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Kids Charged As Adults: The Death of the Infancy Defense

By       Message M. Davis     Permalink
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Over the past year or so, much of the work that I have been involved with touches the elderly, particularly old black farmers and people who have difficulty deciphering various documents and navigating America’s complex, often hostile bureaucracies. For them, the world is often a confusing maze of undecipherable bills, illegible legal papers, impatient clerks, and last, but not least of all, ‘customer dis-service’ representatives who grind the old folks into pieces beneath the weight of their bureaucratic bludgeons.

For whatever reason, this country does not appreciate its elderly citizens. Where the elderly and aged in other nations are honored and have a special place in society as advisors and wisdom keepers, the twisted thing that has become American society chooses to disrespect its elders and throw away its youth, in some kind of senseless, suicidal journey to chaos.

Over and over we read about children killing or raping other children. And, does it move us? Do we get up off of our chairs, couches and sofas and challenge the evil that is stalking our children? Do we reclaim our children from the streets?

Apparently not, if the recent atrocities involving kids are concerned. We have eight year olds being charged with RAPE!!!! Say what? Ya’ll know I’m an old fogey because the last time I checked, eight year olds were 2nd or 3rd graders who are still trying to wrap their heads around multiplication tables.

Now we hear about kids being charged with rape, armed robbery and goodness knows what else. What a world! What madness. But, most telling is the abdication of adult responsibility and the lack of social justice in the whole matrix.

Rather than facing our responsibility on the parental, neighborhood and school level, we throw money at the problem. If that doesn’t work, we throw the kids away in institutions and wash our bloody hands of the whole thing. Today, we have eight year olds up on charges of rape, murder and gang shootings. And ambitious prosecutors take advantage of the public’s fear and outrage, all too ready to charge these kids as adults, throwing out centuries of common law precedent.

Back in the day—you know the ones, where we had stone tablets and a stylus to take notes on, criminal justice professors first began their coursework with a history of common law, the tenets of which is the idea of capacity, comprehension of the deed and understanding of its consequences.

In the old days, it was assumed that a child had to reach a certain age before he understood the differences between right and wrong, the consequences of his actions.  This is known as the infancy defense.

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Today, the Infancy Defense, particularly in cases involving black children and black boys, most of all, has been thrown out of the window. Society is twitching and moaning and the law and order politicians are sucking up to the frightened masses by sacrificing troubled children on the altar of convenience. Black children are being roasted on the spit, as society wallows in an orgy of “law and order”.

Obviously these children are not at home doing their homework or chores. That being said, where exactly are our children these days and what do they do with their spare time? And how many parents know, or even care?

An immigrant from India told me in conversation a while back that he had a major blow up with his son over the son’s desire to work at a fast food joint for spare cash. The parent told his child that, as a child he had a job: to study hard in school and get the best grades he was capable of getting. He was guiding his child, keeping an eye on his son's grades and nurturing him for a broader future, where the child had the foundation for successfully obtaining a middle class life, based on his education and personal discipline.

Here in this place we call America, the idea of discipline, personal responsibility and parental involvement has become outmoded. So much so, that in some schools, teachers are afraid of their students—too afraid to actually teach. In many of our schools, our teachers have become glorified jail guards, spending more time keeping the lid on than teaching the “3 R’s”.

Moreover, in too many neighborhoods, society has broken down so much that parents are afraid of their own children, and the children are so afraid of everything that they shoot first and cry later. To salve its conscience, our government officials and politicians make a mockery out of “justice”.

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Under the pretext of keeping us safe, over-zealous prosecutors pander to terrified voters with their pseudo get tough on crime campaigns, charging children as adults in bloody frenzies of partisan politics, as if charging one out of control child as an adult will defuse the breeding grounds which nurture feral children faster than garbage dumps attract rats.

We continue to allow these political sharks to divert and distract us from our falling apart schools, playgrounds that are too dangerous to play in and neighborhoods which have long lost the concept of “neighbors.” Instead, we participate in the organized lynching of selected children, sacrificing them to the gods of diversion and distraction.

As the political predators feast on deviant children, the bureaucrats are in full get out the vote mode, pretending they care about making a difference. It seems the only difference any of us really care about is how to get these kids out of our hair in the most convenient manner possible. And, so we solve the problem by charging the kids as adults, throwing the key away until they are 18, and then we pretend we are confused when they come out of the system with a PhD in mayhem.

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Wanna be member of the anti-word police, author, columnist, activist and muckraker extraordinaire. Author of:

Land, Legacy and Lynching: Building the Future for Black America

Urban Asylum: Politics, Lunatics and the Refrigerator (more...)
 

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