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Pensioners rally behind slap-happy 70-year-old

TT/The Local · 17 Dec 2009, 11:46

Published: 17 Dec 2009 11:46 GMT+01:00

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Hundreds of pensioners were expected to turn out on Thursday for the start of Fasth’s trial in front of the district court in Jönköping.

“We’re not coming her because we think what he did is right. But we are coming to stir debate,” Evald Larsson, chair of the Nässjö chapter of the Swedish pensioners association, Sveriges Pensionärsförbund (SPF), told the TT news agency.

With coffee and informational brochures waiting under a marquee, the group is ready for the bus loads of pensioners expected to descend on the city square outside the court house.

Emotions are running high for many of those gathered to support Fasth and they wonder how they should react when provocations from children and teenagers go too far.

“We don’t think it’s fun to be called an old witch or an old fart,” said Larsson.

The assault in question, minor in the eyes of prosecutor Liselotte Nilsson's indictment, took place in July at Folkets Park in Värnamo in south central Sweden.

Fasth, who has been a volunteer at the park since the 1960s, slapped a 12-year-old boy who called the pensioner an old fart (‘gubbjävel’) and then began riding his bicycle across the park’s miniature golf course.

“I don’t regret a thing,” Fasth told TT.

“They really raise hell with all that horsing around.”

According to the 70-year-old, he has not yet succeeded in ridding himself of the young trouble makers.

If anything, he said, things have got worse.

“There are 10 to 15 young people and they don’t care. They continue to shatter lights, use graffiti, set fires, and break everything in sight,” he said.

Larsson plans to hold a speech under the tent today to ask if this is the kind of society people want to live in.

“We have to reflect on how young people can be put on the right path and we have to challenge politicians to talk about this without fear of losing votes,” he said.

Fasth has admitted his guilt in the incident and is ready to accept whatever punishment is meted out.

Story continues below…

“I have no expectations,” he said.

“But it’s good that the public has opened its eyes for how life for an older person can be.”

He has already received several donations to help cover the expected fines he will receive, and more keep coming in.

He plans to donate any surplus left over after the fines are paid to Folkets Park.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:13 December 17, 2009 by livinginsweden
Good on you Grandpa ...
12:43 December 17, 2009 by spongepaddy
Well if parents won't keep charge of the buggers, and the schools aren't allowed to, then I guess it's up to the old people. Go granddad!
13:16 December 17, 2009 by Tennin
It sounds like the local authorities and parents of that community needs to get together and help solve the issue of the young kids there trashing the parks. Possibly making the kids do community service of helping to clean the park when they're caught doing something bad there.

The hands on experience of cleaning up after themselves could end up teaching them that it's not fun to trash the park up.
13:20 December 17, 2009 by jonathanjames61
The Grandpa should have spank the little muster in his butocks.well we beat kids to get to their senses in my country,and thats why we fear our older men and women.The pa should never be charged,charging him will send a wrong message to this LSD generation.learn to respect the olders ones¨,because you will be like them oneday.
13:35 December 17, 2009 by calebian22
Any punishment meted out to the youths if they are ever caught by the authorities will be negligible. In Sweden, it seems that any discipline of any serious kind is traumatic to the poor little skit-tards.
13:58 December 17, 2009 by Beynch
Right on Gramps! This 12-year old, who is probably in dire need of parenting, needed to be taught a lesson! The despicable lawyers prosecuting this are nothing more than sewer rats with the ethical reference points of a cinder block, with the only interest their own, and gaining publicity. Gramps have my total support. I wish I could be there. Go ahead and stick it to these liberal know-it-alls. They're the ones who should be put on trial, not you. As for the 12-year old, may he be placed in an institution as far away as possible from whatever parents he had. Did he have any?
14:11 December 17, 2009 by Osokin
6 comments and none against an old timer slapping a minor ? Not even his own parents can slap him according to the law, and an old fart in a park can ? People go get a common sense pronto ! I hope the oldtimer gets a hefty fine, monetary fines teach just right in this environment. Buncha trolls.
14:51 December 17, 2009 by constitutionalist
Hitting or slapping a kid is not good nor beneficial in its result, however crackerjack kids do need to be held accountable to their actions of destruction and lack of respect for society and the citizens of such. The true harm comes when society looks the other way and these crackers see that hey what the hell I can do whatever I want, bang on my teacher, on my parents, on society even on the police and lawmakers. Kids learn from youth and being that parents are too restricted from even being stern in the voice brings nothing but problems in that youths future. Right or wrong in personal views, society in a whole has diminished in ethics, morals and sund förnuft. Question is how far is it allowed to go and who will make the changes if any at all. Fasth, you stood up for a principal, although maybe should have let him hit you first though, then self de-fenced it, oh yeah even that don't work in sweden unless you feared your life. But anyway, punish the kid with fines and oh nope, can't do that either cause he didn't do anything wrong in the societies eyes. Oh geee, guess its just a dead end case of loose if you do and loose if you don't and loose no matter what.
15:09 December 17, 2009 by Luckystrike
@Const....blah blah blah....

