How young is too young for life in prison?

Mar 21, 2012 By Greg St.Martin
The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on Tuesday in two murder cases that Northeastern law professor Mary O’Connell (above) says could have a far-reaching impact on legislation. Credit: David Leifer

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments related to two separate murder cases in which 14-year-olds were sentenced to life without parole. The court will take up the constitutionality of such a sentence for juveniles. Northeastern University news office asked Mary O’Connell — a professor in Northeastern’s School of Law with expertise in youth and family law — to examine the impact of the court’s ultimate ruling and explain how juvenile cases are handled differently than adult cases.

What is the significance of this case and how much of an impact could the court’s decision ultimately be?

It could be extremely far-reaching. The 1980s spawned a great deal of “tough on crime” legislation and practices in reaction to issues such as an uptick in juvenile crime and the crack epidemic. This, in turn, led many states to adopt legislation making it easier for courts to try juveniles as adults. While all 50 states have different laws, the states are bound to U.S. rulings. Since the “tough on crime” era, we’ve been slowly backing away from it. In 2005, the Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty for juveniles (Roper v. Simmons), which was a huge step in this direction. I suspect that the oral arguments starting this week will have the same tenor as those that proved successful in the 2005 case.

Over time, an ethic of accountability and responsibility has emerged that is imposed on everybody. There is a belief that if you’re old enough to look like an adult, then you should be held as accountable as anybody else. I think Roper v. Simmons has veered us away from this perception, and I hope this case does so even more.

It’s been suggested that the defendants’ lawyers will argue that adolescent brains aren’t as fully developed as adults, and therefore adolescents shouldn’t be held to the same standard. Is this a valid argument?

There is a lot of literature now suggesting that people under a certain age don’t have the same judgment as adults. That doesn’t mean a murder committed by an adolescent should be condoned, but it does mean that an adolsescent is just not the same as someone who commits the same act at 35 or even 25 years of age.

This argument was used in the 2005 case, and I would expect it to be used again here because it was successful — and there is even more brain science now than seven years ago. There’s also been a change in the country in how we feel about crime. Generally speaking, juvenile crime has been on the decline since the mid-1990s, and there’s been greater pushback on the death penalty. The 2005 decision shocked me, given the conservative makeup of the court. I have a relatively strong feeling that it will be same result here as in 2005.

Do recidivism rates and defendants’ remorsefulness play a role in how courts punish juveniles convicted of violent crimes?

Given that many laws impose mandatory sentences for certain crimes, judges sometimes don’t have much leeway. An offender’s remorsefulness, however, can play a factor in sentencing and more so in parole hearings.

This year, our law students have been working on a project to track recidivism rates in states that had different systems for sealing or expunging juveniles’ records. Generally, recidivism research isn’t happening on a large scale nationwide because it is expensive to track someone’s path over a long period of time. We found, however, that a few states investigated how quickly juveniles reoffend in cases of lower-level crimes. Interestingly, we found that if a juvenile doesn’t commit another crime for 18 months, he or she is unlikely to recommit at all.

My law students and I also worked for about 10 years with kids in foster care, which had led us to believe that if kids can get through the treacherous passage between the ages of 13 and 16, they’re likely to stay on a good path. Teenagers tend to get themselves into trouble before they’re old enough to perceive the consequences. I believe that if most kids can be guided through these years, they’ll continue to develop their judgment.

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Bunny Olesen
2.4 / 5 (13) Mar 21, 2012
That is horrible, there is no way I could condone life in prison with no parole for a 14 year old. I mean I couldn't imagine what heinous thing(s) he/she would have to do before I would agree with that.

Their brains AREN'T developed, they don't understand consequences and unlike adults, most kids CAN be rehabilitated!

Now don't get me wrong, some countries go overboard in the opposite direction. Here in Sweden, people under 15 (or maybe 15 & under) won't go to jail for any crime. That's just wrong. 15 years is old enough to get consequences for bad actions. But life in prison isn't one.

