On New Years day I received some awful news on my feeds – a twenty five year old “man” stabbed a nine year old boy to death over a video game. Just an awful story but I’m going to report it here because the news reports seem to be focussing on the wrong thing in this story.
Anthony Maldonado got a Playstation 3 for Christmas along with Tony Hawk: Ride, a skateboarding game. He took the console and game with him when he went to stay with his grandparents and over the weekend he stayed over at his uncle’s apartment, an apartment he shared with Aaron Morales and Aaron’s two brothers. At some point Anthony’s uncle went to bed and Aaron’s brothers left to get some food so, by 3:30AM when Anthony and Morales were alone playing the game and something drove Morales into a rage where he stabbed the child repeatedly in the chest and face, they were alone. Antonio Juela, Anthony’s grandfather had this to say about the attack: “Anthony was playing on Playstation when his friend came and stabbed him. My grandson died over a video game.” And that’s the part that the news stories are running with. The problem is that it’s not the whole story.
First we’ll have a look at Aaron Morales. This is a man with dozens of prior arrests and convictions for assault, larceny, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana, who was sentenced to two years in a state prison in 2005 following one of his assault convictions. Police sources have confirmed that Morales was also under investigation for allegations of menacing, harassment and possession of weapons. His family claims he has a history of mental illness that was largely ignored by authorities, and his neighbours were already afraid of his increasingly erratic behaviour with one saying that “he was sick in the head”. This is the man that Anthony’s grandparents (who live in the same building and must know these things) have no problem with their son living with and who they let their grandson stay over with. This is the man who Anthony’s uncle let play video games with his nine year old nephew and had no problem leaving him alone with at half past three in the morning. This is the man who killed that child, yet the newspapers are focussing on the videogame element and even running “9 year old stabbed over video game” headlines.
I know that newspapers are a business aiming to pull in sales and make money but come on, isn’t anyone going to say the truth? No, it’s got to be me then? Fine, this child’s family are just as much to blame for his murder as the psycho holding the knife.