Tampa's Egg-Throwing Assault: The Line Between Mischief and Misery
When does a prank become a crime?
That’s the question people across Tampa Bay are wrestling with after three young men were charged with hitting a runner on Bayshore Boulevard with an egg.
Noah Grant, 17, expected his evening run on Bayshore Boulevard to go off without a hitch– until the egg struck him on the head.
It’s a seemingly innocuous object, but when fired from a moving vehicle at a high rate of speed, it becomes a perilous missile.
Grant describes what happened:
“Searing, searing pain, yeah. I mean, when you have an egg going that fast, it's a rock, it really is,” he said. “It's a heavy dense object with fragments, like a grenade really.”
The force of the object was enough to fracture his eye socket, and shards of the egg cut into his skin and became lodged in the pupil of his eye.
His eye remains shut from the swelling, and he’s only capable of seeing vague blurs and colors.
The police got to work quickly. Three young men had purchased an inordinate amount of eggs from the local Wal-Mart. Police also had the vehicle’s description: a white SUV with a Jesuit bumper sticker.
The smoking gun: remnants of egg stuck to the side of the vehicle.
The three young men who’ve been arrested and charged are relatively close to Noah’s age: Tyler Metzger, 16, from Robinson High School; Daniel Borgeson, 17, the car’s driver; and Patrick Wasp, 16, who along with Borgeson attends Jesuit High, a private catholic school in Tampa.
The details of what happened and why are still coming out. But observers are already reflecting about what the incident says about youth, social interaction, and the nature of pranks in general.
Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times says this is the result of youthful stupidity. And she recognizes that stupidity isn’t isolated to one generation.
“You hope a kid who was just out for a run will heal and move on with his plans,” she writes. “And you hope three young men look back and see a turning point, a moment when they learned the real cost of stupid.”
This kind of pranks always have the potential for life-altering consequences. Noah Grant wants to join the Marines. If his eye doesn’t heal properly, those plans may fall through.
Grant remains confident he will heal. And he praises Tampa police for their diligence in catching the suspects.
He says he hopes the incident will prevent others from throwing eggs or other objects at runners ever again.