Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Death Penalty

Wow! The US Supreme Court ruled that it's unconstitutional to execute minors. I can't believe that it was ever ok to do so.

Check out the article.

-Jean Chen

13 Comments:

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

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At 8:18 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Sorry. I disagree. I have no more sympathy for a 16-year-old murder than I do for a 30-year-old murder. I believe the death penalty should be given according to the circumstances of an individual case. For example, say a 17-year-old kills maliciously without remorse and then turns 18 two months later. Please justify to me how 2 months got him off the hook? Serial killers have been known to exhibit murderous behavior since childhood, starting with the killing of animals. I'd prefer the country were not overrun by homicidal maniacs who alluded the death penalty because of age and then alluded life in prison through some ridiculous parole loophole. Let each case be judged on its own merit.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger William C. White said...

You people amaze the hell out of me. You want to treat 13 and 14 year olds as adults when they commit a crime, arguing that they know what they are doing and that they fully understood their actions and the consequences of those actions. But then you SAME people say that Michael Jackson and others like him should be prosecuted for having sexual relations with a 13 or 14 year old, arguing then that the 13 or 14 year old “child” does NOT fully understand what is going on and lacks the ability to consent because they do not understand the adult actions or the consequences of those actions.

How can you hold two clearly contradictory ideas in your heads and not have a problem with it? I am totally incapable of doing that. Is it an evil that exists in you that is all about punishment, that is absolutely incapable of love and forgiveness? How can you do it, and then look at yourselves in the mirror?

Either a 13 year old has a child mentality or a 13 year old has an adult mentality. You cannot refuse to give a 13 year old ALL of the privileges of being an adult (i.e., the right to vote, buy cigarettes and/or alcohol, hold political office, drive, buy a home, choose their own sexual partner, make their own medical decisions, etc.), but be willing to give them ALL of the punishments that may come as an adult (life prison sentences, and in this case, the death sentence.) What kind of mind says, “I’ll give them all of the punishments, but none of the rewards?”

Do you support child labor? Do you support children deciding for themselves to get plastic surgery? Do you support young girls being able to keep abortion decisions from their parents? Do you support 13 year old girls being able to marry 40 year old men if they choose to do so? If you think like the average American, the answer to these questions are “NO”, “NO”, “NO”, and “HELL NO!!!”

The hypocrisy is astounding. You people say these things and you cannot see the inconsistency. You believe that a child fully understands egregious, deviant acts like robbery, rape, and murder, and should therefore be treated as an adult when they commit these acts. But then you say that a child cannot understand abortion, sex, working, voting, etc., and, therefore, should not be allowed to engage or consent to these acts without parental permission. That is flawed thinking that is out of this world.

“Let each case be judged on its own merit”? Should each sexual relationship between Michael Jackson and his CONSENTING “victims” be judged on its own merit? Should each case where a 15 year old girl wants to get breast implants be judged on its own merit? What’s the criterion, she’s as flat as a board?

You need an established consistency, either ALL 15 year olds are treated as adults, or none of the 15 year olds are treated as adults. Otherwise, you’re being a hypocrite and you operate with double standards. And despite what president Bush believes, being a hypocrite and having double standards is not a good thing.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Sorry bub. I don't recall ever mentioning my opinion on the Michael Jackson case. Nor did I mention my opinion on children and abortion, cigarettes, alcohol, child labor, etc. The only thing I addressed was the death penalty. Perhaps you're confusing me with someone else.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

Actually, most of my writings were questions speaking to a general audience. But anyway…

I’m sorry; I have you mixed up with another Melissa (the one whose blogspot is HERE). Did you forget you had a blogspot? You can tell a lot about a person from their previous writings. That’s actually how we pick state and federal judges in the United States. That’s also how we pick Attorney Generals, prosecutors, and some other public officials. A person’s writing says A LOT about them.

In your blog you clearly have a problem with Catholic priest being pedophiles, this means, without you actually saying it, that you believe that 13 and 14 year old choir boys lack the ability to consent. Did you not realize that?

In your blog you speak of “child molesters”, rapists, and murderers getting slapped on the wrist.

In fact, you say a lot of things; I’m not going to say all of them. But I would argue, one could read your post and find out a lot about you. You don’t explicitly speak about Michael Jackson, but you do speak about child molesters.

Besides, your response only makes sense if you DO NOT hold the contradictory positions that I was speaking on. Otherwise, your just playing word games like “I didn’t specifically say that, so you can’t prove I believe that.” Come on, keep it real.

Let’s make it easy for you:

1. Do you support child labor?
2. Do you support children (13 on up) deciding for themselves to get plastic surgery? Note: The 13 on up is an arbitrary age line.
3. Do you support 13 year old girls being able to marry 40 year old men?
4. Do you support young girls being able to keep abortion decisions from their parents?
5. Should Michael Jackson be on trial right now for having sexual relations with a 13 year old boy?

Let’s keep it real. I think I know with almost 100% accuracy what your TRUE feelings are on each of the above questions (I get that from reading your other posts), but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again. But you can easily clean everything up with a simple answer, because a no response would speak volumes about you.


