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King shooting


Cole Parker

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I, too, am of two minds on this issue. On the one hand, the boy did, in a cold-blooded and premeditated fashion, plan and carry out the killing another human being in the finest fashion of a mafia hitman, and has, apparently exhibited no remorse for his actions. If it's okay to kill someone who is teasing or harassing you, then there are going to be a lot of dead bodies piled up in this country.

On the other hand, prior to this, he was a good student despite an apparently less than perfect home life. Does that home life justify murder? His defense attorney seems to think so, but then no defense attorney ever thinks his/her client is guilty...at least in front of the press.

What the boy did was callous and heartless, the act of someone without conscience, or someone who had nothing to lose.

Where then, do we, as a society, draw the line? Is it okay for underage kids to torture each other as long as no one dies? Or, on the other hand, do we prosecute any minor who commits a felony in adult court? Part of the problem here is the ego and political ambitions of prosecuting attorneys responding to the howling of the mob by tossing a child into the abyss with some of this nations worst: the true dregs of society, where they will learn to become habitual criminals: killers, thieves, rapists, and druggies.

The purpose of having a separate juvenile court system was to let kids make mistakes, and learn from them, giving them a chance at living a full productive life without the stigma of an adult conviction hobbling them for the rest of their lives. We are where we are today because there were a relative handful of young people who abused the system and another handful who have committed especially heinous acts, like the young man in this case.

What good is served by locking this boy up for the next 50 years save satisfying our own howling cries for revenge? If there is a chance any good can come from this entire mess, shouldn't we be taking advantage of it? What if, instead of a career criminal, a rehabilitated Brandon McInerney discovered a cure for cancer, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's?

I'm not suggesting letting the little murderer go free, but I am suggesting that this case would be better handled in the juvenile court system: a place that is better suited to dealing with child criminality than an adult court whose conviction will ruin any chance this boy could become a useful and productive member of our society. Should he be given another chance? I think so, but only after he pays for what he did. Payment that should be rendered in the juvenile justice system.

I don't condone or excuse what this young man did, just as I cannot condone ruining yet another life based on lex talionis, or retributive justice.

We once considered ourselves an open and enlightened society. Whatever happened to that?

Rick

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Bravo, Rick!

He's a kid, and deserves to be treated like a kid. What he did was heinous. But he did what he did because he was being teased because a gay kid was coming on to him. Because of that, he murdered the kid. In plain sight. Does this sound like the act of an adult? No. It sounds like something a kid would do. For a kid's reasons.

We have a juvenile court system because we agree kids don't think and act like adults. Their brains don't work as an adult's brain works at his age. He doesn't make decisions the way an adult does. This is not just psychological babble. It's accepted fact, and our education system is set up based on it.

I hate what he did. But I don't see where trying him, or any other barely 14-year-old, as an adult is something we as an enlightened society can tolerate.

I can make some exception for some gang members whose attitude toward life is very different. This kid hasn't shown that lack of compassion, that lack of humanity. He did what he did for juvenile reasons, being in a situation he didn't know how to handle. His background left him vulnerable to this decision. He came for a poor home where homosexuality was looked at as aberrant, and where a gun was available. He felt this was his only way out of his situation. Again, this was juvenile thinking.

What do we prove by sentencing him to 51 years in prison, so he'll be 65 when he gets out? Who wins if we do that?

C

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I disagree with Rick and Cole, and I agree with the local District Attorney.

I'd say: try the kid as a child, and put him a child-sized electric chair and throw the switch.

Anybody who plans a killing like this the night before, takes the gun to school, and shoots him twice in the back of the head deserves no mercy. I have a great deal of pity for the kid and his family, but to me, the circumstances warrant serious punishment.

Giving the kid a light sentence sends out a bad message. Murder is murder, period, especially when you're well past the age of reason.

Speaking of which, I wonder who was the youngest murderer ever sentenced to death? That's a grim statistic. Whoever it was, and regardless of their age, I wouldn't be surprised if it was in Texas.

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Pecman, please read what I wrote again. Please.

I didn't say that I thought he should get a slap on the wrist. He should get tried and sentenced however the trial deems proper. I was not advocating letting him off. Read what I wrote.

I am for kids being tried in juvenile court. That was my point. I'm not a lawyer and so am not certain, but I believe his maximum punishment would be incarceration in a juvenile facility until the age of 25. But what his punishment is is not my focus. Instead, it is that he not be considered an adult, because he very emphatically was not, neither in age, nor in his choice, nor in his act.

C

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[i believe his maximum punishment would be incarceration in a juvenile facility until the age of 25.

And that's where I disagree. 11 years for shooting anybody twice in the back of the head is a slap on the wrist. If the kid got caught with half a pound of pot in a plastic bag while in Texas, he'd go to jail for 20 years, no chance of parole -- even if he were 14. (But that's not justice, either.)

Even a 50-year sentence isn't justice in my book. No, this is a horrendous crime. To tell you the truth, though, I hope they go to trial so we can find out more about the circumstances. It's still incomprehensible to me that a straight kid would shoot a gay kid solely because the gay kid gave him a valentine. I think there's a lot more to this story, and -- though it'll be small consolation to the victim's family -- maybe they'll have some kind of closure if all the facts get out.

I'm amazed Law and Order hasn't dramatized this yet.

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The double tragedy of the Larry King murder has now precipitated considerations on the reality of the reaction, revenge, retribution or of the rehabilitation, punishment, deterrence and compassion of the situation. Yet none of these, in combination or alone, can serve to satisfy opinions already considered and deemed as appropriate in the circumstances of this case.

The standard arguments used to show that the death penalty does not act as a disincentive, are as constant and as verifiable as is the comfort that such an irrational penalty brings to those who believe in its rectitude.

It remains therefore to assert, with some determination, that no reactionary punishment can undo the first part of this double tragedy, notwithstanding any sense of closure for those nearest to the the victim.

Blaming the 14 year killer for his actions, premeditated or not, seems to me to evade the issue of solving the problem of acknowledging the short comings of a culture, a society, a community that has avoided, abrogated, and abnegated its responsibility for the welfare of all the children in its care as well as educating them, setting them and their parents, the example needed, to lead a life mindful of accepting divergent views and lifestyles.

Yet this statement serves no purpose if it is regarded solely as an accusation to highlight community short comings. It must be seen as intended, to stimulate discussion as to not only how this boy can be assisted in coming to terms with his deed in all its aspects, but how the root causes of such a happening can be best be avoided. That is quite a task, and one that demands more consideration than that given to any form of revenge.

Killing another 14 year old boy or incarceration without counselling and rehabilitation, seems to me to serve no useful purpose at all.

Trial in a juvenile court seems more likely to render an appropriate verdict along these lines.

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