Jim Davenport: Wrong message sent

May 10, 2013 

Wrong message sent

The May 3 article “Student faces felony for having gun” again shows that significant differences exist between law and common sense.

First, the kid made a mistake! He tried to square it by reporting what he had done. It was unloaded, locked in his vehicle, and would any teacher or school employee reasonably have seen the shotgun if David “Cole” Withrow had not told them about it? He could have skipped a class and taken it home, not told anyone or possibly had one of his parents discreetly take it off campus.

I, as a 30-year street cop, former scout and former U.S. Marine, applaud his actions. He tried to do the right thing, showed honesty, honor and integrity. He took responsibility for his actions – rare these days.

A message sent to kids is that if they tell the truth, whether confronted or voluntarily, they might get charged. If they see a loaded weapon, drugs or other contraband in a vehicle, will they report it? Even if this charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, Withrow will have to explain this to every military recruiter, federal investigator and employer inquiring into his background for the rest of his life.

Jim Davenport, Kenly

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