Recently in Washington, that 9 year old boy brought a gun to school & it went off, striking an 8 year old girl. They actually arrested that boy & have charged him with a terrible crime; he will now have a criminal record.
Sinister1811
2 / 5 (15) Mar 21, 2012
So you're saying that if a 14 year old were to commit a crime such as murder, they shouldn't be punished? Only rehabilitated? Criminal courts are constantly letting teenagers off for crimes these days because they "don't understand" the consequences of their actions (imo, that's just an excuse). And guess what - they go on to commit more crimes. That's what's wrong with the justice system. But yeah, I don't agree with life in prison.
Sinister1811
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 21, 2012
Sorry, I meant to rate you a 3 for the comment.
ShotmanMaslo
2.7 / 5 (12) Mar 21, 2012
This whole "tried as an adult" thing in the US is nonsense. Juveniles are simply not adults yet. They cannot enter contracts, drink, give informed consent, fight a war, yet they can be tried as an adults? That is hypocritical.

I am not saying they deserve light sentences, but if you want to be harsh on juvenile criminals, then increase penalties for juvenile offenders.

As for life in prison, I also think it is stupid, as nobody knows how long a criminal will live, even more so with potential advancements in medicine in the future. Just hand out cumulated punishments of 50-100 years and more if required, but enumerate them.
AWaB
3.5 / 5 (8) Mar 21, 2012
We're missing a major problem with this sentencing. We're taking children / young adults, who don't know how to interact within the bounds of acceptable social behavior, and place them with others who have behaved in similar, unacceptable ways. Then they finish their maturation process together. At some point we release them back to society and expect them to behave better than they did the first time... am I the only one that sees a problem with this?

Extermination, electroshock therapy, or working on a farm for a couple of years all might be the right answer. We know that there's a problem and that it needs a solution. Arguing about sentencing contributes only to the heat death of the universe, nothing more. Let's get rid of the lawyers and make some decisions. If nothing else, try something different! Jail isn't working.
antialias_physorg
3.6 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2012
Penal systems are supposed to have three effects:
- deterrent
- penalization
- resocialization

Young offenders are not aware of the deterrent (Most adults arent even aware of the laws they transgresed - and if they are, then they usually aren't aware of legth of prison they ae facing before the act. Since perpetrators expect to get away with it, deterrent usually doesn't figure into whether a crime is comitted or not, anyhow )
The penalization aspect arguably works for teenage offenders, too.
Resocialization is up to the prison system. If the inmates are left to themselves then one shouldn't expect much changed behaior after release. This is the part teenage offenders would be most susceptible to.

Basically it should be up to psych evaluation whether someone can be tried by adult law or not. Age alone does not determine how adult/aware a person is.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (12) Mar 21, 2012
"How young is too young for life in prison?"

How young is too young to be preventing the kind of damage and fixing the kind of defects which cause this kind of behavior? Brain science should be busy quantifying and categorizing the kinds of damage done to fetuses by ignorant, selfish, careless mothers who think that getting drunk, smoking, or doing drugs while pregnant is somehow their prerogative.

And once the public becomes aware that this is the overwhelming source of criminal behavior in people, not to mention lifetimes of suffering, confusion, compulsion, and self-medication, then they can be compelled to enact laws requiring continuous real-time electronic monitoring of expectant mothers in order to prevent this abuse.

It is not just one life ruined but all of society which suffers. Tech will soon exist to detect it and immediately incarcerate expectant mothers to prevent further abuse. This WILL happen; it's only a matter of when.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (12) Mar 21, 2012
Their brains AREN'T developed, they don't understand consequences and unlike adults, most kids CAN be rehabilitated!
You don't know this. Perhaps most damage can be fixed or mitigated, but not at present. We all live with various degrees of restriction based on past behavior. Adolescent sociopaths should expect their behavior to limit their freedom proportionately, and so should we.

Adolescents were considered 'adults' throughout most of our evolution, and are still recognized as such in many cultures. Don't be naive in thinking that they shouldn't be able to control themselves.
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2012
How young is too young to be preventing the kind of damage and fixing the kind of defects which cause this kind of behavior? Brain science should be busy quantifying and categorizing the kinds of damage done to fetuses by ignorant, selfish, careless mothers...

While this certainly is something to act on (and a number of initiativews try just that) it doesn't really solve the problem outlined in the article.

You'll never get 100% of kids that way. There will always some that will slip through the crack (unless we go totalitarian on the population's behind...and probably not even then). Kids are malleable. Not all juvenile delinquents have a long history (of negligence, abuse, insert favorite cause here)...sometimes it takes a surprisingly short time to turn an adjusted kid into menace to society.
Pyle
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2012
Kill 'em all. Life in prison is a waste of resources. Send them to the organ banks instead.
Lurker2358
2.5 / 5 (11) Mar 21, 2012
Bunny Oleson:

BS.