Parents should be fined. (lets face it, it is ultimately the parents fault) No questions asked. Problem with the crackerjack kids will solve itself.
15:15 December 17, 2009 by voiceofreason
No one is happy spanking a child, perhaps some may do it without restraint but ultimately, it is done to set the child on the right path.

If you want peace during the teenage years of a child, correct him/her firmly between the ages of 3 - 6.

After this age, they become unteachable, being strong-willed.
15:24 December 17, 2009 by constitutionalist
The parents should be fined??? How so? This kid is 12, does whatever he wants and could care less what the parents where to tell him. You can't even take away his toys or cell or anything cause then its abuse. Read the laws and you will see. Easy to blame everything on the parents... so lets blame your parents for you not becoming the president nor owner of Microsoft or for every bad thing you said or did before you hit 18. No the truth is those kids need to do some time in community service for their own free will actions.
15:42 December 17, 2009 by karex
Young people need to learn respect and consideration for others. In Sweden there is a serious problem: no real systms in place to cover this need, and severe restrictions on those who could have covered it.

I agree with constitutionalist: It's a Catch-22

Things are getting out of hand - we now hear of cases of 12 and 15-year-olds accused of rape, aggravated assault, etc.

What kind of new adult generation is the country raising?
16:29 December 17, 2009 by coswede
in america gramps would have been packing a 38 and shot the ahole
16:55 December 17, 2009 by norling
No he wouldn't, in U.S. adults can get in big trouble for striking a minor. Just like in Europe the overwhelming majority of people packing "heat" are the police, military or criminals.
17:20 December 17, 2009 by SarahRF
This is absolutely ridiculous. For having so many things going for it, Sweden sure can be effed up sometimes.

Kids need to have some kind of discipline in their lives. How do you learn the difference between right and wrong? Through the consequences! If you're going to wait till the kid grows up and gets to see for himself that his actions have consequences, then you might as well shoot the kid before he reaches his teen years, it'll be easier for him and for society that has to deal with him.

I fully intend on disciplining my children if/when I have them. I do not want my kids to be the little snot-nosed brats that run around, shaming me and insulting the society they live in.

Thank God my parents spanked me as a kid, or grounded me from seeing friends. My life has been all the better for it!
17:42 December 17, 2009 by vladd777
It all starts in the home. Respect is something one learns from parents who ultimately show good example by their own approach. A whack now and again should be part of responsible upbringing.

Politics have, once again, disrupted society.

Gran'pa should get a medal for bravery!
17:44 December 17, 2009 by Zatoichi
Snap kick to groin...works as well.
17:59 December 17, 2009 by Kaethar
Now, I don't think that what he did was right. It's up to the parents (or police) to discipline children when they misbehave. However, taking him to court seems a bit drastic. If it was up to me I'd give him a warning only. He should get off but I'm worried that they'll spin it as a hate crime. If this happens he might even get prison time. I'm expecting fines though but it's apparent that others will chip so at least it will be covered.
18:09 December 17, 2009 by ringorm
18:09 December 17, 2009 by Bensonradar
This is a similar story to the Lund man who was charged with trespassing after dealing with his son's bully.

Mr Fasth was in the park where he slapped the 12-year-old boy. It might have been better if he had verbally abused him, as he was on public property. As the kid verbally abused him, the kid would have shrugged it off.

Better to use words than slaps. Political correctness has made fools of us all. But his parents reported the incident, and the police had to do something in response.

If the police would use common sense and talk to the kid's parents instead of raising a charge, that would work better. The parents would then deal with their rude kid, Mr Fasth would feel better, and the kid would learn its lesson.

