The main thing is not that 9-year-old Semaj Booker got behind the wheel of a stolen Acura and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase.
It's not that he slipped past security at Sea-Tac Airport or duped Southwest Airlines officials to fly away.
The bigger questions here deal with more than this kid's precociousness.
After all, what would prompt someone so young to go to such lengths to flee? And should a 9-year-old be charged with felonies for behavior that, although bad, really harmed no one physically?
Semaj's mother told different media this week that her son hated their Tacoma- area neighborhood. Pierce County officials also are looking into concerns that Semaj's mother claims her son had about a sex offender living nearby.
But officials aren't waiting. Semaj -- all 4-foot-9 and 80 pounds of him -- has been tagged a little menace to society, and prosecutors wasted no time charging the boy with two felonies.
There really wasn't a need to rush.
"We could have decided not to," Fred Wist, the prosecutor who filed the charges told me Friday.
But prosecutors said they felt compelled because the person whose car Semaj is accused of stealing was understandably frustrated and because of public safety concerns raised by the boy's actions.
"Nine-year-olds typically steal gum from a store," Wist said. "We all are lucky he was not injured or killed, or that he did not hurt someone."
I'm with him -- to a point.
I worry that in flexing prosecutorial muscle so fast, a precocious kid, and, yes, a law-breaker, could be sacrificed to a criminal justice system with a spotty record in turning around the lives of troubled teens, not to mention kids who haven't even reached double-digit birthdays.
Semaj has run away more than a handful of times, his mom said. He had a run-in with the law in December when he was found at the wheel of a possible stolen car that had been driven into a ditch.
The kid needs help.
Semaj is facing felony counts for taking a car without permission and eluding police. He also is charged with a misdemeanor for driving without a license.
It could have been worse. Prosecutors tell me they could have issued a bench warrant for his arrest and hauled him back to Tacoma, but didn't in deference to the boy's age and the need to investigate further.
So now what?
Semaj is currently in Texas. Prosecutors are waiting.
If he gets psychological help and if his family receives social services to deal with his issues, he just might turn out OK. He's intelligent enough, after all, and young enough to change.
But without stern guidance, he's coming to a police blotter near you.
If he gets tossed and lost at juvie, hardened toughs could teach a quick learner the ABCs of more serious crimes.
The pint-sized kid is at a big-time crossroads.
State law prohibits prosecutors from charging those under 8 with a crime, and there's a good reason for that. The law recognizes that kids can't appreciate the wrongfulness of their behavior.
But for kids between 8 and 11, a judge can step in. If a child in that age range is found capable of understanding his or her actions, it paves the way for the case to proceed.
In Semaj's case, a judge could determine that he had a clue. Or that he was clueless.
Or Semaj also could get probation with conditions, and his charges could go away if he follows strict rules.
Or his lawyer could plea-bargain the felony charges to misdemeanors.
Any number of outcomes are possible since the case breaks such fresh ground.
Wist said he doesn't think his office has ever charged a 9-year-old.
Like I said, crossroads.