Marybeth Hicks

Halloween came and went, but Marion Salmon Hedges wasn’t able to hand out the hundreds of dollars worth of candy she purchased for the underprivileged children who annually visit her Manhattan neighborhood.

Instead, she has spent the past 10 days in a medically induced coma at New York’s Harlem Hospital Center.

Mrs. Hedges was the victim of a “prank” by two 12-year-old boys who apparently thought it would be funny to drop a shopping cart from a fourth-story walkway connecting a parking garage to the East River Plaza shopping center.

On Friday in family court, the boys pleaded not guilty to first-degree felony assault charges. The attorney for one of the boys argued for his release to his family pending trial on the grounds that he didn’t mean to harm anyone when he pushed the cart off the skyway. Unmoved, the judge remanded both boys to juvenile custody and ordered them to appear again on Nov. 18.

This is a story seeking a moral.

By all accounts, Mrs. Hedges is truly a remarkable woman. A wife and mother of two teens (her 13-year-old son was with her when she was hit by the cart), she is widely known for her energetic service to her community. She sits on numerous boards and committees, is a leader in the Junior League of New York and works as a real estate agent.

Michael Hedges, her husband, when asked whether he is angry with the boys responsible for his wife’s near-fatal injuries, is quoted as saying, “They’re not adults. They’re children, and children who have been left on their own without supervision.”

The inexplicably compassionate Mr. Hedges apparently believes the boys themselves are victims and therefore are not responsible for their actions.

So is the moral of the story: Children cannot be expected to know right from wrong? Or is it that children living in difficult socioeconomic circumstances are typically unsupervised and therefore not taught right from wrong?

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).