Police need to be more sensible. Charging a 70-year-old man makes them look stupid and unable to contain a simple case of hot-headedness.
19:14 December 17, 2009 by proteasome
I think the age of the two really decides how it should be handled. The kid is not very young, 12 and the man is 70. Police should have some common sense, giving a warning to the man and tell the 12 year old that it was a life lesson that if you act like a young jerk bad things can happen to you. Society does not always protect the rude and underserving 100% of the time. What happens to the kid when he is 18 and provokes to someone in a pub in London, or Paris or New York, Detroit, LA... Welcome to the real world punk :)
19:47 December 17, 2009 by hjoian
right on grandad...if the children had any respect whatsoever for other people,he wouldnt have got a slap....big deal!

You seem to be afraid of your own children,Swedens future is fcuked if you let this carry on,dont be so blind!
20:05 December 17, 2009 by jin.malmo
Just curious.......

Were immigrant kids involved in the abuse?
20:34 December 17, 2009 by Mb 65
Young kids of today do not respect anyone or anything not even their parents or the police. The only good thing is that when these kids are Ronald Fasth's age they will have to deal deal with the youth that's around then. If they don't tackle the problem now GOD help them, because there will be no one else.
20:35 December 17, 2009 by vikingmouse
Sadly these days you take your dog to obedience class and let your children run wild. Many can trace their family tree back for quite a few generations, but have no idea where their children are tonight...

We have just come back from a school closing event for the Christmas holidays, and I stand amazed at how the children speak to their teachers. Even though we have been here for 8 years, it still shocks me.

I support the old man! Children here need more "guidance" :)
20:37 December 17, 2009 by lingonberrie
No respect learned at home equals no respect shown to anyone or anything.

Is there no law in the park that prohibits damaging property? Since he clearly damaged property by riding across a golf-green, he, or his parents, are liable.

Better yet, just put 12 year olds and above to age 18 on probation, and afterward "convince" them to join the French Foreign Legion.

After that five year contract, discipline will no longer be a problem.
22:16 December 17, 2009 by wxman
When are punk kids going to learn? Don't fuque with grandpa!
04:04 December 18, 2009 by CanadianInSweden
no one is held accountable or punished enough in this country for anything,im supprised they even have jails...they need to toughen punishments,especially for minors,its a joke..we need more grampas out there beating teenagers,pick up the slack from the justice system
04:23 December 18, 2009 by Da Goat
Sweden needs to pass a law where older people are allowed to smack youngsters.

if you have wild youngsters you take them to your friendly neighbourhood wise person to be disciplined! (old persons are not going to hurt anyone)

the elder people are wise and know how to discipline correctly. I can just hear the parents now "pull your head in or i will take you to the gubbjävel for a thrashing"!

yeah and gubbjävel does not equal what it says it does in the article and if a young whipper snapper called me that it would be the snap kick in the crotch not a slight slap to hurt his feelings and damage his ego .

glad i no longer live back there!
05:27 December 18, 2009 by Kaethar
@jin.malmo: We don't know if they're immigrants only that they're of recent foreign descent. I don't think that's relevant in this case though but it might be how the courts want to spin it. We'll see. :/
07:10 December 18, 2009 by wenddiver
Old people should form their own gangs and harras teenagers and smart-eleck kids.
07:53 December 18, 2009 by karex

Now that's funny! I LIKE your idea!

Makes me chuckle just to imagine a wild gang of senior citizens roaming the streets at night... :D
10:42 December 18, 2009 by Streja
SarahFF, weird how you think spanking has made you a good person and now you want to hurt your own children. I was never spanked as a child. I am well behaved and a good person. If you are in Sweden it's against the law to hit children or anyone for that matter. I don't see veyr well behaved kids in countries where spanking is legal (the UK). Get off your high horse!

Kaethar, if the boy is a newcomer to Sweden or his parents then he is more likely to be hit at home. So obviously it does not work.
10:46 December 18, 2009 by bettan1
and the really sad thing is this punk kid will come out the socialist poster boy hero in all of this. Nobody should ever be shocked when this world turns more and more perverted when you support such a flawed perverted system.