P.S. I thought only Wolverine said "Bub".

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

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At 10:37 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

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At 12:04 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

If you know me so well, then you'll know one great thing about me is that I almost never lie. (Although, I might lie to spare someone's feelings. Can't say definitively.)

1. Do you support child labor?
2. Do you support children (13 on up) deciding for themselves to get plastic surgery? Note: The 13 on up is an arbitrary age line.
3. Do you support 13 year old girls being able to marry 40 year old men?
4. Do you support young girls being able to keep abortion decisions from their parents?
5. Should Michael Jackson be on trial right now for having sexual relations with a 13 year old boy?


1.) No, I don’t support child labor for the following reasons:
a. I think children should be able to be children for the short amount of time they have because being an adult can suck.
b. Child labor is generally forced upon the child. It is more like slavery than labor; however, I suppose if, for example, the child had made the choice to work at his uncle’s store to help support his very poor family, then that would be acceptable to me…although, I of course, would wish that a child would not have to do so. I can say that I am also against forcing adults into labor too (i.e. against their wishes) unless they are in prison or its part of a work punishment program.
2.) I would say no. Plastic surgery is a permanent thing. I’ve changed my mind about many things as I got older, including my thinking from when I was 21 and now. I would say a child should have parental consent. In fact, I can answer numbers 3 and 4 also with this answer. I think parents should “parent” their kids. Parents should be responsible for their kids in most aspects and be able to rule in these decisions.
5.) Yes, I think Michael Jackson should be on trial right now. You’re absolutely right that this case rubs me the wrong way. If Michael Jackson did indeed have sexual relations with this boy, then I do see it as immoral. I have to say the situation seems different to me than with the Letourneau case. Although I am not advocating the Letourneau case. I guess it’s the same bizarre doublestandard where a 40 year old man and a 16 year old girl seems more seedy than a 40 year old woman and a 16 year old boy. I know it’s wrong, but I have some trouble getting over that societal doublestandard, as I’m sure many others do too. This case is also horrible, because the parents probably looked up to Michael and thought their kids were safe with him (although I don’t know why…I think he’s creepy) and I’m sure the children themselves looked up to Michael and trusted him. It also seems to me that the children were not consenting, but rather forced into the situation against their will and probably many kept quite about it for the same reason most children, and even adult victims of rape, do…embarrassment, confusion, shame…and the fear that no one will believe them.

I will admit that there is some confusion when it comes to deciding whether or not a child is a child or an adult. Many, many years ago right here in the U.S. girls would get married at the age of 14, often to older men. The same is still true in many other countries. In many other countries children have assumed the role of adulthood much earlier than 18 and done a good job of it. I am not saying that this should or should not happen. I tend to think not, because I think everyone should get a certain number of years to just be a child. But, these facts do add to the confusion of whether or not a “child” is mentally competent and at what age.

Perhaps I am being hypocritical in that I would probably have much more sympathy for a 12 year old murder than I would a 16 year old one. I would probably put a 12 year old in a mental facility for life. Maybe that’s because I tend to think 16 and 17 year olds are a lot more competent than people give them credit for. I’m not so old yet that I don’t remember what it was like being those ages. So maybe if you lowered that cutoff age, then I would be perfectly fine with it. But also, I am not saying all 16 and up murders should be put to death. Certainly not. I wouldn’t say that about 45 year old murders. I think each case is different with different circumstances. For example, I see marked differences in a woman murdering her husband after 20 years of battering as opposed to the BTK killer. That’s why I said each case should be decided on its own merits. Although the justice system is not foolproof, it’s the best we’ve got.

I noticed that in your arguments regarding Priests and choir boys and Michael Jackson and boys, you keep saying that the children were consenting. I'm confused, because I thought it was common knowledge that the children in both instances did not consent. I could be wrong, but I haven't seen a case where the choirboy consented to sexual relations (the same for the Jackson case). So, it’s kind of a moot point.
Anyways, I'm just not swayed by your argument. I'm seeing apples to oranges. In cases of pedophila or child labor we're talking about the minor being the victim. In the other cases we're talking about the minor being the one victimizing. If you want a truly analogous argument, then we should tackle another situation where the minor is the victimizer. If a 16-year-old rapes a woman (woman's age is irrelevant), then should the 16-year-old be punished? If the minor is not capable of knowing what he is doing or capable of fully understanding his actions and the consequences of those actions, then in theory, he shouldn't be punished.
You should also note that the law does acknowledge a difference between say the ages of 11 and 16. If you have sex with an 11 year old, then that is considered molestation/pedophila. If you have sex with a 16 year old then that is considered statutory rape. Perhaps, then the problem is with the line we've drawn with age.
Anyways, I’m sure you’ll call me hypocritical or something worse perhaps (considering how passionately angry you seem to get when there’s an opinion different from your own), but all my answers above are what I truly believe to be right, no bullshit and no agenda. Perhaps if you see a viewpoint that you disagree with, then maybe you should just try to engage the person in conversation and present your argument with supporting evidence in the hopes that you’ll get me, and others, to change our minds. In which case I just might, if your argument is a good one. I hardly think you’ll get anyone to change their minds and see your point of view if you attack them with angry emotion. For example, I am NOT a Bush supporter. I’m a loopy liberal, I guess you could say. But I’ve become friends with a diehard Christian, rightwing blogger on here. Why? Because he comes at me the right way and gives me something to think about.

