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Debate Info

33
39
Yes No
Debate Score:72
Arguments:77
Total Votes:72
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 Yes (29)
 
 No (35)

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PhxDemocrat(13120) pic



Mercy For An 8 Year Old Murderer?

A judge in Arizona has cleared the way for a boy who murdered his own father and another man when he was just 8 year old to be placed in a foster home and attend public school.  The boy is now 15.

Question:  Should children who are murderers (think of "The Bad Seed") be shown mercy due to their young age when the crime was committed and not be sent to adult prison?

Yes

Side Score: 33
VS.

No

Side Score: 39
3 points

Sending a boy of that age to an adult prison will give him an adult prisoner education! He will NEVER be anything but a criminal. I thought Jesus taught forgiveness. I thought America was a place where people got a second chance, (if they deserved it). Anyway, if you are going to lock HIM up for life, then we've GOT to keep every adult who knew better in prison for life. He didn't even know any better!

Side: Yes
2 points

We need to know he won't do it again. What does he have to do yo show he knows better now and won't be a danger to others?

Side: Yes
dcb9242000(167) Disputed
1 point

Jesus taught forgiveness

Only if the person in question was actually sorry. In addition, this is the American judicial system, not Jesus. There is a big difference. If someone commits a crime, they should receive the appropriate punishment.

I thought America was a place where people got a second chance, (if they deserved it)

He definitely does not deserve a second chance. He killed two people. Should Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get a second chance? He never did anything illegal before he put a bomb on the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

He didn't even know any better!

So you're saying that a kid who had been alive for 8 years in this destructive world we live in didn't know that it wasn't okay to take someone's life? He doesn't know the effects of death? Did you know not to kill someone when you were 8? If you didn't know that, you must have had a pretty messed up childhood.

Side: No
AlofRI(3290) Clarified
1 point

The Tsarnaevs were college educated and old enough to have learned right from wrong. No, they don't deserve a second chance. If an 8 year old plays with a chemistry set, trying to learn, and sets his house on fire, it becomes a lesson in right and wrong. After suitable punishment, he deserves a second chance. If he later shows signs of pyromania, time to do something serious to protect others.

Looking at your avatar, I would say that you likely do not think that Dubya's lying about WMD and resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans, Brits and Iraqis should be ignored by that American Judicial System? That he maybe deserves a second chance? A chance to live HIS life unencumbered? Guess you and he must have had a pretty messed up childhood.

Yes. I would easily believe the "kid" had a messed up childhood, and I guess the parents have paid dearly for their mistakes. They, themselves, may not have realized THEY were making them.

Side: Yes

I will opine that since age of consent laws are in place to protect minors because they are viewed as a protected class without having achieved the maturity to make an adult decision, likewise, I feel that a minor should be protected from being tried as an adult regardless of the crime committed.

Side: Yes
1 point

i'll take this as a backup to the idea that children are evil and that morals are educated. if so, then i think it comes down to whether he is rejecting, misinterpreting or is ignorant of our general moral code.

identify that in the 15 year old and you may have an answer, but it may not be that easy.

Side: Yes
Jace(5220) Clarified
2 points

Psychology indicates that children are born with some innate moral dispositions which are influenced by social conditioning as they develop. The field also suggests that moral cognition is not fully developed until later in life, so particularly in this case we should suspect that the act was committed by someone who lacked full moral cognitive ability. To assume a moral flaw in the 15 year old on the basis of acts committed while they were arguably a different person in respect to their moral reasoning ability seems questionable.

Furthermore, I would question whether moral cognitive ability is even relevant for consideration. Amorality or differentiated morality does not necessarily lead to violence against others. While the moral cognition of the person in question may factor, I doubt that it is valid as the primary determining factor. I would also argue that in the question of lifelong incarceration for a child whose crimes were committed prior to an age of developed moral cognition, the onus is open the system to prove they pose a threat rather than the other way around.

Side: Yes
1 point

It's a hard question. And i think this kids at that age know what's right and wrong and they should be punished buy not sent to an adult prison because the set of mind is different. I mean we should be able to have a prison for children where they are punished like adults but still treated like kids. Where they can keep learning and when they finally come out they better persons

Side: Yes
Jace(5220) Disputed
1 point

Eight year old children do not have fully developed moral cognition. And, arguably, we should have more supportive institutions for our adult population as well that focus more upon rehabilitation than retribution; why limit that treatment to children?

