Of course I don't condone what Sheffield student Richard O'Dwyer got up to on his laptop in his cramped student flat, but what I do identify with is what his mother, Julia O'Dwyer, is going through in dropping everything to fight tooth and nail for her beloved son.
For a start, if there's one thing I've learned in my (nearly 3 year) fight to free my 18 year old son from anorexia it's that we mothers WILL fight for our children as if our lives depended on it. No matter what our children have done or whatever crisis has taken over their lives, we will never, ever stop fighting.
And in that fight we will be forced to dramatically change our lives, often giving up promising (and in Julia's case socially useful) careers. Life cannot go on as normal. We are, in effect, born again into a brand new life we could never, ever have envisaged. We feel helpless as powers seemingly beyond our control threaten to steal our sons from us.
But that doesn't stop us fighting. And doubtless Julia won't stop until she's spent every last penny and ounce of energy on fighting to free her son, for the simple reason that he is her son, no matter what he has done.
And while I'm on the subject of Richard O'Dwyer, how many people can claim never to have done, or at least been tempted to do, something a little silly or even stupid at some point during their student careers? Something that, looking back with the hindsight of age and wisdom, they're not entirely proud of?
From the painted footprints that mysteriously appeared overnight leading from Queen Victoria's statue near Leeds University to the nearby public conveniences to dumping bubble bath in a Sheffield city centre fountain, and doubltess countless far more questionable, shall we say, activities than that, I expect there are thousands of former students who have done crazy, silly or just plain stupid things that, if they were older, wiser and really thought about it, they would never have done at all.
Big, small, insignificant or whatever - the fact is that students, in general, have always had a reputation for doing things of varying degrees of stupidity and silliness.
No, being a student doesn't give them a 'green light' to see what they can get away with. And, yes, Richard O'Dwyer should have known that his website wasn't such a brilliant way to supplement his student loan. But, after everything that's happened since the police first knocked on the door of his small student flat, I imagine he has more than paid for his 'crimes'. Hundreds or even thousands of times over.
And I also imagine he is all too well aware of what his mum has been through, is going through and doubtless will continue to go through on his behalf. Just because she is his mum and she loves him.
You know, because of the pain and anquish he has caused to her alone, I would bet my back teeth that he would never, ever do it again.
He doesn't need to be extradited to the States for trial and a possible jail sentence to be more than adequately punished.
I believe he should be given a good ticking off and let go.
For his mother's sake I wish I could wave a magic wand and do this for them.