P.S. I didn’t get the bub thing. Does wolverine say that?
P.P.S. Thanks for reading my blog! =) P.P.P.S. Unfortunately, I am unable to view your blog and learn anything about you.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

In case you're wondering why I deleted some comments, it's because I compiled them all into one. I thought it would be better reading.

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

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At 10:21 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

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At 10:23 PM, Blogger William C. White said...

I think you TOTALLY missed my point, and your answers to numbers 1a and 2 are the clearest indications that you missed the point. If your position is that a 13 year old should not be able to have plastic surgery without parental consent because they cannot fully understand the ramifications of such an act, how can your position SIMULTANEOUSLY be that 13 year olds should be treated as adults if they commit “adult” crimes? Why don’t you continue to feel that they cannot understand the ramifications of such an act?

I don’t care what age they pick to define adulthood, I just want consistency. If our society wants it so that a 17 year old cannot vote, buy alcohol/cigarettes, or take out a loan from a bank because they are not responsible enough or they lack the ability to fully understand the consequences of these things, I would 100% support that decision. However, I would demand, in order to stay consistent, we also say that, based on our above reasoning, they are not responsible enough or lack the ability to fully understand the consequences of their actions and therefore we will NOT give 17 year olds “adult” criminal sentences (no death, no life, or anything like that.) Otherwise we are giving “children” all of the adult punishments, but none of the adult privileges.

I don’t know what Catholic priest stories you were hearing about, but in almost every single story that I heard about, the priest befriended the boy and convinced the boy that nothing was wrong with the sexual act. In some instances the boys thought that what was happening to them was “normal”. I cannot recall any outright forcible rape stories. I’m sure some exist, but a clear majority of these cases involve the priest “tricking” these boys, or the priest using his authority to influence the boy’s decisions.

The same holds true for Michael Jackson (you can read his charges HERE); it is being argued that he used his celebrity to get these boys to do what he wanted. It also says that he gave them alcohol and maybe some other drugs.

But these things only prove my point. I hate to keep saying this over and over, but either a 13 year old has a child mentality or a 13 year old has an adult mentality. You cannot refuse to give a 13 year old ALL of the privileges of being an adult (i.e., the right to vote, buy cigarettes and/or alcohol, hold political office, drive, buy a home, choose their own sexual partner, make their own medical decisions, etc.), but be willing to give them ALL of the punishments that may come as an adult (life prison sentences, and in this case, the death sentence.) All I’m arguing is that there should be consistency, consistency, consistency. If they can’t have all of the privileges of an adult, then they should have none of the punishments of an adult.

With respect to child labor, I was actually talking about a 13 year old walking into a store like Wal-Mart or Sears and requesting a job. Should they be allowed to work if they want to work? I’m not talking about forced labor on children or adults. I’m talking about should a 13 year old be allowed to apply for a job at and receive work at a construction site like an adult can. And if not, why do we treat that 13 year old like an adult in other instances (i.e., when they commit crimes)?

“Considering how passionately angry you seem to get when there’s an opinion different from your own. “ What annoys me is when people ignore facts or argue in a clearly illogical manner. Like I’ve said on another post, “Earning points or changing peoples minds are irrelevant to me, stating the facts and letting people state their facts is all I care about.” I don’t care about differing opinions, that’s too simple an observation on your part, my problem is when people use something from this list repeatedly to argue. If they argue in this manner, then they will never get respect from me. and like I said before, Earning points or changing peoples minds are irrelevant to me, stating the facts and letting people state their facts is all I care about. However, if you can show me where I attacked someone just for having a differing opinion and without provocation, I will immediately apologize, but I don’t think you can find something like that.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

I see your point on consistency. I think I've been consistent (no pun intended) on judging 16 year olds and up as adults in my arguments. I don't think I would concede that a 13 year old is adultworthy; thus, I am uncomfortable with the trickery in molestation cases. I would have to say I don't see the consent in the molestation cases we have been discussing. Just because one does not struggle and kick when the actual sexual encounter is happening does not mean one consents to the act. Like I said before, victims of unwanted sexual acts do not always protest out of feelings of confusion, fear, and humiliation. In the cases we've been discussing Jackson and the preists used their positions to help coerce their victims. It's very difficult to stand up to someone who is in a position of authority and someone who is respected by others. The fear that no one would believe the victim would be palpable. In any case, that is an argument about the definition of "consent" as applied to these molestations, not the consistency of age.
Another inconsistency in our society would be the fact that 18 year olds can serve in the military and go to war, but they can't drink alcohol.
Anywho, if I say that 16 year olds and up should be tried as adults, then I think I would be inline with consistency. I have to ponder upon the subject some more. There could be some circumstances I haven't considered.

 

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