Washington Father Denied the Right to Attend Son’s Funeral
A Washington father is being denied the right to attend his son’s funeral – even with a police escort, if that’s any indication of how this story’s going to go.
Gabriel Wilson was attending a birthday party with his son when someone began firing a gun at the party participants. Wilson watched as his son died in front of him.
But allegedly, Wilson was so upset (who wouldn’t be) that he took a gun from someone else at the party (wait, what?) and started shooting into the apartment from which he thought the initial shots came.
He was wrong about the apartment, and his son’s killer was caught elsewhere.
In the meantime, a judge denied Wilson the right to see his son’s funeral (on a temporary release from his $750k bond) for the reason that he’s a public risk. Wilson had already fired someone else’s gun into the wrong apartment, and had questioned friends and family about the shooting, in hopes that he could find his son’s killer and retaliate.
So, there’s two angles to this story. Let’s do this like we’re a part of a high school Mock Trial class:
For Wilson attending his son’s funeral: You could argue that Gabriel Wilson should have been able to attend his son’s funeral by the virtue that he was not responsible for his son’s death. In cases where a father is directly (or even indirectly) responsible for a child’s death, it’s understandable to strip a father’s rights to attend the funeral. In other words, you don’t get to mourn for something you caused. In Wilson’s case, it was someone else that killed his son – so even if Wilson is distraught about the death, he should be given the right to make peace with his son’s death at the funeral, and say goodbye for the last time. It seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult to assign a squad car to escort Wilson to the funeral, cuffed, and let him mourn. By keeping him behind bars during the funeral, you’re creating an angrier person, and one that now (if not before) sees no mercy in the legal system. Society has, in effect, lost two citizens – Gabriel Wilson’s dead son, and Gabriel Wilson himself, if only on the level that his faith in the legal system is lost.
Against Wilson attending his son’s funeral: The argument against is one of public safety. Wilson had already taken a gun from someone directly after the shooting (we won’t go into that one) and fired it into the apartment he thought was housing his son’s killer – and since he was wrong, put more lives in jeopardy. What if the people in that apartment now also wanted retribution against Wilson, and planned on attending to funeral, just to attempt to harm Wilson? And to be clear – fatherhood is both a right and a privilege; your rights as a father include visitation and companionship, but its governed by treating those rights as privileges. That is to say, your rights can be taken away if you don’t act like a father should act. And though most fathers would agree that watching their son die right in front of them would cause them great emotional distress, it’s hard to argue that the fatherly thing to do was to immediately shoot someone else’s gun in the general direction of where you thought the shots came from. We’re not talking about Wilson grabbing the known-shooter by the neck and beating them up – we’re talking about him shooting a lethal weapon into the wrong apartment. That kind of public safety risk can’t be let out for even his own son’s funeral.
What do you think?
Sauce: Imperfect Parent