I used to roll my eyes when my mother would make statements about being judged by the company you keep, along with a lot of other things. Sorry, Mom. I wish you were here so I could tell you how right you were. But I never kept really bad company, so I couldn't really understand the true meaning (and truth) behind this particular saying.
I've learned it now, though, the hard way. My family's life is now controlled by one sick individual who my son became acquainted with over the summer. This kid (Jon) is the next door neighbor of my son's best friend. He is 16 years old. His parents are doctors. They leave him alone 3 - 4 nights per week while they spend time at their beach house. He deals drugs from their home. He steals from other kids. He stole my son's cell phone "as a joke" and sold his SIM card. (We have proof of this.) He threatens people. He trashed my son's car to the tune of more than $500.
Jon has recently decided that some money was taken from his room. He has also decided that my son and his friend are the only ones who could have done this. At least that is his excuse for terrorizing all of us, assaulting my kid's friend's house, and stalking them both on campus with threats and demands to fight. Nevermind that he was probably too stoned to know if he ever really had the money, where he left it, or how he might have spent it.
We've reported it all to SFCC police, who have been very helpful. We've also had to report it to ASO, who were also very helpful. Now, we have to obtain a restraining order just to try to protect ourselves. I hate having to drag all this law enforcement into my life. The worst thing I've ever done was get a speeding ticket.
I'm embarrassed, but worse, I am scared. We can't get the car fixed until we know this is over. We cannot afford to continually repair vandalism. There are constant threats that come in via text messages and voice mail (ASO was pretty shocked to hear those). My son's best friend lives next door to Jon, and his parents have witnessed the drug activity and the assault on their house, but are too scared to make an official complaint. Jon has already hurt one of their dogs, and they are afraid to file a complaint because they think he will hurt their dogs again or worse.
Jon's parents don't care a bit. When they were told by their neighbors about suspicious activity at their home when they are gone, they waited 3 weeks to respond and then asked the neighbors to watch their house. Maybe a restraining order will get their attention, but I doubt it.
It doesn't take much to get involved with the wrong crowd. It can be a huge task to get uninvolved. We had hoped that the whole thing would burn itself out if ignored, but that isn't the case here.
Let's face it, if my son and his friend had never gotten involved with this jerk none of this would be happening. However, at the ripe old age of 17, none of us is really very well versed in the ways of the world. One out-of-control kid can wreak havoc that you cannot even begin to imagine.
If anyone has any good ideas about stopping this, let me know. In the meantime, I highly recommend getting a wonderful dog over having children. Dogs don't talk, don't make friends you don't want them to have, and are always happy to see you. They are predictable and reliable. They rarely cause terrible stress on your home life.
Damn, I need a vacation. Too bad I'm afraid to leave town.