The awful case of a portable record player and two precious LP’s

Picture these two boys, brothers, with very limited understanding and appreciation of property. Very much the same, both share the same destructive tendencies. Not wanting to see this reality, the older brother thinks it is only the younger one, and keeps him out of his room as much as possible, afraid his precious toys would be taken or worse, destroyed. With a bit more imagination and empathy, he would have understood that the only difference between them was the desirability of their respective possessions. The age difference between these brothers is less than 3 years, and at the time of this case, towards the end of the 1970s, both are not even 10 years old. Their parents are conspicuously absent, spending more time on self-development than on something as mundane as parenting. The destructive brothers mainly engage in fierce territorial fights but occasionally find each other in their shared love of a portable record player.

Exhibit one: example of a portable record player from the 70s

This record player was special and dear. It came in a suitcase, had a built-in mono speaker and three different speeds: 33, 45 and 78 Rotations Per Minute (RPM). They toyed with it, playing LP’s at 45, or even 78 RPM, laughing out loud at ridiculously fast songs and singers with a voice like Donald Duck. For a while it was all they needed, but then they got bored and started experimenting with the (not so gentle) art of scratching. Stopping and releasing record, on a record player with limited power, gave ghostly sound effects. This too satisfied their infantile needs for a while, and in a bizarre way, it was still related to music.

Exhibit two: Father’s beloved records

“They didn’t stop after breaking the first record, they just continued their violent play, in the same spirit, until both records were destroyed”

But, dear ladies and gentlemen, boys will be boys, and in this case, violence and destructing were never far away. It was just a matter of time for something to go horribly wrong. They claim they don’t know what happened exactly, only that two of their father’s favourite records got destroyed, wrecked, broken, not just the record sleeves, but the actual vinyl. They claim that in all likelihood they started throwing them around like frisbees. Picture this scene, ladies and gentlemen, in a small boys’ bedroom of barely 12 square meters! I ask you, where did these records, their father’s favourite ones, come from? Did he gave them permission…or was he completely unaware of it all until the records were returned to him, broken and in pieces? Had they stopped the moment they broke the first record, and returned it to their father, eyes full of guilt, it would have made a difference, it would have indicated…a basic understanding of boundaries…but they didn’t, they just continued their violent play till they ran out of ammo.

Their father didn’t punish them, not really anyway. He was just disappointed, like many parents in the 70s. So…it’s up to you to correct and find the right punishment, but let me remind you that the boys’ only real defense was not even an admission of guilt, but a literal quote from The Third Man, let me remind you that they just said:

“In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”