First things first: I am an ex-smoker. But I’m not the kind who goes around like some kind of clean-air facist, broadly waving imaginary smoke away every time I’m within a hundred feet of someone smoking. Live and let live, I say.
Except in this case. This is the story of Kelly Marie Pocock, of Merthyr Vale, Wales, who went to court this month after someone filmed her three-year-old son smoking a cigarette. He wasn’t sneaking a puff; he took a cigarette out of his pack, stuck it in his mouth and lit it with a lighter, all expertly. He’s three.
The friend who captured these shocking images on a cellphone camera managed to film Pocock sitting there chatting on the phone while the little gaffer puffed away. This made it clear to a judge this week that Pocock was not only aware of her son’s habit — she allowed it, and perhaps even taught the boy to smoke.
So. What’s the penalty for this kind of stupidity? In the UK, it’s nothing. The judge found her guilty of child cruelty on Wednesday, but suspended her sentence, because (and this is the weird part) he thought her children needed her at home.
Her children needed her? For what? To teach them how to open a beer bottle? To master the corkscrew? Maybe the three-year-old wants to learn to load a shotgun. Pocock told the court she “now puts her children before herself.” Does this mean they get the last smokes in the pack and she goes without?
This whole thing is very stupid, and very sad. Pocock was stupid. The court should have sent a clearer message with its sentence. And there’s a little boy at the centre of all this; that’s the sad part.
Kudos, though, to the whistleblower. Too many people turn a blind eye to this kind of crap.