(The following was posted on the North Bend Police Department's Facebook page following comments about an incident involving the department's investigation of a video of a teen putting a vape device into an infant's mouth).
I was a young person once. I did some really stupid stuff. Often, I had instant regret for something I did or said ... but it was too late, it was already done. Sometimes, it caused deep grief and depression. I'm thankful that I had people in life that not only held me accountable for my words and actions, but who supported me and told me, "What you did doesn't have to define your life."
The event in North Bend this past weekend was sad on all accounts. It is and will be investigated fully and every possible resource given to assure nothing like it ever happens again.
You know what doesn't help make it better? Name-calling, verbal threats, written threats, vile disgusting things, that while intended to cast stones at the person responsible for the act really only reflect poorly on us and our entire society.
Now is a time for growth as human beings. A time to demonstrate disapproval for an action, but to do so with integrity, honor, and a sincere hope for us to do better as a human race. Why? Because our children are watching us.
The event that unfolded in North Bend and our response to it create an opportunity for us to teach our children (and some adults) how a mature society should handle these things. Talk about it with your kids. Talk about it with your family. Talk about it with your friends. Watch your children's social media accounts. Correct poor responses founded in hate and promoting public shaming.
People make mistakes. Mistakes that will follow them the rest of their lives. Mistakes for which they'll have to answer to long into their future. We can condemn the act without condemning the individual.
Casting stones should be reserved for those who are above reproach ... for those who have never made a mistake in their life. I have yet to meet one, including the one in the mirror.
One Team - One Community.
UPDATE: Clearly people have misunderstood this post or portions of it. First, the investigation, when complete, will be sent to the District Attorney’s office for charging, like we do with every other criminal case. And to be clear on our assessment of the case and its aftermath ... Introducing a vape pen to an infant = very bad. The world directly harassing, threatening, and urging a teen to kill herself = also bad.
Chief Robert Kappelman
North Bend Oregon Police Department