- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Wildewood is no longer the place it used to be. Where we once could let our teenagers walk in the dark to a friend’s home, we now run the risk of having them held at gunpoint, face down on the ground, for seemingly “trespassing.” We are referring to the incident involving two Wildewood teenage boys that was featured in the Dec. 19, front-page article, “Mothers express fears after sons held at gunpoint.”
We are angry at the reaction and statement from St. Mary’s County’s state’s attorney, Richard Fritz, because he feels it more necessary to protect an armed homeowner than an unarmed 17-year-old boy.
Mr. Fritz stated the one teenager had intruded on the armed resident’s property, “or so close to it that it doesn’t make any difference in the middle of the night.” For those not aware (and it seems Mr. Fritz is not), Wildewood is filled with neighborhoods that have unclear property lines and common areas between streets. It is indiscernible for an adult in daylight let alone a teenager at night to know exactly where a property ends and a common area begins. The teen involved believed he was passing through a common area as so many of our children do when walking through the neighborhood.
Mr. Fritz went on to say, “This confrontation was in the dead of night.” As stated in the article, the incident occurred at 11:30 p.m., hardly the dead of night and certainly before the midnight curfew for those under 18 years of age. We have to wonder — -if the incident had occurred at 4 p.m. or 9 p.m., would the homeowner have been cited? He continues, “It’s lucky nothing else happened.” On that point we agree with Mr. Fritz. Had the gun discharged, we very likely could have had a teenager’s death on our hands.
Everyone has a right to protect their own life and property, but we strongly believe an unacceptable line was crossed that night. Mr. Fritz either doesn’t understand this or has failed to move forward with the times. Don’t children, teenagers included, have a right to feel safe in their own neighborhood?
Dan and Megan McNamara, California