Saturday, September 17, 2005

esmie chronicles: it takes a village

My first reaction to news of fellow blogger Esmie Tseng being arrested for the brutal murder of her mother, Shu Yi Zhang, was that it's not right for this precocious 16-year-old to be charged for first-degree murder as an adult. Of course, I wasn't alone in feeling this way.

Last week, Jacob, a sort of digital pointman for a group known as "Friends of Esmie," sent me an e-mail with comments he'd gathered from adults who know Esmie, and who want to see her tried as a juvenile. Here are some of those testimonials:
It's a real shame, what happened to the poor girl. I'd like to know how she gets tried, but it seems all the websites that talk about her are written by idiots who think the whole thing is funny. She doesn't deserve to be tried as an adult, she's just a confused kid who did needs help.

As the administrator of the Church Of Lazlo Message Boards which Esmie frequented, I had the pleasure of talking to her every week. Having a little more inside information than the rest of you, I'm relatively certain there is much more to the story than what you're finding and writing. When the trial's over, those of you who've written about how Esmie is a murderer and a criminal and deserving of this whole thing, are going to feel like you owe this little girl an apology."
Church Of Lazlo Message Boards Administrator (Note: Church of Lazlo is a popular KC radio show)

Esmie is the kind of person you always want to include with your social activities. For our family this includes; camping, dinners, movies, holiday outings, family functions, sleep overs, etc. She always makes us proud. Her manners are excellent. Conversations are different, and unique. She always wants to help."
Linda S.

My name is Cindy Chang. I am an Emergency physician. My husband and I have four children who take piano lessons from the same teacher who taught Esmie Tseng. My oldest son is a year younger than Esmie and has always looked to Esmie as a role model in her talent and dedication to the piano. Esmie has always been a well-behaved, courteous, respectful child to our observations and I would be proud to have her as my child.
Cindy C. Chang, MD

I have known Esmie since Kindergarden. She caught my attention as an amazing child when she read to the class the first week. I'm happy that my daughter, Katie, is friends with Esmie as I saw her develop through grade school years and into high school. Esmie is one of Katie's close friends and a beautiful talented girl. As a parent I feel connected to her as one of my girls and love the girl she had become. I give my support to her at this time fully and with love.
Nancy O'Brien

Since we met Esmie about 1-l/2 years ago, she always treated us with respect being polite, well-mannered and engaging in conversation. She impressed us as someone who would go really far in life.
Ross & Ruth

Hello Esmie,
I am praying for you and trusting God to deliver you from all of this, i know what you did,if you actually did it, was at a moment that your mind had just blanked out, this happen to me at the age of 9 when my mother was whipping me with a leather belt, i came back to myself while my mother was whipping me,and she was saying "are you going to hit me again?" and i said no...but i did not know i hit her and i swear to God that i still don't recall ever hitting my mother. this is what i would call temperary insanity, honey i am standing for you and praying for you every moment of the day and night since i heard of this on tv. i don't think they should ever try you as an adult,and my reasons are clear... my story above explains this to you and them. it cam happen, but sweetie i am praying that God will intervene for you.i would love to be your friend. please pray yourself and believe God for the miracle, as Jesus said whatsoever you ask in my name i will do it.honey just keep your head up high and trust God.
Wayne W

When I talked with jacob a week or so ago, he told me that he would, without hesitation, open his home to Esmie, even though he has not met her, and only came to know about her through news reports about a grizzly crime. He prefaced this statement by carefully pointing out that he has children of his own, and he would never do anything to put them in harm's way.

This struck me as a very powerful statement, as do the ones above. Clearly, a community of people has been touched by this girl and her story, and this is something I want to explore much more deeply, as I am keenly interested in how communities foster succeeding generations, particularly during the teen years. I believe the ways in which we relate to teens, especially under the most extreme circumstances, can tell is a great deal about ourselves

What is your immediate reaction to the comments posted above?

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