Ethics Dunce: The New York Post

Autumn Pasquale appears to have been murdered by the two boys who lived next door because they wanted her bicycle.

From today’s New York Post:

“A New Jersey mom ratted out her teen sons for the murder of a 12-year-old girl after reading a Facebook posting hinting that one of them wanted to go on the lam, law-enforcement sources told The Post.”

Wrong. A courageous mother made the most difficult ethical decision of all, placing her duties as a citizen,  a member of the community and a neighbor above her duties of loyalty and love as a mother, to report her two sons for the murder of the 13-year-old girl who lived next door.

The Post’s use of the term “ratted out” is irresponsible and offensive. “Ratting out” is a pejorative term for reporting crimes to the police, and the foundation of a resilient and warped ethical code that works to the benefit of inner city thugs and gangs while undermining efforts to combat crime. The mother is an Ethics Hero, and deserved respect and admiration from the Post, not derision as a “rat.”

You can read the Post story here. A more responsible version is here.

23 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: The New York Post

  1. Correct, should not be vilified as “ratting out”

    However, I’d hesistate labeling her an Ethics hero.

    Your paragraph quote of the article leaves ambiguity of whether or not she suspecte the boys of wrong doing, before or after te Facebook status.

    If she knew before, but only waited for the Facebook update of “going on the lam” before acting, then she hardly gets the moniker of “hero”

    • What difference does that make? The point is, she reported both of her kids for a crime that could see them put in jail for life. So she didn’t do it at the earliest possible time. Whenever she did it, it was courageous. Now, if she read the Facebook page and found out that she was next on their hit list, I’d agree with you.

      • Makes plenty of difference. I could understand a parent trying to cover for a misdemeanor or lesser crime (although ethically questionable). The parent could justify it by saying, “he’s still learning…I can still correct this behavior”

        But murder? Severity alone says “no, I don’t cover for my child”

        Correct decisions do not warrant “hero status” lest those decisions are made with serious implications to one’s life or stature.

        So “motherly instincts” doesn’t cut it.

        Of course one could say she might have been enticed by a self preservation instinct… Who wants their parenting abilities on display when your kids are murdering for bicycles?

        As a segue. I believe in “starship troopers” RA Heinlein makes a case for punishing parents alongside child criminals. It may have been abother story, but he certainly addresses “juvenile delinquincy”. Opinions?

        • You obviously are either not a parent, or you are one of those who believes your children can do no right. You certainly cannot live in or near a large city, or you would be used to the “not my baby” screams even when the kid still has the smoking gun in his hands while being hauled off by the police. And I will tell you, as a mother and grandmother, I have total admiration for what this woman has done, regardless of her prior parenting abilities. Or lack thereof.

            • Brava? Come on, sir. “oldgraymary” has applied rules 18, 29, and 30 of Arthur Schopenhauer’s famous work. Ol’ Arthur would be proud that 3 of his sophist guidelines are used in such small a space.

              “You obviously are either not a parent, or you are one of those who believes your children can do no right.”

              Yes Obviously. I have a stated disagreement with you, therefore I must be completely opposite of you. Way to divert the discussion so I have to now explain that yes, I am a parent, and yes I love them! SHOCKING to you as it may be!

              “You certainly cannot live in or near a large city, or you would be used to the “not my baby” screams even when the kid still has the smoking gun in his hands while being hauled off by the police.”

              Mmkay. More diversion that I have to explain which is irrelevant to the discussion. Here you are partially correct. Wrong on where I live. I do live in a big city. Correct on the connotation that I don’t live in a city rampant with young boys murdering young girls. I feel for anyone in that condition and would recommend they move.

              “And I will tell you, as a mother and grandmother, I have total admiration for what this woman has done, regardless of her prior parenting abilities. Or lack thereof.”

              Good, nice appeal to an authority, conveniently in this case, yourself. You are a mother and grandmother. Congratulations, discussion over. All non-mothers and non-grandmothers, thou art wrong by all accounts. I can tell you “as a human” MURDER is WRONG at the highest level of severity (among other crimes) and the impulse of turning in MURDERERS overrules the impulse to aid and abet a criminal relative.

              Now that your rhetorical irresponsibility is addressed, can we get back on topic?

              I have not called her a “villian” by any means, she made the right decision, however its a bit hasty to call her a “hero”.

              • Brava! goes to the last line: “I have total admiration for what this woman has done, regardless of her prior parenting abilities. Or lack thereof.”

                She’s right. You’re wrong. Simple as that.

        • The vast, VAST majority of parents will stand by their child no matter what, either through denial or loyalty, and the majority of the public believes that’s the right thing to do, and that”ratting out” a child is wrong. Thus doing the right thing requires courage. It is naive to claim that doing what is “obviously” right deserves no praise. Look up “ethical dilemma” in the terms section, and then we’ll talk.

          • ethical dilemma understood….

            again. Severity, severity, severity.

            Child steals car radio from neighbor : don’t turn child in to authorities. Crime not so severe, cover for child, without guilty conscience.

            Child murders neighbor’s girl for bicycle…. I shouldn’t have to even repeat that.

            Relativity matters.

            She did the right thing. Still not a hero.

            • Social and community norms dictate different conduct–yes, even with murder. She bucked those norms to do the right thing. She will be a pariah in certain peer groups. Cope and doctors should self report, but most don’t, because pf peer pressure. Those who do deserve praise, even if it’s “obviously” the right thing to do. Like the mother, they are bucking a flawed norm. That’s a hero.

              • Upon deeper introspection, I will modify my comment.it does take courage into do such a thing if it was on mere suspicion.had she caught the boys with a smoking gun or just pulling the knife out, you’ll have to do better convincing me of any heroism vs simply the obvious right choice.

  2. Either way, it breaks my heart that she even had to go through this. And what if the boys were pulling a prank and really didn’t even do it,like it was a one-up-man-ship bragging to their peers? It’s something kids are prone to do.

  3. A hypothetical: what if framing this as “ratting out” was a deliberate attempt by the author to say that “ratting out” someone actually WAS the right thing to do?

  4. I think she is a very strong person who did the right thing even though it hurt her! I would turn my kids in if they needed to be held responsible for what they did, and I hope they are charged as adults!!!

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