Anybody who doesn't "understand" the consequences of murder at 14 years of age is a danger to society anyway, and should still be locked up for life.

You are a naive fool.

Hell, everyone knows murder is wrong and evil.

I don't care what you're psychologist says about a child or teens developing brain, that's just bullshit to claim that they don't know what murder is or that it's wrong.

My God I know everyone I was around as a child and teen knew this and understood this.

Something is screwed up with people like you if you think kids don't know right from wrong or the consequences, especially in something like murder.
antialias_physorg
3.1 / 5 (8) Mar 21, 2012
Hell, everyone knows murder is wrong and evil.

But not everyone is always in a coherent state of mind.

And certainly not every adult knows that murder is wrong. Ask governments. Ask soldiers. All of them will find a way to "explain away" that what they are doing isn't (accessory to) murder. some of them will even tell you that they think what they are doing is morally right!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 21, 2012
sometimes it takes a surprisingly short time to turn an adjusted kid into menace to society.
Yah I know we're all nazis inside. But some of us are easier to manipulate than others. And some of us are bonafide sociopaths (not me) who are incapable of feeling empathy and whose compulsions and desire for gratification outweigh their fear of punishment. This is caused by DEFECT and damage and is in theory preventable. We know this damage can occur in the womb and this IS now preventable.
Hell, everyone knows murder is wrong and evil.
Well considering the tribal dynamic (internal altruism vs external animosity), which governs most human social interaction and which is very well-described in your bible, murder in defense of the tribe is honorable and expected. Ask any crip. Or nazi for that matter.

Western society struggles to maintain this tribal perception over humanity as a whole, while religions ALL seek to confine it to their own adherents. Dont they?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 21, 2012
You'll never get 100% of kids that way.
And we'll never cure all disease. Does that mean we shouldnt try??
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2012
Certainly we should try. Just saying that the basic problem of judging juvenile murderers will not go away as long as at least one juvenile murderer remains. Even the best prenatal care and upbringing will not prevent that from ever happening.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 22, 2012
bring back corporal punishment. prison is a punishment to all us tax payers who fund it.
Skepticus
2.1 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2012
Big deal. Ye can't never be young enough to be in prison. There is the biggest environmentally-friendly-fresh-air-prison of around 7 millions in ME, where the juveniles, toddlers, infants, and yet-to-be-born are all enjoying their life sentences with gusto. They are well cared for, prevented from the ills of modern societies such as old age and obesity by a restricted calories diet, and kept under sustainable development by the periodic target practices with live ammo. This suits the "world community" just fine. If you read the news, nobody really complained. If anyone is stupid enough to voice misguided concerns, it just proves that they really are too stupid to understand that highest efforts and stellar moral principles have been used to make it possible. The inmates are all terrorists, growing up and training to be terrorists, being born of terrorists, genetically and culturally predisposed to be terrorists, and won't be anything good but terrorists, according to the wardens.
guesta0
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2012
That's obvious that a 14 y.o. brain is not as developed as someone with a 25 years old brain.
Sinister1811
1.9 / 5 (9) Mar 22, 2012
Well, obviously. But typically most people are aware of the choices they make in life, and the potential consequences of their actions. Or, at least, they should be. I don't think someone should escape punishment for criminal activity just because of their age. It isn't fair to the rest of society.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2012
That's obvious that a 14 y.o. brain is not as developed as someone with a 25 years old brain.

Is it? I have met some very smart/mature 14 year olds and some very dim/immature 25 year olds.

Fixed age numbers are easy to grasp and easy to put in law - but I think that misses the point entirely (and produces the problem we are facing here in the first place). People should be treated according to how mature/aware they are - not simply by how old they are.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2012
People should be treated according to how mature/aware they are - not simply by how old they are.


