A story hit the news Tuesday that seemed to strike a chord in a big way. A man was arrested in suburban Seattle for slapping a 10-year-old boy who was being loud during a movie.
The man, who told police he thought the person he hit was a grown man, was watching “Titanic” in 3-D with his girlfriend and had asked the people sitting behind to quiet down and stop throwing popcorn, but they laughed at him, he said.
“I got so mad that it just happened,” Yong Hyun Kim, 21, told police who arrested him the night of April 11 at the AMC Kent Station 14, in Kent, a south Seattle suburb.
The 10-year-old lost a tooth and had a bloody nose in the confrontation.
When this story hit the wires, the reaction on my social media sphere was of feigned- or not-so-feigned support for the slapper. One guy suggested he get a medal, while another even vowed to donate to the man’s legal defense fund.
Look, we’ve all dealt with annoying people at movies, whether talking, laughing, texting, throwing stuff, using laser pointers, or even wearing those blinking Bluetooth earpieces right in my line of sight. It’s a problem, and yes, American movie exhibitors have let standards drop to an uncomfortable degree.
But no, the solution isn’t violence, especially when it’s by an adult against a child. There’s really no circumstance in which it’s okay for a 21-year-old to assault a 10-year-old, even if he looks older or is acting obnoxiously.
Kim is charged with second-degree assault, and faces three to nine months in jail, which he richly deserves. Talking in a movie is one wrong, but bloodying a ten-year-old is a much greater one.