Side: Yes
1 point

Yes, It is written that the frontal lobe of a males brain is not even fully developed until 24 years of age. That being said he should be held in captivity until at least age 21 because of the magnitude of his crime even though he was young. That in itself is both punishment...and merciful. Sincerely, Q

Side: Yes
1 point

First off I believe every state sets it's own murder laws and my comments below are not meant to interfere with that.

Philosophically I believe every crime is exactly that - a crime - and whether you get a harsher or lighter sentence is up to judge and/or jury depending on the perpetrator and the circumstances. Personally, I would consider youth of the offender a factor for a lesser sentence. So yes, some mercy. But there are other cases I've read or heard where I'd say whatever was done was so heinous I'd throw the book at a kid.

I'll add, however, I'd consider this the kids last chance. I'm a whisker away from being in the other column.

Side: Yes
1 point

Psychopaths, know how to blend in. Unpredictable , they are. It's near impossible to tell what will set them off. Give them a chance, they say. Take chance at life from others, they will.

Side: No
Jace(5220) Disputed
2 points

There is nothing in public record to suggest that he has antisocial personality disorder. It is just as plausible that his actions were precipitated by a psychotic episode, which would not necessarily be a recurring condition and which is generally manageable with medication and therapy. The brain also develops considerably throughout childhood and early adolescence, and with particular respect to moral cognition. It also seems like they are giving his case special attention and are not releasing him without condition, oversight, and continued psychological care.

Side: Yes
1 point

I hope you receive the same idiotic responses I have received so I can see how it is answered with grace.

Side: Yes
31337(560) Disputed
1 point

There is nothing in public record to suggest that he has antisocial personality disorder.

I don't see how this is relevant. Not all psychopaths have APD.

It is just as plausible that his actions were precipitated by a psychotic episode, which would not necessarily be a recurring condition and which is generally manageable with medication and therapy.

It isn't just as plausible. Psychotic episodes are triggered by immediate issues. The kid was in the house, with the gun, waiting for his Father to get home from work. It wasn't an episode, it was a premeditated murder.

The brain also develops considerably throughout childhood and early adolescence, and with particular respect to moral cognition. It also seems like they are giving his case special attention and are not releasing him without condition, oversight, and continued psychological care.

This is always the case and yet they just end up murdering again in their later years.

Side: No
1 point

But, if the kid isn't a psychopath can he reenter society? If he murdered his father because he was being beaten then it was a survival thing and he wouldn't be a psychopath.

Side: No
31337(560) Disputed
1 point

The article says the child mentions "spankings". Not beatings. Any life endangering beatings would have been obvious on the child's body and definitely would have been brought to light.

Side: No
GenericName(3430) Clarified
1 point

Woah there, Yoda.

Side: Yes
31337(560) Clarified
1 point

Carried away, I became.

Ashamed, I'm not.

Side: Yes
31337(560) Clarified
1 point

Carried away, I became.

Ashamed, I'm not.

Side: Yes
1 point

There should be special institutions in place for child murderers. It doesn't seem fair to throw them into a regular prison, and yet it is unsafe for them to be put back out into the world.

Side: No
Jace(5220) Disputed
1 point

How do you know it is unsafe for all of them to re-enter society? Mitigating circumstances aside, moral cognition develops considerably over the course of childhood and early adolescence. While there will almost certainly be children for whom anti-social, psychotic pathology persists there is little to suggest that this would be categorically the case. And to my knowledge, there is also very limited research on the responsiveness of anti-social personality to early intervention; what we know about adult pathology simply may not hold constant for children.

Side: Yes
1 point

Do not have mercy on the child but take it out on his parents and/or peers who drove him to do it more so than you would do if he were older. :)

Side: No
1 point

A murder committed is still a murder committed, regardless of the murderer's age . It is I moral and inhumane for a murder to take place . Even though the murderer is only eight years old , a life is still lost in this murder case , just like other murder case and thus , equal punishment should be metered out to the murderer and no mercy should be given just based on the age of the murderer

Side: No
1 point

Murder is murder, no matter how old the murderer is, it is still murder, which is a crime.

Side: No