To me, the issue with Walky’s joke/honestly I actually read it as him sincerely asking her for money was that Sal was clearly concerned at the time. Note here that Sal DOESN’T buy it because she feels so guilty (and probably feels guilty about thinking of spending money on Frivolous Things when Marcie Needs Her, which is its own brand of ‘kiddo NO.’)
Walky wasn’t displaying any concern for Marcie at all – hell, he came off as asking ‘if you only get $250 can we spend it on snacks since it won’t cover the bills anyway?’ Walky never mentions Marcie at all. That’s pretty insensitive given she’s Sal’s best friend. Not surprising given Walky and their supremely fucked sibling relationship, but still insensitive as hell.
That said, while Walky was being pretty bratty, the people I really blame for this are the elder Walkertons, for all the reasons outlined yesterday and upthread. This burden should never have fallen on the 12-year-old. The Walkertons have extremely influential contacts who could be convinced to raise this money with a very small amount of PR spin. The Walkertons could help contribute to the ambulance bill and it would almost certainly strain their finances less than it would the Diazes. The Walkertons could, at the very least, spearhead a town fundraiser on Marcie’s behalf and almost certainly raise more than $250 in the process. They are not. And if they aren’t willing to help, then Charles telling Sal exactly how much the ambulance costs contributes nothing to the situation except piling on more guilt for Sal.
If the Diazes had told Sal that information, it wouldn’t be great (again, way more than any 12-year-old can do anything about or emotionally handle,) but at least they would be doing so because their daughter is hurt, they can’t pay for her expenses, and people do not always react well under that stress. (The GoFundMe amount probably did come from them, but without knowing anything about Marcie’s parents but a lot about Sal, my guess is Sal was insisting on helping raise the money and they agreed to the crowdfunding because it can’t hurt and might help the clearly traumatized kid feel less powerless. We also don’t know who set the page up, for that matter – the way Walky phrased things last strip made me think Sal, but it’s at least as likely to be the Diazes and Sal just latched onto it. In which case, being frank about what they need on the page is totally the right call and they’re NOT expecting Sal to shoulder all this.)
But the Walkertons are supposed to be on their daughter’s side. They’re supposed to be looking out for Sal. And part of that is not letting a kid take so much on her shoulders, and keeping her from blaming herself, and telling her the best thing she can do for Marcie isn’t to worry about money or medical treatments, it’s to be there and be her friend and do nice things for each other while she’s going through something tough. They did not do any of this. Charles actively made the situation worse. So yeah, they suck.
Dumbing of Age