Las Vegas Sun

November 22, 2017

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Letter to the readers:

When children go bad

Comments on a story lead us to wonder about parents’ experiences

Dear Readers,

On Friday, reported the details of the arrest of Christine Gulick and Devon Cooper, who are accused of a string of burglaries and thefts over the course of several weeks.

The pair managed to elude capture for several days, but the chase ended Thursday. Gulick was arrested outside of an apartment building on Sandhill Road near Boulder Highway; a few hours later, SWAT officers went into an apartment to end a standoff with Cooper.

The Friday story by Conor Shine says that Gulick, 38, and Cooper, 33, both have criminal records. In the online comments section, there was quite a discussion among readers writing about issues broader than this case. Some readers wondered about recidivism.

Commenter westvegas wrote, “I am seriously puzzled by people like this. I just don’t understand what makes them tick.”

Other readers expressed similar questions, and there was a discussion about contributing factors, including the role of the court system, a child’s upbringing and parenting.

A reader who identified herself as Gulick’s mother wrote:

“My daughter was raised in a middle-class home with a father and mother. There was no criminal activity, drugs, etc. She got mixed up in meth, and it went downhill from there. You can’t always blame a person’s mother, as Freud would do, for the kids’ behavior. Sometimes good parents just have ‘bad’ kids. Bad parents can also have ‘good’ kids.”

While we can’t vouch for the veracity of the commenter’s claim to be her mother, the comment is worth discussing.

Being a parent, as has been said, isn’t for the faint of heart. It is filled with struggles and challenges, but a situation like this would be a nightmare. No sane parent wants to raise a “bad” kid, much less a criminal. And having your child show up in the newspaper — complete with mugshot — isn’t something you put in the annual Christmas letter.

Parents, what do you think? Is the commenter right: Do good parents sometimes have bad kids (or bad parents have good kids)?

What has your experience been? Have you had a child end up on the wrong side of the law? What was the experience like? Afterwards, did you see anything you would do differently?

We’d love to hear from you. You can send a letter to the editor to via email or you can send it snail mail (Letters to the editor, Las Vegas Sun, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074) or you can fax it to (702) 383-7264.



Matt Hufman is the assistant managing editor/opinion.

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