Monday, February 10, 2014

Game Warden Files--Boys Will Be Boys

"One boy's pretty good; two boys ain't much good; three boys is no good at all." So said my grandfather, a wise man who died back in 1982.  My dad quoted that often, and I've used it even more often than he did, I suspect. This story proves the point about two being "not much good."
It was the opening day of duck season and we came out of the swamps along the Mohawk River in Saratoga County by about 10 AM. It had been an easy day as most of the hunters we encountered had been within the law. A few, however, had given us plenty of opportunity to put pen to paper, so it had been a worthwhile morning. I was headed home to take a quick shower and go watch a good friend of mine take her black belt test...never got there.
I heard the State Police Dispatcher giving a Trooper a complaint about a person having been hit in the eye by a BB or pellet while hunting...right up my ally as that's what's called a hunter related shooting incident and we were obligated to investigate, or at least assist the other agency, in their investigation.
When I contacted the State Police Dispatcher, I was directed to the hospital in Little Falls, where the victim was being taken. Even running red lights, I was a full 40 minutes away and by the time I got there the Trooper was coming out the door and led me from there to yet another hospital in Cooperstown where the victim had been taken for a more comprehensive exam.
The trooper gave me the story as he'd had it. Two cousins, about 14 and 15 years old, had been out in the woods and, according to them, had been shooting at a chipmunk on a stone wall. A BB had ricocheted and struck one of the boys in the eye.  The good news was the boy had no lasting damage in the eye, so after he'd been released from the hospital the Trooper and I took statements from them and tried to make heads or tails out of the stories.
They took us into the woods and showed us where and how it happened, which didn't add up--not even close--to the stories they were telling us. They stuck to their stories despite the facts, and gave written statements to back them up. The parents were useless--also making contradictory statements, though not on paper.  We understood what had happened: they'd been having a BB gun fight in the woods. If they'd been honest about it, that would have been the end of the story, we'd write our reports and go home. Since they couldn't tell it straight, we made it a bigger deal for them
Since it's illegal for anyone under 16 to possess even a BB gun except under certain conditions, each boy, according to law, "must be adjudged a juvenile delinquent." That's the way we wrote it up and sent it up the chain to be dealt with by the juvenile justice system.
Those two boys really weren't much good.

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