Often, when (most typically) defending criminal youth, their advocates will say something like, "This one mistake shouldn't affect the entire rest of his/her life."
What was the "mistake"? Often, it's something like one of these:

Armed robbery of a convenience store.
Assaulting a homeless person.
Driving way too fast and causing an accident.
Killing someone.
Stealing from his employer's inventory.

My problem is that none of these things are actual mistakes. A mistake is, literally, a missed take. A misunderstanding. Understood that way, none of the above crimes are mistakes.

One characteristic of a true mistake is that it involves, in part, a lack of intentionality. Consider some real mistakes:

I go around the house looking for my glasses until I realize to my chagrin that I'm already wearing them.
I ask someone how his father is doing, forgetting that his father had died.
I add 286+37,206 and come up with 37,493.
I show up at Josh's party in street clothes. It turns out to be a costume party.
I am wondering why my key isn't opening my car's door until I realize that it's not my car; it just looks like my car.

Have you ever thought about this? Do you agree with me?

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Why should we hold 5 year old children accountable for something entirely out of their control. Either there are real mental differences between these children and what is considered normal, or they were pretty normal children who just happened to be born into a toxic environment.  Why should we punish a little child who is either the victim of their biology or society?

They shoot horses, don't they?

If you want to classify those children along with the likes of horses or even a rabid dog then fine, shoot them. Don't needlessly punish them for decades for something almost entirely out of their control. That is just cruel.

@Rocky john:

Check the next page Reg found the link, the child who was murdered was 2 the killers were 10.

Gregg-  I perfectly understand the desire to fry these two bastards, What sort of monsters could do such a thing? If they think it is acceptable to do that  then they too deserve to suffer the same pain and terror. But when you come down to it, when there are more humane options available  what purpose does punishing them  for punishments sake serve beyond feeding our own lust for blood?

Do the parents bear any responsibility in a situation like this.

@ Tim:

"Do the parents bear any responsibility in a situation like this?"


Telling the offender that his parents are responsible for his offenses has negative rehabilitative effects, I should think. "You robbed the store, not your parents. Your upbringing is not your destiny. Your future is in YOUR hands."

Unseen- your response seems extremely contradictory to your stance on free will. Do you or do you not believe these children could have done anything different being born with their genetics and their place in society? If not then what responsibility do they share for circumstances completely out of their control?

I was thinking the very same thing.

All determinism means is that what happens happens because of whatever preceded it. I don't see the contradiction(?). Are you saying that some events are not tied the antecedent circumstances?


We all feel like we have free will and speak and act as though we have free will, but in doing so we are simply doing what we must.

So, one must distinguish between appearance and reality.

Unseen- So forget false appearances and tell me if in reality  these two children could have done anything other than kill that infant? Did they have any choice in the matter at all or were they merely unwilling hostages to their genetics and environment?


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