Minor Adults, Major Crimes

Drawing the line on the death penalty. What is the line?

Many will argue, “You have to draw the line somewhere.” Why is this? The only line to be drawn is between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Initiating violence against another, most especially in the form of murder, is unacceptable behavior no matter what the age. A 17- or 15- or 13-year-old who kills somebody because he feels like it is not in the same category as a four-year-old who accidentally knocks an electrical appliance into a bathtub and kills the person in it. The first is murder; the second is a tragic accident.

The Justices who sit on the Supreme Court know this. The people they emulate, those who write the United Nations “guidelines for humanity” that gave rise to this decision to abolish the death penalty for minors, know it as well. It’s not a knowledge issue. It’s an evasion issue. These are people who are more interested in looking humane to their peers than really following logic, reason, and doing what’s right.

If you oppose the death penalty for adults, then of course you will extend this opposition to minors. But to advocate a policy that allows Lee Boyd Malvo, the snide little terrorist who shot people at random in Maryland and Virginia in the fall of 2002, to avoid the death penalty merely because he was just shy of 18, is profoundly evil. When I think of Lee Boyd Malvo’s victims, I hate the members of our Supreme Court who abolished the death penalty for minors even more than I hate Lee Boyd Malvo. I didn’t think, until now, that such a thing was possible.