Friday, June 8, 2012

Dylan Wayne Milam: Why?

It was 40 years ago, but it seems like only last month to the two families involved. The 16 year-old boys had been hunting that Saturday. The early evening knock at the door wasn't unusual; if the parents heard the voice of their son's best friend, they would have found it reassuring, not an indicator of a tragedy that within seconds would change their lives forever.

Yet their son's hunting companion arrived on a mission, holding his weapon in his hand. He asked his long-time best friend if he was indeed now dating a certain girl. When the boy honestly replied in the affirmative, his friend shot him. The young victim died hours later after surgery at ECM Hospital, the wound in his stomach too large to contain.

When the news of the murder reached the public, the reaction was almost universal. Sixteen? How can one as young as 16 contemplate murdering his best friend? Here we are in 2012, and we're asking the same question, but now the age of the accused and his victim is only 13.

Last Sunday, Dylan Wayne Mylam was shot a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. at this residence in Leighton, an act his friend who lives in the home has confessed to. The young man originally told authorities the shooting was accidental, but investigators believe the shooting was deliberate. Now their friends and classmates are left to speculate on the motive.

All juvenile proceedings are closed, but the shooter could be incarcerated until he's 21--in other words between six and seven years. No football games, homecoming parades, harvest festivals, Christmas parties, proms, or graduations in this boy's future. No college either, at least until he's released at the age of 21. He may not technically have a felony conviction to report to school registrars, but they will know he has no regular high school diploma. This is not something that can't be overcome. The guilt is another matter.


1 comment:

  1. I feel like an old fogey saying this, but I wonder if the popularity of the 1st person shooter (FPS) games has any influence in these recent deaths? Kids are almost desensitized to shooting their best friends in Halo, DOOM, and Call of Duty. Perhaps there is something to the reports that these games aren't for children.