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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
What is wrong with people, anyway?

Grandmother shot, kids gearing to get little more than a slap on the wrist... (bugmenot.com gives wildotter@gmail.com/555556 if it harasses you to register)

Beloved garden is no longer a refuge
by John Kass

Published August 17, 2006

Katerina Pavlatos is a grandmother who loves her garden.

She has fruit trees, an apple and a pear. A grape arbor shades a patio and fountain. There are hundreds of fragrant flowers and vines in bloom--oleander, jasmine, roses and dahlias. All of them neat, meticulous, tended.

There was not one brown leaf, not one leaf was spotted with mildew, or torn or withered. Not one. I've seen beautiful gardens before, but none as fine as this.

"I love my children and grandchildren first," the 76-year-old woman told me Wednesday. "And I love my garden. It's the one thing I have. I used to go out by myself in the back yard and water in the mornings to talk to all my flowers. But now, I don't go by myself."

Then her shoulders started heaving. She put her hand to her face to try to stop what was happening there.

"I'm sorry," she said later, her eyes wet. "It's just that now, after all these years, I'm afraid of my garden. I can't go out in my own garden since the boys shot me."

On July 31, she was attacked while watering in the morning in the backyard of her North Side home in the 2700 block of West Farragut Avenue. Through an open window of the building across the alley, three teenage boys from Glenview began shooting pellet guns at her. The first shot hit the wall behind her. The next shot hit Pavlatos in the face, under the right eye. Another hit her arm, and I saw the wound, a white puffy scar.

She screamed and screamed but the boys didn't stop shooting. She was hit several more times. Police recovered 15 pellets on the ground.

The three teens, 16-year-olds from the north suburbs, apparently have plenty of clout. They were working as summer painters for Swedish Covenant Hospital, painting an auxiliary building across the alley from the Pavlatos home. They were about 50 feet away when they decided to have some fun and shoot an old lady, if that's what you'd call fun.

Oh, and one more thing. The mother of one of the boys is a senior vice president at Swedish Covenant.

Katerina's son Demetri, 33, a broker, was home that day. He chased the boys up the stairs of the building.

"And as I'm getting up the back porch, I hear these kids laughing. And as soon as I get up there, they slam the door in my face," Demetri Pavlatos said.

The teens fled down the front stairs. But they forgot a school backpack, recovered minutes later by Chicago police who found identification inside. The teens were soon arrested and hauled back to the scene.

Then Swedish Covenant security arrived. One senior hospital security official talked to the cops and Demetri Pavlatos.

"He comes up to me and says: `Listen, you guys are making a big deal of this. You know these are just kids, and they were joking around. You don't want to ruin their lives. You know, you should just let it go.'"

The three teens were taken into custody, and the Pavlatos family was told the boys would be charged with aggravated battery. That's the charge required when someone shoots a gun at someone else, even if they're from Glenview and one is the son of a hospital big shot.

Unfortunately for Katerina Pavlatos, things progressed the Chicago way. According to police documents, the aggravated battery charge was reduced to "reckless conduct," a misdemeanor. Monique Bond, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman, said the teens admitted their guilt, yet she tried to minimize the incident. Bond said Katerina Pavlatos refused medical attention. But Katerina only refused Swedish Covenant, and Demetri took her to another hospital.

"There was no proof that would indicate they knew exactly who their target was," she said. "Once all the facts were presented, it was determined there was no physical harm."

No physical harm? I saw the wound on her arm. I saw how she sobbed when she talked of it, and of the boys' parents, whom she says never visited her to apologize.

"They didn't know their target?" said another son, Angelo Pavlatos, 37. "They shot her in the face. They shot her in the arm. Then they shot her in the leg. And the body. Over and over.

"Fifteen times they shot, and it was an accident? It wasn't an accident," Angelo said. "But they lowered the charges. If my mom was someone important politically, they wouldn't have lowered the charges, would they?"