Makes sense, but to be fair, the same must apply to privileges, not only responsibilities. Mature 14 year old eligible to be judged as an adult? Fine, but he should be also able to consent to sex, drink alcohol, vote, fight a war, enter contracts etc.
antialias_physorg
2.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2012
Yes. Why not? If they can demonstrate maturity 'beyond their years' I'd have no qualms with that (with one exception on your list: anyone who WANTS to be a soldier cannot be considered mature, reasonable or in any way responsible. Such a decision should be an automatic trip into psych evaluation or straight to prison for 'attempted premeditated murder')
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) Mar 22, 2012
Certainly we should try. Just saying that the basic problem of judging juvenile murderers will not go away as long as at least one juvenile murderer remains. Even the best prenatal care and upbringing will not prevent that from ever happening.
Yeah so? Please let me ask the obvious question; whats your point? Say that, with all our efforts, we are finally left with only one juvenile murderer. Are you saying that this state of affairs is not a good thing? Are you saying that society would not be vastly better as a result?
Such a decision should be an automatic trip into psych evaluation or straight to prison for 'attempted premeditated murder')
So... anybody who feels it necessary to fight to protect their family from imminent harm, and their country from invasion by people who have vowed to harm their family or destroy their way of life, is psychotic in your mind?

Psychotics are people who would NOT feel that these things are worth fighting for. Obviously.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2012
Are you saying that this state of affairs is not a good thing?

I'm saying that would be a very good thing. I am AGREEING all the time with you that there are things that can be done to have less juvenile offenders.

This does not change the thrust of the article that there is problem WHEN you have such a delinquent and you need to try them. The problem of deciding what to do in such a situation remains exactly the same. The only thing that cahnges is that you have the problem less of then - but the problem itself of deciding whether to try by adult laws or not does not go away.

...

Anyone who considers violence a viable option? Yes. Especially in countries which aren't (and have never been) under threat like the US.

If you feel that there are things worth 'fighting for' then you're too dumb to consider that there are ways which do not require violence. (general 'you'. not you in particular)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 22, 2012
Anyone who considers violence a viable option? Yes. Especially in countries which aren't (and have never been) under threat like the US.
Hint: 9/11 was the result of an invasion. So is this:
http://www.csmoni...killings

And as everyone knows it is too late to act when the enemy is knocking on your door. It is suicidal to let a sworn enemy determine when, where, and how to fight. Angriff ist die beste Verteidigung.
Anyone who considers violence a viable option?
It is often the ONLY option. It is psychotic or at least severely neurotic to think otherwise. This is why police carry guns. This is why the maniac in Toulouse wont be killing any more children. This is why israel WILL attack to prevent a sworn enemy from attaining the means to destroy it.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2012
9/11 was the result of an invasion

You mean the US invading other countries? Certainly. It has been on a war footing since the 50's (since the only thing the US produces that the world wants is weapons it is in it's interest to wage as many wars as possible. Nothing sells weapons better than a "combat tested" sticker)

Making oneself accessory to such blatant 'politics' is even worse than being a willfull murderer - it's downright moronic.

Or do you mean the US was invaded? No it wasn't. There is a difference between a terrorist act and a war. (And you know who created Osma bin Laden - and his hate against the US? Guess...)

Violence is only the 'only option' if you are the one to strike first. The US has ALWAYS struck first since after WWII. it shouldn't be surprised if someone strikes back once in a while.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2012
You mean the US invading other countries? Certainly. It has been on a war footing since the 50's (since the only thing the US produces that the world wants is weapons it is in it's interest to wage as many wars as possible. Nothing sells weapons better than a "combat tested" sticker)
You are sadly naive. Too much euro tv I think.
Making oneself accessory to such blatant 'politics' is even worse than being a willfull murderer - it's downright moronic.
Snore. Say auntie, what is making islamists kill copts in egypt? What is making religionists battle each other throughout africa? Why are places like kashmir embroiled in violence?

No it is not a lack of appreciation for poetry. No it is not a lack of education, as those people all feel they are already educated. Boco haram means 'western education is evil'.

We are actively countering religionist aggression in the only way possible. You will soon be experiencing this in your streets.. They WILL be knocking on your door.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (8) Mar 23, 2012
Deutschland Erwache!
Or do you mean the US was invaded? No it wasn't.
Indeed it was. You think those planes were flown by remote control from islamabad? You think an invasion is 1.5 million men in 15 armored divisions arrayed along 1500 miles of your border, waiting for the order from ONE MAN to surge across that border and head straight for your capital??
There is a difference between a terrorist act and a war.
And exactly what might that be?
(And you know who created Osma bin Laden...)
Well, thats what I have been saying. He was emplaced in the manner that stalin was emplaced by the german army, in that case via sealed train direct from switzerland; to galvanize a populace and foment a rebellion in a Safe and Dependable Manner. For the good of all. So that it not be allowed to happen by itself. And threaten the world for real.