I have every confidence that the parents will now sue the government and win at the already overly taxed citizen's expense!!!
11:41 December 18, 2009 by WriterDirector

'Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child'

It was wrong for the man to slap the kid, Yes. If this dude had slapped My child, He would have received a thrashing. Anyone hurting a child should be accountable, regardless if the kid called Him a name - Name calling from a 12 year old? Geesch.

If anything "Grandpa" should have called the Police, or have cameras installed on the premises. This way the Police could have a better chance at identifying the vandal. But then again the Police are a BIG joke here in Sweden, as they are only good at "Taking a Report".

As far as dealing with the little vandal bast*rd(s), perhaps placing Him, or Her in a adult prison for 1 day with the mainstream population will "CORRECT" their unruly behavior.

Happy Holidays!
18:16 December 18, 2009 by soultraveler3
The old man shouldn't have hit the 12 year old but he's probably fed up with all the bs here.

Where are that brats parents? If they would've done their job and taught the kid to respect others and others property this wouldn't have happened.

Yeah, the old man could've maybe called the cops for verbal assult or harassment or riding through the golf course but the old man isn't stupid. If the cops showed up at all the kid would be long gone. Even if they caught him, the laws here are so lax nothing would've happened anyways.

Western society needs to get rid of all this pc bs before every country in europe and the americas turns in to a sh#thole.

You shouldn't hit people, but if that's going to be illegal to hit, then it is of the utmost importance that children are taught respect. There needs to be some real and severe consequences when you don't show another person or their property respect.

Big fines, a ton of community service and counsling (for the child and parent) should all be mandatory in these cases. Make them clean up and pay for their own messes so they can see how fun it is. Maybe they'd think twice before deciing to be "cool" again.

We have a huge graffitti problem here where I live. It makes what would otherwise be a pretty town look trashy. I'd love for the city to get cctv everywhere in the town and when they catch someone trashing the place go get their @sses out of bed and make them clean it up. Post a pic on in the paper or on a website so everyone can see how cool they were.

For those against cctv, my opinion has always been that if you're not doing anything illegal why do you care. The people monitering that don't care if your sh#tfaced or making out in an alley, they care about people trashing the city or hurting others.

As far as saying no because of cost, the inital investment in cameras and a few staff would soon pay itself back in not having to clean and fix destroyed poperty.

The crime statistics are great too. I've read that where cctv is used crime rates drop by up to 75% or more. I don't understand why anyone would argue against that.

I know I got off topic a little there, but my point is, that if you're not going to allow people to defend themselves and nobody is going to bother teaching and accepting responsibilty for their actions, as well as their childrens actions, then other measures need to be put in place to keep good people safe.
17:00 December 19, 2009 by Marietta
I support Mr. Fasth 100%. This world is full of disrespectful, gutter-mouthed brats who have no regard for anyone. Society was much better off when children had a healthy fear of adults, despite the whining of liberals.
00:40 December 20, 2009 by azbuka
Re: soultraveler3

Yeah, let's install CCTV in all public toilets -- after all, people monitoring it don't care what you are getting rid of as long as "you're not doing anything illegal"! :-D Besides, I've seen other articles claiming that the crime rates went down by whooping 2 per cent after CCTV cameras were installed, so the deal ain't as clear as you state.

On the topic, the old dude obviously made a mistake, but, hey, he probably had good reasons for it, and the parents have to carry partial responsibility for their child's misdoings.
05:50 December 20, 2009 by waspy

The youth who was hit does appear to be a cultural enricher.

22:18 December 22, 2009 by paddy03
As a high percentage of today's population is born out of wedlock, this behaviour is par for the course. It's very difficult for any woman to control a rebellious young man.

Let's take steps to end irresponsible reproduction and in the process do Planet Earth A favor!
18:27 December 30, 2009 by DMEricson
My dear Swedes -- you are contemptible. You import foreigners, put them on the dole, and permit them to treat you like trash. Why? Are you insane? Do you hate yourselves? You can't even permit yourselves to talk about what is happening to you. Why is it not said in the article that the young hoodlums are your precious immigrants? And yet you all know exactly who they are and what they do. But you can't even bring yourselves to say it out loud. You're afraid of being called raaaaacisssttt!!!!. You are cowards and idiots and so you make yourselves contemptible. Why should anyone else respect you when you don't respect yourselves? Your precious immigrants should continue to abuse you. You deserve it.
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