Parental Responsibility and a Teen's Tragic Death After a Night Out

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 31, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-Up" segment tonight: two topics for analysts Kirsten Powers and Michelle Malkin, first whether civilian casualties are acceptable in fighting the War on Terror, and second, an 18-year-old New Jersey girl living at home was murdered after getting drunk and staying out all night in New York City. What is the parental responsibility there?

With us now is Ms. Powers and, from Washington, Ms. Malkin, FOX News analysts both.

O'REILLY: Michelle, as you know, historically in war, civilians are killed. United States killed hundreds of thousands of them in World War II with bombs.

Here, fighting the War on Terror, civilian casualties are unacceptable to the world. How do you react to that?

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, I think that we have to frame what happened at Qana, Lebanon, the correct way.

What happened there appears, appears to have been a tragic error by Israel, and I say "appears", because it seems to me not at all clear that the IDF is responsible for that building collapse, and people are looking very carefully at photos that looked staged. And you have to keep in mind...

O'REILLY: But at this point, Michelle, it doesn't matter.

MALKIN: Yes, of course it matters.

O'REILLY: No, I'll tell you why it doesn't matter.

MALKIN: Yes, of course it matters, of course it matters who's responsible for that.

O'REILLY: No, it doesn't matter, because the Arab world and most of the other world, they're going to condemn Israel no matter what the facts are. And so it doesn't matter if there's an investigation that shows Hezbollah killed their own people. It doesn't matter. They're not going to believe it.

But the overriding question for the United States, and Israel, is are civilian casualties, are they acceptable in fighting the war on terror?

MALKIN: Well, first of all, the truth matters, Bill. And we have a responsibility, and we have the power to get the truth out there.

Second of all, this was a forced error, if it was an error at all. And you have to remember that it is Hezbollah — not Israel — that as a routine matter uses civilians as human shields.

It is Hezbollah — not Israel — that packs their rockets, warheads with ball bearings to exact the most serious kind of violent damage. It is Hezbollah — not Israel — that blocks civilians from escaping these areas.

O'REILLY: Then why doesn't the rest of the world accept your analysis?

MALKIN: Because they are intoxicated. They are clouded by this moral equivalence that has set in over the world for the past several decades. And I think it behooves us to fight against that, to claw against that.

Because the manufactured outrage that Qana is not really about the deaths at Qana; it is about something about much larger. It is about the jihad du jour that these — that members of the religion of perpetual outrage are always ginning up. I mean, if it's not Qana it's something else.

O'REILLY: No, I got it. I got it; I got it.

MALKIN: It's Gitmo, Abu Ghraib. It's beauty pageants. And I think we have to understand the context in which these jihadists operate.

O'REILLY: Listen, that's one of my "Talking Points Memo", top of the program, was talking about that.

All right, Kirsten, are civilian casualties acceptable on the war on terror?

POWERS: Well, I think there is a double standard here, because civilian casualties obviously are acceptable. Israelis have been being killed. It's not as though the only civilians who have died have been the Lebanese.

So it's when — just to look at this incident. It's tragic. Nobody likes to see this, any of us watching this. Children coming out, you know, dead children. But it's not like the Israelis are sitting over there taking out their white boards and saying, "Today let's go bomb some children." That's not what they're doing. They're doing everything they can to avoid that.

Hezbollah is not doing that. If they killed a bunch of children in Israel, they wouldn't care. And the other part of it is, yes, there's all this outrage, but there's going to be outrage, regardless of what happens.

O'REILLY: See, I don't think — right now the world is not to the point where it is taking the War on Terror seriously enough. OK, it's like you guys in the West, you can't do anything, but the other side can do whatever they want. And that's where we are.

All right. Let me get to this very interesting case, Michelle. I'm going to give both you guys both a minute on this. We've got this 18-year-old girl, she comes to New York City. She gets hammered. Her car gets towed. She doesn't know what to do. She's walking around. A thug grabs her, murders her in a terrible way. She does live at home.

Parental responsibility here, Michelle?

POWERS: Well, only to a point. At some point, these young women have to take responsibility for putting themselves in vulnerable positions. And this is an 18-year-old girl who has, you know, a free will and a free mind. And if she's walking around by herself bombed, you know, it could be very dangerous.

And it was tragic what happened here and obviously, you don't want to blame the victim. But, you know, you raise your kids, you do the best you can, telling them to take responsibility for their actions and at some point you let them go.

O'REILLY: What age you let them go? What age does parental responsibility receed back and the child take full responsibility for his or her actions? Give me a quick answer.

MALKIN: Well, 18.

O'REILLY: Eighteen.

MALKIN: She's legally an adult.

O'REILLY: How do you...

POWERS: My parents didn't get that memo, the 18. Certainly, 18 is very young. You haven’t even gone away to college yet.

I think that the parents do have a lot of responsibility and, hopefully, a lot of parents will learn from this. This is the kind of article when I was 18, if it had come out, my parents would have been reading it line by line to me, saying, "Don't ever do this. Don't ever be in this situation."

O'REILLY: I'm going to take the last word here. If she's living in my house and she's 18, she can't stay out all night.

POWERS: Again, when I was 18, I wasn't allowed to, either.

O'REILLY: Because you just can't. Nothing is going to be good after 2 a.m. All right, so it's 2 a.m. If you want to live here, you’re back.

POWERS: Right.

O'REILLY: If you don't live here, then you're on your own. But you've got to exercise some kind of responsibility about people in your charge.

Kirsten and Michelle, as always, thank you.

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