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April 27, 2007

’Kid’ding the Face of Justice

Note: This blog entry has content for mature readers only.

The public has little sympathy for criminals. And why should they? Daily, Americans are confronted with news and images of horrific and gruesome crimes. Sometimes I find myself thinking, "What will they think of next?"

Recall to mind the last hideous crime you heard about. Now what if I told you that crime was committed by a child. How would you react then?

The accountability of adult criminals can be summed up easily: we expect you to know better, and if you do the crime, you pay the time. But should this same response, and the same laws that apply to adults,  apply to children? If so, what happens when kids get life? Life in prison, that is.

PBS is asking that question and others on a new episode of Frontline, airing May 8th. I, for one, am anxious to see what they have to say. This isn't the first time Frontline has delved into such topics, having previously aired an episode entitled "Little Criminals," which reported at length about the murder of a toddler by two young boys in the '70s, known as the "Crucifixion Murder." The original perpetrators are now in their 40s, having received time in therapy rather than behind bars at the ages of 7 and 10. The older of the two has remained crime-free and lives a normal life with his family. The other has had some minor indiscretions.

These situations cause us to think long and hard about how we handle child criminals. In all honesty, I haven't even been able to collect my thoughts, whether pro or con, regarding sentencing children under what is typically viewed as "adult" law.

Perhaps what bothers me the most is the role that age plays in every scenario I concoct in my mind. There is no magic age when one becomes an adult. Believe me, I've seen 12 year olds certainly mature enough to take responsibility for their actions, and I've seen 20-somethings that remind me of 5 year olds.

Is judicial discretion the answer? One thing is for sure, I certainly hope we don't slap on a one-size-fits-all solution to this issue.

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paul zerovnik

this latest trend toward the young insofar as aresting our kids ie those under 18 is very perdictable. they the elitist in power want to have athority over mankind period. they say peace and freedom, then enact laws of slavery. massive taxation to keep the ant farm running. they muder the unborn, they usurp the parental God given right to raise our children, they enact wars so we can send our good christian youg men&women to die for a basterdized form of democratic socialism. and we continue to elect them. it is time for christians to stop listening to the pied piper of left verses right and to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. God has not given the Church to spread democracy. the mandate is to spread the Kingdom of God. western democracy is no longer doing this. arise o sleeper and awake unto righteousness.

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