How To Be $36 Million in Debt at 15

It's all fun and games until you owe over $36 million to the government.

Conner McMillan, Columnist

An Oregon youth, nameless because he’s a minor, owes millions in wildfire damage. According to CNN, he owes exactly $36,618,330.24 for all the damage.

The 15-year-old was suspected of starting a forest fire in Sept. 2017. It’s said that the teen had been throwing fireworks into the forest when one caught ablaze and started the fire. Oregon State Police said in a statement that “it is believed he and others may have been using fireworks, which started the forest fire along the Eagle Creek Trail.”

A woman named Liz Fitzgerald was taking a hike on the trail when she encountered a group of teenagers. In an interview with CNN, she said how the group had been throwing smoke bombs into the canyon. She then confronted the group when they noticed smoke coming from the canyon, and the group ran. Fitzgerald ran to the authorities to report the incident and helped explain what started the fire.

Now, the boy who actually threw the fireworks is being charged for the start of the fire. After the state’s 11 claims had been added up, he owed more than 36 million dollars. Jack Morris, the attorney for the boy, cited the Eighth Amendment, saying how the fine was “cruel and unusual.” Hood River County Circuit Court Judge John A. Olson said that the fine was justified because the fine does not exceed the amount of damage the boy caused.

At the end of the day the boy caused tens of thousands of acres of forest to burn down. He committed crimes and now has to face the consequences, no matter how absurd. In addition, the boy has 1,920 hours of community service and five years probation. It has been said that a payment plan will be set up and at the end of his probation and community service his fine will be paid.