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Ah, to be 17 again: Jasmine Bedwell controversy

Think back to when you were 17.

Those were the best days of your life, right? You were making all the best decisions. You probably regret nothing. Now, imagine that you’re Jasmine Bedwell, a 17-year-old living in Tampa, Fla.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Bedwell’s life has gone something like this: She’s run away from home more than 21 times. When she was in the fifth grade, her mother had a boyfriend call the police on Bedwell claiming that she had gotten physically violent over doing chores. Jeff Rainey, president and CEO of Hillsborough Kids Inc. said that she was abused all of her life by her caretakers.

Bedwell, who is now 17, gave birth to a baby boy named Emanuel Murray. The child’s father is Emanuel Wesley Murray and he is currently in prison. She became involved with a 21-year-old named Richard McTear Jr. who, to make a long story very short, threw baby Emanuel out of his car on I-275 on May 5.

Bedwell pressed charges against McTear and he now faces the possibility of the death penalty. According to the St. Petersburg Times, he’s facing murder, kidnapping and aggravated child abuse charges.

If you’re like me, Bedwell’s life is nothing like your life when you were 17. Many of us can’t even imagine living in her shoes at this stage in our lives. I can’t imagine the pain and guilt she’s feeling.

As she deals with the tragic death of her child, news just broke that she’s thinking about setting out on a suing streak. Included would be her apartment complex, Hillsborough County Sherrif’s Office, the Department of Children & Families and Hillsborough Kids. All of which she would be claiming a “wrongful death” charge. Her reasoning is that since she’s a child herself, these agencies should have had her, basically, on a shorter leash.

In her mind, it’s not her fault that she didn’t stay away from McTear, even after she had a restraining order filed against him for abuse. The proper paperwork never went through so the restraining order was void.

This case has brought a whole new controversy. Apparently we don’t care about McTear anymore, now everyone is upset that Bedwell is being so irresponsible and not willing to take the blame, which is probably NOTHING like how any of us acted when we were 17 and did something wrong.

This story took the front page of the Tampa Bay Times, a publication of the St. Petersburg Times on Thursday. Published inside were the nasty comments of Hillsborough residents who are outraged. These were taken from Tampabay.com on Wednesday:

“Wow! What a piece of irresponsible garbage this woman is. Her sense of entitlement is staggering.”

“Poor me my baby’s dead but hey I just won the lawsuit lotto! I feel much better.”

Right, speaking of maturity!

I’m not sure what’s more incredible, the fact that these people will probably not be directly affected by this situation at all, regardless of the outcome, or their inability to understand that the loss of a loved one is an awfully difficult situation to deal with at any age.

I’m all about speaking your mind but, without sensitivity, it can return void.

Think back to when you were 17. If this was your life, what would you cling to?