Douglas Kennedy Just Learned an Important Lesson: Parenthood Means Greater Social Control

Posted on February 26, 2012 by



There are plenty of ways to get into trouble with the law, and while parenthood is generally associated with desistance from crime, it does open up new avenues for social control.

Douglas Kennedy (yes, one of those Kennedys) reportedly ended up in an altercation with nurses over his newborn infant, and whether he was allowed to take the baby outside. While the details are unclear – who was the aggressor? who assaulted whom? – and may require video to resolve, what is certain is that Kennedy has already been charged with both harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.

While the state maintains a clear interest in protecting children from abuse and potential harm, such charges of child endangerment raise an important question. Is charging a protective parent with child endangerment the most appropriate course of action? Or does it make more sense to charge Kennedy with any crimes he may have committed against the nurses instead? Criminalizing parents who may be seeking to protect children seems to set a dangerous standard. On the other hand, video could tell a very different story.

What do you think?