Someone has to pay; should it be the teen?

“I saw this boy lob a smoke bomb down into the ravine,” hiker Liz FitzGerald told the Willamette Week newspaper. “I saw his friend, or a guy that was there with him videotaping it with his phone. I looked over and I asked, ‘Do you realize how dangerous that is?’ ”
Did they?
The Eagle Creek Fire has claimed 48,000 acres and counting, since it started the afternoon of Sept. 2. More than 140 hikers on the highly popular Eagle Creek Trail were left stranded overnight. Level 3 evacuations forced people out of their homes. Smoke 3 miles high caused ash to sprinkle over the Portland metropolitan area. Picture that. Now, picture that as if you were 15 years old. Was this a malicious act? What should the punishment be for starting the nation’s No. 1-priority wildfire?
It’s hard not to question the judgment of someone lobbing a smoke bomb in a dry forest in the middle of the hot summer. But honestly, how ignorant could you possibly be?
At the age of 15, I vividly remember being an idiot and doing idiotic things. Nothing of this nature, but taking a step back, I can say I never had an ill mindset or a bad heart about the idiotic things I did. Unfortunately, because of the scant information released we don’t know if that was the case for these teenagers. I would assume not.
Even so, in a perfectly sensible attempt to prevent accidents and mistakes such as these, there’s an old saying i learned from my mother, a very brilliant theory giving the idea that ‘If you play with fire, there’s a possibility you may get burned, or worse.”
I think it’s fair to say the “or worse” has happened, and it’s a really big deal. No doubt people are fired up about Eagle Creek, but should we be so quick to punish a 15-year-old for something I am sure he is struggling to deal with, and will continue to deal with for the rest of his life?
Some say yes; some say no.
In my opinion, I believe maximum hours of community service and participation in the help of restoring the forest should be mandatory. Fines should also be in order; after all, someone has to pay for this. I would like to see a written apology to the firefighters, evacuees, hikers, and everyone else affected by the Eagle Creek Fire. I believe these deeds are a suitable, yet positive, way of steering this boy’s life into a better direction.
Despite what we think a punishment of this magnitude entails, according to the accused 15-year-old Vancouver boy is already facing major charges, including paying millions of dollars for the disaster , and could spend time in prison. None of which I believe is totally necessary, but unfortunately for the still-unidentified teenager, the law gets the last say, and we just won’t know until the judge drops the hammer.

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