Police spokeswoman Bond now tells us that the youths will be punished through a community policing program. They'll be sentenced, somehow, by a panel of three teen "jurors," possibly to community service. I find this idea so ridiculous I'd thought I'd mention it publicly.

If the boys were from Englewood, say, and if Katerina Pavlatos were the mother of the police chief, or the alderman, or the county prosecutor, things would be different. The boys wouldn't be judged by their peers, but by 12 strangers in a cold courtroom at 26th Street and California Avenue.

"What kind of boy does this thing?" Katerina asked me, crying again, in her garden, among flowers she's now afraid to care for alone. "To shoot an old woman, to laugh. What kind of man will this become?

There are so many things wrong with this situation I'm not sure I can begin to count them. Bad enough that anyone thought shooting at an old lady watering her flowers is fun. But for their parents to use their power and influence to reduce the charges and try and sweep the whole thing under the rug?

Unsurprising, but still outrageous. There are those who say parents should protect their kids, and to a scertain extent I believe this to be completely true, but this?


How is it truly protecting a young adult to shield them from the consequences of their own horrendous actions? While it is possibly true that their lives will not follow the path they may have originally set for themselves (no real surprise there, really) their new paths don't have to lead to ruin. Maybe they won't get into Harvard and make the contacts mummy and daddy want them to -- maybe if they go somewhere else, they'll actually make better ones? You never know where you'll meet the next Einstein, or Curie or Nightengale or Crick/Watson, or whomever.

I'll be the first to say I doubt jailtime would do them much good. I also don't think community service will teach them much -- boys who laugh while an old woman screams in agony for them to stop do not strike me as good people to try to give object lessons to by putting them in an old-folks home, or helping vicitims (poor victims, to be honest, should these boys be inflicted on them), or in a hospital to see the end results of their behavior.

I'd love to see a court order for shunning though. A year of having no person speak to them, except to give them homework or chores, look at them other than to asses their health or ability to perform some act... *that* might teach them that just because they think it's amusing, doesn't mean anyone else does. Placards with "I tortured and tried to kill an old woman I didn't even know" worn, like a sandwich sign, branded with the letters MB -- for murderous bastards -- a sign that people cannot ignore and the boys have to work past. Their faces plastered in the media -- "never forget that the sons of the guys who run a hospital think it's funny to hurt people, give them wide berth".

Pity it's considered cruel and unusual punishment, because I expect it'd do more to correct their behavior and make them think than nearly anything else.


The real pity in this country is that perps get more compassion and sympathy in the court system and by society than the victims that they treat cruelly and with little regard to their being another human being.

Sad part is because these "kids" get basically no punishment for their actions they will continue to do these heinous things *because they can* with no consequences. I say if you do the crime you do the time.

They should be made to get jobs to pay for her to have a gardener to come tend her garden since she doesn't feel safe out there any longer. If they were busy working to pay back this victim they would be too busy to get themselves in trouble and put an innoncent woman's life in danger.

I feel so bad for the lady. Can't even enjoy her garden in the twlight years of her life!

How are you doing by the way?
Hugs, Christina

I'm pretty good. I got a new job that pays well enough for me to get a new car (yay! I loves me my Toyota Prius Hybrid!) that I mostly enjoy. I kind of miss working as a cashier -- I don't get to see nearly so many people these days -- but I'm happy. Which reminds me, I've an extra copy of Sense and Sensibility if you'd like it -- either to watch or auction.

How are you feeling? I saw your awesome doll outfits. Mom would have loved to see those, she loved dolls.

*hugs* -- Jill

I'd love to have the copy of Sense an Sensibility.Thank YOu for offering. We didn't get to have our garage sale this week (was supposed to have it today) because my daughter had to do it on Thursday and Jill couldn't lift the boxes by herself to et things together. We figure to have one next month when Larry is off on a Saturday. He's working again today.

Thanks for thinking of me. Glad to hear you're doing OK, and I'm sending Hugs your way!