Opinion Brief

The Texas dad who killed his daughter's alleged molester: A hero?

No charges are expected against a rancher who says he instinctively killed a man who was allegedly trying to sexually assault the rancher's 4-year-old daughter

This week, a Texas father reportedly beat to death a man whom he caught allegedly trying to sexually assault his 4-year-old daughter. Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said Tuesday that the dad, whose identity has not been released, would probably not be arrested, because he appears to have struck the other man several times in the head "in the course of trying to get her away from him, and protect her." Neighbors in the small town of Shiner have rallied behind the father — a rancher who'd hired the suspected molester to help groom his horses — saying he did what any parent would to protect his child. Should this dad be treated like a killer, or a hero?

This dad was obeying his paternal instincts: Many people, though conflicted, view this father as a hero, says Carolyn Castiglia at Babble. Could he have simply restrained the alleged molester until police arrived? Perhaps. But "I'm sure seeing your child be attacked stirs something primal" in you that's hard to control. I'm guessing "I'd hit or scratch and claw" pretty hard to save my daughter, too.
"Beating your child's molester to death: Heroic or horrible?"

But it's horrible to condone killing anyone: Using accidental deadly force is "excusable if someone walks in on a person actively molesting their child," says Lindy West at Jezebel. But that doesn't mean we should "normalize vengeance" by applauding this dad, or by coming out and saying it's okay for parents to kill child molesters. We have a right to defend our daughters, but we should never condone parents' right to "just go about murdering people."
"Should parents be allowed to murder child molesters? Is this a trick question?"

Hero or not, this dad should face the consequences: I would have wanted to kill anyone who molested my child, says Jeanne Sager at The Stir, but that doesn't mean I would have. Nobody has the right to proclaim himself judge and executioner. So if you do take justice into your own hands, you have to face the legal consequences of your actions. Once this dad started punching, he became "forever marred by having sunk to the criminal level."
"Dad accused of beating daughter's 'molester' to death is no hero"

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