Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who Deserves the Millstone?

The headline of this article, “Cops: South Carolina Man Dangles 5-Year-Old Over Pit Bull,” is short and to the point, but most all, it is simply disturbing to say the least. With a headline like that, one wonders, “What caused a man to do this to a child?” According to the article, the child kicked dirt at the man’s car and cursed at him. This provoked the man to grab the child and hold him near an aggressive, chained pit bull. The article also states that this man is wanted for failing to appear in court concerning an altogether different charge. (Article link:
One of the first books we were required to read for class is entitled, Hurt People Hurt People, by Sandra Wilson. Although it is not the most original title I have ever heard, I could not help but be struck by how much truth was in that one-line title. After reading this article of an adult man being so angry at a child so as to hold him near an aggressive animal, I could not help but think, “Wow… who hurt this man so deeply that he would choose to do that to a child?” More specifically, what happened to this child, who is only five years old, that he would curse and kick dirt at the man’s car? Wilson (2001) states in her book, “Apparently victims gain a sense of inner strength and personal mastery by dominating someone even more powerless than themselves” (p.33). Wilson’s statement holds great truth, and I wonder if this man who dangled this five year old over an aggressive pit bull not only acted out of anger, but also felt empowered by dominating that child through such an act.
Several thoughts race through my mind upon reading about such an incident as this one. I cannot help but remember what Jesus says in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” So I wonder, who in that child’s life would be hurled into the sea with a millstone tied to their neck because of what he or she has done to this child? My own personal experience tells me that a child who curses and kicks dirt at an adult’s car as this child did, some adult in that child’s life, parent or authority figure, failed that child in some way. Also, it makes me wonder, what kind of parents or caregivers did that man have growing up? I am almost positive that both of these individuals have been seriously wounded in some way by people they trusted to take care of them. I also could not help but not be so surprised by such an article as news like this is sadly typical in our society. I tend to believe that situations like these would be far less common if parents truly cared for their children as God intended.
Wilson, S.D.  (2001). Hurt people hurt people:  Hope and healing for yourself and your relationships.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Discovery House Publishers.


  1. Hurt people,Hurt people,
    this statement is very true however, i feel as though we can't make assumption's on the upbringing of a child whose only fault is throwing rocks. For children do,act and play as children, and parents can't be with a child 100% of time even though they may like to. In all i do LOVE your Millstone analogy and how it relates to LIFE.I reminds you how are actions are being watched by those around us and our influence could be mimicked. So it makes you think Could I have worn a millstone
    -Just a Thought ;-)

  2. Brittany, this was a great post. I have worked at a domestic violence shelter for the past year and I have seen countless instances of little children being violent and threatening towards others (just like the man who held the child near the pitbull) who told me that their father, or whoever had abused them, treated them with the same violence. Children love to mimic others, and they do it naturally. All of us have a responsibility to the children in our lives to be good examples and to show them love! At the shelter I learned it was absolutely crucial to watch my actions and words and make sure that they were actions and words worth mimicking. Children pick up on far more than we think they do, and they are always watching and listening!

  3. Brittany, thanks for the post. What a thought provoking article this is. It is so sad to see how some people behave in certain situations. I think it is also greatly impactful to think of how one person's actions can have a ripple effect. You mentioned how someone in the little boy's life must have failed him in some way. I think that it should make us all stop and question what we do in our every day lives, to strangers and to family friends, how are our actions going to impact others? What in my life should I change now, so that I can look back on my life and say that my actions did not hurt others.

  4. I have to admit that the title of the book Hurt People, Hurt People is stuck in my head. It seems clever in a dumb sort of way. The article that you are commenting on is definitely an interesting scenario. I see the connections that you are making but I struggle to want to know more about this man before coming to any firm conclusions. Personally I feel like the child is not to blame at all. At the age of five I do not think he even knew what he was doing and may even have been mimicking adult behavior. However I do wonder what was going on in the man's head that he seemed to tweak on a child so easily. I don't doubt that he may be hurting and this child was able to hit the right button. Obviously a child is an easy target, so it may be that the man was releasing some pent up aggression.

  5. Thanks for finding this article. What a sad story, though! The cycle of hurt people hurting people is inevitable. Both sides of this story are so unfortunate in that the child and the adult reacted out of anger. I wonder if there was anything more to the story that may have made this child act out the way he did. I am curious to know if the adult who could have controlled himself better may have been abused at a young age or was just having a terribly bad day.


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