Thank You All for Your Helpful Opinions

My 16-year-old son, Ben:
You cπnt. You fπcking bitch.
I’m gonna hurt you so bad, Mom.
I’m gonna kill you.

My brother:
There is no reason not to believe him.
Ben is a ticking timebomb.
He is a volcano.
Never be alone with him.

Excerpt, 34th Police Report:
Benjamin stands approximately 6’4” tall and weighs about 200 lbs, and seems to bully and intimidate his parents, who are both in their 50s and far less athletically inclined than him.
Cars and house damaged. [see photos]
Father stated that Benjamin turns 18 in 54 weeks and two days, when parents will no longer be legally responsible for minor’s welfare.

Second Therapist:
He says he will do whatever he wants, and he has shown he will do whatever he wants.
I agree that he is dangerous.
His behavior is ominous.
Prognosis is poor. He’s choosing to follow the path of his abusive, addicted biological parents and will spend his life in prisons.

My husband:
Your Honor,
We never thought it would be easy when we brought Ben into our home at age six. But our attempts to parent him cause only safety concerns for all of us. We urgently ask the court to take the steps needed before Ben or those people closest to him are hurt badly, or worse. It is simply a matter of time before Ben’s escalating cycle of abuse and domestic violence results in tragedy.

My aunt:
We’re all so worried about you! Michael heard him say he wants to rape his mother!

My cousin:
Geez, Mom, that’s not what he said! He said he was looking at a sex-with-moms porn site.

Second Probation Officer:
I received his file from the former PO: it’s six inches thick.
The prosecutor recommended more detention time than I did: that never happens.
Ben is playing games as usual. If he refuses rehab, he’ll spend lots of future time in detention.
At age eighteen, he is going to be unhoused, uneducated, and unemployed.

Rehab Discharge Report:
Unsuccessfully discharged from two-month program after three days.
The facility and its clients could not be safe from his behaviors.
Behavior report is confidential and will not be released to parents.
Parents are to pick him up immediately.

He is a danger to himself and to the community.

Judge #7:
This is a CPS issue.

Child Protective Services Supervisor:
This is the court’s issue, not CPS’s.
Usually parents are begging us not to take their children, not the other way around.
We have no place for him. Nobody will take him.
He’s yours until he’s eighteen, and then he will be unleashed upon society.

Social Worker #8, Community Psychiatric Clinic:
Is he Ted Bundy?
I’ve never in all my years of practice seen a security gate like that in a house before.
He reminds me of two of my past clients: one is dead by his own hand; the other stabbed a neighbor 67 times and nearly decapitated her.

My mother:
Oh, no.
Oh, my.
Oh, dear.
Please be careful, Pumpkin.

My friend, MS, Applied Behavioral Science:
Two things get in the way of listening to your intuition: desire and fear.

My 16-year-old son, Ben:
I would never hurt you, Mom. I would never hurt anybody.

Ben would never hurt me.
He is a birdwatcher. He is a liar.
He is a violinist. He is a thief.
He is a master punster. He is an alcoholic.
He is a colorful dresser. He is a sociopath.
He is a baseball fanatic. He is an abuser.
He wouldn’t hurt me. I am afraid of him.
He is my son. He is my son.


  • Jennifer D. Munro’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Salon, Gulf Coast, North American Review, Boulevard, Ninth Letter, Massachusetts Review, Full Grown People, Points in Case, The Razor, and Zyzzyva.

  • Images from Aditya L-1, India's first space-based mission to study the solar system's biggest object, named after Surya, the Hindu god of the Sun, who is also known as Aditya. L1 stands for Lagrange point 1, a spot where the gravitational forces of two large objects, such as the Sun and the Earth, cancel each other out, allowing a spacecraft to "hover." The pictures of the Sun's surface were captured by the Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope.