A girl in Gainesville, Florida called 911 on her father after he hit her in the back of the head with a slice of pizza Friday. The 38-year-old father was arrested and charged with child abuse without great harm, a third-degree felony, according to the Associated Press. It is not known how old the child abuse victim of pizza slice assault was, nor was her age disclosed, but it is probably safe to say that it was fortunate that the police arrived when they did or the next slice might have been the end of the young lady. Cold pizza can be pretty hard.
As is the case of most heinous crimes of this nature, the names have not been disclosed so as to protect the identity of the victim. Truly, how would she have ever faced her girlfriends after being assaulted by a slice of pizza?
It seems that the trouble started when the father asked the girl to get off the computer. He chose a few indecorous words, including some that were racist and sexist. It seems that the young woman in question returned as good as she got, whereupon said father wielded a slice of pizza and let fly, hitting the girl in the back of the head.
It is unknown what kind of pizza it was.
But it is a clear case of child abuse. Without harm.
Ever thought of strangling one of your children? Not even right after they have smarted off at you for about the tenth time in as many mumbled, whiny answers? Not even after they called you some barely audible curse word under their breath? Not even that time they hurled a plainly spoken epithet about your canine lineage? No?
Deputy Nick Vickers said that the father “intentionally threw a slice of pizza at the victim, striking her in the back of the neck, against her will.”
And it probably was against her will, considering that most youths like their pizza to hit them somewhere around the tongue area.
But was this family spat worthy of police involvement? An arrest? Is this the way we handle unruly children and food fights these days?
Attorney David Wolf, writing on his Florida Child Injury Lawyer Blog, stated that police have a difficult time with incidents such as these. He said: “If the police are too lenient, child may be subject to more abuse. If the police are too strict, some may argue that hampers the parent’s ability to discipline their own children.”
So, what’s a parent to do?
First, they should stop verbally abusing their children. Racist and sexist remarks are unwarranted, no matter what the situation might be. Verbal abuse is not a very good problem solver. Second, never hit a child, either directly with a limb or with an extension of your hand or foot (throwing or kicking things, use of a weapon, etc.). It is often counterproductive to hit a child even when one’s intent may be benign or cautionary. Third, learn to deal with confrontations in a more adult manner. Stooping to the level of a child only belittles the adult. The child acting like a child might be annoying and frustrating but it is normal. An adult acting like a child, whether it be in a regular or tense situation, is not normal and often counterproductive.
In this case, the father made several mistakes, the first of which was calling the girl names. Then he allowed the situation to get out of hand by assaulting her with a (deadly? non-deady?) pizza slice.
He should have ate the evidence before the police got there.
Don’t people watch Alfred Hitchcock anymore?