Children: Cute and Harmless or Murderers and Thieves?

January 12, 2010
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The definition of a child is a young human being below the age of full physical development and an immature or irresponsible person. The irresponsible part of that definition is the part that needs to change immediately when it comes to the justice system. In today’s society children are tried as children not adults no matter what crime they have committed, because this is so the perpetrator has a higher chance of just going rehabilitation rather than jail. The child that commits the crimes generally does take responsibility for what they have done and I want to put a stop to that right now. I have found two articles that will be very sufficient throughout my argument of why children should be tried as adults, Jessica Wilde’s article, “Juvenile Criminals must be tried as Adults,” and “Stop trying 13 year olds in court as adults” by Mike Hendricks. The children of today’s society need to be taught a lesson so they can understand what they have done, the gravity of the situation, and to take responsibility for what they have done which is why I side with Wilde and believe that children should be tried as adults.

Were you aware that in 1993 Jamie Bulger, a two year old, was abducted, beaten, and then murdered by two ten year olds? (Wilde 1). These two murderers went out with the intention of hurting Jamie that day because they thought it was going to be “fun” so evidently they knew what they were doing (Wilde 2). After realizing what they had done and that they would most likely get in trouble for it, the two boys laid Jamie’s dead body across a railroad track to make it look like it was an accident and that they were completely innocent (Wilde 1). I think that all Hendricks’ article does is make up excuses to why what those two ten-year-old boys did to Jamie is excusable when quite frankly it is not. If this whole situation of the death of a two year old by two minors was not such a huge deal then why did the boys feel the need to hide the body? Jamie’s murderers were tried and convicted as minors, served at juvenile detention, given a rehabilitative aid, and released with new identities. I disagree with so called “punishment” that was given to these boys, why on Earth do they deserve the chance to start a new life with new identities? I think that these children deserve to go to jail for killing an innocent child and have what they did follow them for they rest of their lives by keeping their identities. Since they were given a baby punishment I am sure the two boys are going to forget what the crime they committed and the innocent life they took away.
Another reason I think that children should be tried as adults is because at this age rehabilitation would not and is not taken seriously. These kids who commit these crimes think they are so old and so tough that juvenile detention or rehabilitation is not going to be a very effective punishment; in fact I do not even believe either of those is an actual punishment, it is more like a break. I think this because whenever they go to either of these places they aren’t as scared or worried about how it’s going to go as they would be if it were jail. At rehabilitation there are counselors there so that the criminals may talk out their problems and issues and are basically treated like children when they commit an adult crime. I am positive that everything is more carefree at rehabilitation than it would be in jail where you are treated like they are scum and that is exactly what they are. Since both my parents grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana they have their fair amount of stories of children who commit a crime, go to juvenile detention, blow it off, and are back on the streets doing the same thing again. The exact thing happened to one of my mother’s classmates Lisa; she repeatedly stole from department stores till finally she was placed in juvenile detention. After serving her few years there she back on the streets doing the same thing again because she didn’t take juvenile detention seriously at all. She is just one of the many examples there are out there and because these children are not taking rehabilitation or juvenile detention seriously the number of crimes committed by minors does not go down every year, that is why these assailants need to be given an experience that will really shake them up.
Do you or do you not think that letting the murderers go unpunished not all unfair but also unjust to the victim’s parents? I believe that it is honestly put yourself in Jamie Bulger’s mother’s shoes, how would you feel if your son got murdered and the attackers were given new identities so they can live new lives and forget that took your baby boy’s life away? I am 110% positive I would be furious and go on a rampage if I were her, I would at least want those children who killed my son to be locked up in jail for several years not just given juvenile detention and a rehabilitation aid. If the murders go to jail they have time to consider what they have done and it will now have a domino effect on the rest of their lives because I am sure most business owners do not want people who have been in jail as their employees. If we do not give these children a serious punishment then how are they ever going to learn that killing someone is a bad thing and it is not okay? However, I think if the child has a mental disability then maybe rehabilitation would work but it is definitely not for everyone, if a child has had repeated offenses then it obviously means that rehabilitation is not working and it will not miraculously start.
My opposing side may argue how I am so sure that rehabilitation does not work. I think it might work if the murder has a mental disability then maybe they do need to talk out their problems and be given a second chance. However, if the child is perfectly healthy and has repeated offenses then yes jail is the place for them. Everyone comes into this world with a clean, healthy slate and you choose if you want follow the ways of the world or the ways of the Lord, it is a choice basically. Well then coming immediately after that my opposing said would say what if those two boys who murdered Jamie have a mental disability? Yes, it is possible that they might have had a mental disability but it is the actions that occurred after they killed Jamie that does not excuse them. Even if they did have a mental disability they still had enough common sense and knowledge to relocate the body so they would look innocent and not get in trouble. If the boys had not thought to hide the body then maybe I would be less harsh with my punishment I would give them. In Hendricks’ article he argues that children’s “brains are wired differently. They don’t think things out the way we do.” (1). It is not that children’s brains are wired differently it is that their brains are not quite developed yet and they will not be until they are eighteen. Also, obviously Jamie’s murderers thought what they were doing out because first of all it was a planned assault and second of all they relocated the body so they would not get in trouble (Wilde 1-2). What if the children come out more damaged and dangerous than when they went in? (Hendricks 2). Yes, it is possible for them to come out more damaged or dangerous than when they went in, but there is still a possibility that going to jail could help them turn their life around. One of my father’s friends went to jail for selling drugs and it did not damage him or make him more dangerous; in fact it turned his life around, he became closer with God and began trying to become self sufficient. When I was giving my reasons for why children should be tried as adults, I gave the reason how it is unfair to victim’s parents but the opposite side might say how it is unfair to the perpetrator. They now have to live their lives with a criminal record attached to every application they fill out and now their life is “destroyed.” However, I just gave the perfect and prime example of person who did not take going to jail and a bad thing, he used it to help him turn his life around. To this today he has a job, owns an average household, and is doing well for himself; others can follow his example by turning their lives around when they come out of jail as well.
Overall, I think that children should be tried as adults because if we just try them as children how are they going to learn what they did was a “no no?” My mother always told me that you choose how you feel about things and that you think before you act, so why are these excuses made to protect these children who are murderers? You decided whether or not you are going to kill someone and you decided whether or not you are going to use jail as a turning point in your life. The impact this subject has on everyone in this society is that one day could be one their own relatives or family members that are killed by a minor but they will just receive juvenile detention instead of jail. They could possibly be given a new identity as well like Jamie’s murderers were so they can just forget about your grandmother, uncle, or mother’s life they just took away from you. I want these deaths and crimes committed by minors to stop, do you?

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