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Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, Iowa, 9 November 1998
Neighbor accused of spanking boy
86-year-old arrested: The boy's bike tire hit some of the man's marigolds
NEVADA (AP) - Carroll Miller said he was just protecting his marigolds when he scooped an 8-year-old boy and his bike out of a flower bed, then swatted the boy on his buttocks. But the boy's mother and the police don't see it that way.
"It's not right for a neighbor to spank a child," said the boy's mother, Jennifer Bonham. "Especially when I don't even spank my children."
Miller, 86, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor assault for what he thought was a reasonable reprimand Aug. 13.
Joshua Bonham said he smacked the curb at the dead end of the street in the mobile home park and his bicycle tire hit the row of tall orange flowers as he fell.
"He really lost control. He was lying there bawling," Miller said. "I made the mistake of picking him up. I said 'hey mister,' and I just gave him a little tap on the back," he said waving the back of his hand forward.
"I never spanked him," Miller said. "A spanking is turning him over your knee."
After Joshua came to her crying, Jennifer Bonham said her son asked if it was OK for Miller to spank him.
"I said 'no way' and I went ahead and called the police to make sure he felt safe," Bonham said.
Nevada Police Chief Mark See said there was a visible mark left on Joshua's buttocks.
"Neighbors shouldn't be held to a lesser standard than parents are (for hurting children)," See said.
Neighbor Merle Sandrock, 59, said the incident has been blown way out of hand. "Sometimes older folks tend to get a little more excited over the little things," he said.
"It's not like he's a child abuser," Sandrock said. "I don't think he should have been arrested."
Miller posted a $175 cash bond and a court date was set for Monday. He plans to plead guilty because it's cheaper to pay the $100 fine than to pay a lawyer.
"I'm not very proud of it, but by golly, I don't like to be run over either," Miller said.
Other children in the neighborhood said Miller has yelled if they go into his yard.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin, 29 November 1998
The morning mail
What happened to discipline?
From Journal Sentinel readers
What is wrong with the fathers of this state? First, you read about boys wanting to kill their school principal and fellow classmates. Then, you read in the paper about boys chasing a 73-year-old man out of his home and doing damage to it and also raping some girls ("More arrests sought in Madison crime spree," Nov. 21).
Don't the fathers believe in using discipline on their boys any more? Fathers now should have what my father had when I was small, as did most fathers at the time: a razor strop, which was used for something more than sharpening a razor.
You would try something like these boys did, and it wouldn't take long for my father to get that strop off of the hook and lay it on your bottom good and hard. It sure would make you think twice before doing something again.
I know people will say, "Oh, that is child abuse." My father did not abuse me. He was trying to teach me to be a decent person and not one to cause trouble. I don't believe in child abuse. I would never want anybody to abuse a child.
But not believing in spanking a child is foolish. A good spanking didn't hurt us when we were small and it sure isn't going to hurt anybody now.
That strop hurt like blazes when it was laid on me, but it taught me to respect my parents, teachers and everybody else. Maybe it is time for fathers to get back to the old days and get a strop in their house and use it when it is needed.
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