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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Columns

Common sense: Juveniles should be tried as adults


It’s illogical and ridiculous to try 16-year-olds as adults. | Sonny Singh/The Cougar

Children grow up fast, and the days of adorable drooling and diapers give way to loud screeching and the dreaded word: “why.”  Most parents get the pleasure of at least 13 or 14 years with their child before they claim to be an adult and no longer want anything to do with their parents.

Wisconsin, however, cut that down when a 13-year-old was transferred to adult court. I wonder what the adult judge will have to say when he hears that the child’s idea to stab a classmate came from her imaginary friend, Slender Man.  

The courts in Wisconsin were not swayed by the illogical argument that the offenders were 11 years old when they tried to kill a classmate to appease the fictional BFF. On Aug. 21, the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, now sure to enjoy early adulthood for many years in a Wisconsin state prison.

In Texas, children stop being babies not when they hit puberty, drive, vote, enlist in the military or drink, but when they commit a violent crime. At the state’s discretion, those who act like adults get the opportunity to be treated as adults.

Sentences can include making license plates for the rest of their lives.

Several cases over the past year pitted children against the state in a power struggle for freedom.

Juvenile status ends at 16 years old in Texas. At 16, one can operate a motor vehicle, and that is about it. The state, however, says: They will never change, evolve or grow beyond where they are, so let’s lock ’em up.

It makes complete sense that 16 is the set age for determining an offender an adult. The ability to navigate the high school sophomore locker rooms definitely qualifies you to navigate a Texas State Penitentiary shower room.

Sometimes, if you are extra special and have shown extreme maturity like 15-year-old Miguel Navarro, you can advance to this stage early. He might have had to have his older brother drive him to a party because he doesn’t have a license, but he doesn’t need his big brother in prison for the next 99 years.

Navarro stabbed three people who hurled drunken, racist slurs at him. A snowflake might walk away or find his big brother, but Navarro is an adult after all, and he fought words with a knife.

These are just two recent cases. This unique adulthood certification, however, happens all over the country. In 44 states, the age of adulthood is 17. So you can go to prison for life, but you still can’t join the military without your mommy’s written permission. Right; definitely understand the logic.

Ages 11 and 15 are too old for a determination of adulthood. Why not call all these cry babies adults the minute they are able to wear big boy pants?

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