “I was going to try to whack them.” He screamed “Get away from me you fuckers!”

Teachers were so frightened by the boy’s behavior that they barricaded themselves in a classroom and phoned police. When they arrived, they used pepper spray on the 4-foot-tall (1.21 meter), 82-pound (37 kg) child.  The spray is a chemical compound that causes severe pain and sometimes temporary blindness and even death; it is usually used by police to disperse riots, control violent criminals or keep vicious animals such as dogs or bears at bay.

This was the third time police have responded to a disturbance caused by the boy, who suffers from some pretty serious behavioral problems. The previous two times, police were able to talk Aidan into submission. According to his mother, this time they didn’t.

Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis defended the officers’ action. “You’ve got teachers barricading themselves in a room. They are obviously frightened. I think [officers] not only made the right choice, they made a great choice that day to use the pepper spray.”

Fox’s Carlson agreed. “I say 100% pepper spray and some parenting classes as well,” she said on today’s Fox and Friends. “I mean come on. This is what our schools have to combat right now? This is the third time for an eight year old that the police have been called. Threatening the teachers and you’re eight?”

But Jason Easely of Politicus USA took a more nuanced approach to the situation:

This child did not have a gun or a knife. He had a f**king stick. The inability of adult law enforcement officers to subdue stick welding eight year without using pepper spray doesn’t inspire confidence in their competence to protect and serve. One of the problems with the widespread use of Tasers and pepper spray is that it has led to some law enforcement officers to utilize a lazy decision making process. Pepper spray is now the fast and easy remedy for any situation.

I find it hard to believe that armed adult officers really believed that they were in mortal danger, and the only reasonable solution was to pepper spray a child. I think the truth is that this was third time that they were called to deal with this kid’s tantrums, and they were sick of it, so they thought they would teach him a lesson and spray him.

The bigger question here is, what was this kid doing in a regular school in the first place? It is obvious that this child has some emotional and behavioral issues that his teachers and likely the school itself were not equipped to deal with. If this has happened multiple times, why was he still in school?

There was obviously a problem that was being ignored and not dealt with. Children have been expelled for less in other schools. Instead of limiting the discussion to should he or should he not have been sprayed, we need to ask what was he doing there in the first place?

It is logical that the police department is going to defend the decision because they are trying to avoid a lawsuit, but the real mind blower is Fox News defending the idea that the best way to deal with a troubled eight year old is to pepper spray him then blame the parents.

Before things ever got to the place where the police had to make a decision on whether or not to pepper spray a child something should have been down about this kid’s emotional issues. By letting things get to the pepper spray point, a whole lot of adults failed Aidan.

Of course, Fox News does not do nuance. The inflammatory network, with its  black-and-white, us vs. them mentality, is, as usual, quick to endorse violence as a solution, whether it be against other countries or small children right here at home.

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  1. yaoi huntress earthApril 6, 2011 at 5:49 amReply

    It seems that Fox News only gives a damn about kids it they’re in the womb or need them to make others look bad.

    • Brett WilkinsApril 6, 2011 at 9:45 amReplyAuthor

      The great paradox of reactionary idiocy: they are so “pro-life”, unless that life is of a condemned criminal, an Iraqi or Afghan child, or someone shot down by the flood of guns on our streets.

  2. Vinny WongApril 7, 2011 at 2:07 amReply

    I agreed with the mother. The kid should not be sprayed. He should have been tased and sent to prison. For those who doesn’t agree, try to handle a 8 yr old boy with a sharp weapon and intention to harm others. I once worked in a camp and a little boy there thought it was fun to stab other kids with a pencil. If you have been stabbed before by a pencil, you would reach for the pepper spray too.
    PS I am democrat.

    • JosephMay 11, 2011 at 10:19 amReply

      PS You are a moron. I work with kids with disabilities and emotional issues every day and there is no reason that this child should have been pepper sprayed. I’m sorry that you couldn’t handle an 8-year-old. I hope you’ve been sterilized so you don’t have to face one of your own.

      • WilliamMay 28, 2011 at 6:59 amReply

        I also spent many years working with chidren who had emotional and behavioural difficulties, and dealt with “crisis situations” far more intense and violent than the incident described here and totally agree that there is no way he should have been pepper sprayed. The officers should be disgusted with themselves and if a couple of them couldnt restrain this child then quite frankly they are in the wrong job. After seeing this and the man in the wheelchair arrest, I am rather glad that I do not live in the US. This should not be tolerated and they should be fired and never allowed to work with children. Thugs!!!!

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