Because in europe at that time, as in the ME today, religion-inspired overpopulation has MADE WAR INEVITABLE.

Do not be a parrot. Or Pudel.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2012
Antialias reminds me of the hapless priest:
http://www.youtub...=related
Ahaahaaahahahahaaaa.

-And I suspect that this is where his attitude originates... Religion may be dying in europe but the concepts are interwoven into the culture. That irrational desire for martyrdom, for feeling that NOTHING is inevitable, not even death... so compelling...

'If we show them we are good maybe theyll be our friends!' Naw their god has told them their children are starving because you exist, and that they have the right and the duty to take what you have in order to feed them.

Do the math antialias.
natural pop growth 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64
religion-enforced growth 2, 8, 32, 128
food supply 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
western pop growth 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12

-Where lies the impetus for war?? And who can provide any chance of ending it for good?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2012
Say auntie, what is making islamists kill copts in egypt?

Same thing that made white people kill black people or Nazis kill Jews: Fear. Hate. Delusions of grandeur.

We are actively countering religionist aggression in the only way possible.

You know: Before the US went and messed up the middle east (arming all these nice guys: like the Ayatollas (which now control Iran), the Baahtist regime (remember Saddam?), and the freedom figh...ooops...Taliban...you remember that Osama was CIA trained and funded, to fight the Russkies, don't you?).

You think those planes were flown by remote control from islamabad?

Lemme give you a hint: "Invasion" - incursion of an army for conquest or plunder.

Doesn't fit the bill in the least.

No. Flying planes into buildings is not an invasion. (and the guys doing the 'invading' aren't even soldiers of a nation. They're nnot 'military' - they're terrorists)

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2012
Violence is only the 'only option' if you are the one to strike first
Destroying the ancient, obsolete, virulent religionist cultures which have always made war INEVITABLE, is a dirty Job. But someones got to do it.
The US has ALWAYS struck first since after WWII
And before then it was the germans, and the french, and the british, and the russians. You are shotrsighted as well as naive.
it shouldn't be surprised if someone strikes back once in a while.
A valid Strategy... In vietnam patrols would range through the countryside, looking to initiate contact. Then close air support would be called in. An enemy often has to be encouraged to expose himself. By inviting attack an enemy can be identified and his strength and capabilities gauged. Attack also justifies retaliation. Why was your reichstag burned?

Determining when and where an enemy will attack is a fairly advanced military tactic. Why was it so easy to fly planes into buildings in the US? Or shoot the archduke?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2012
There is a difference between a terrorist act and a war.

War is between states or nations. A non-government group cannot go to war. (And the Taliban were never accorded that status except by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE)

That irrational desire for martyrdom, for feeling that NOTHING is inevitable, not even death... so compelling...

Erm. You do know that that is only a tiny, TINY minority of muslims who think that...at least I really hope you do. because if you don't then you're part of the problem - not the solution.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2012
Lemme give you a hint: "Invasion" - incursion of an army for conquest or plunder.
Define 'army'.
No. Flying planes into buildings is not an invasion. (and the guys doing the 'invading' aren't even soldiers of a nation.
Lots of wars going on right now in africa which fit your myopic definition.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2012
Destroying the ancient, obsolete, virulent religionist cultures which have always made war INEVITABLE, is a dirty Job. But someones got to do it.

You sound EXACTLY the way you picture the people you want to destroy. Scary.

And before then it was the germans, and the french, and the british, and the russians.

Yes. And every time it was wrong.

By inviting attack an enemy can be identified and his strength and capabilities gauged.

But to go so far as to make (train, arm and radicalize) that enemy first - that is perverse.

Define 'army'.

army - a large organized body of armed personnel trained for war especially on land

But there was no incursion, and no aim at conquest (nor at plunder)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2012
War is between states or nations.
And throughout the Pleistocene there were no states or nations but tribal warfare was endemic. You do not know what war is.
A non-government group cannot go to war.
The lords resistance army is fighting a war in africa as we speak.

"The ever changing technologies and potentials of war extend along a historical continuum. At the one end lies the endemic warfare of the Paleolithic[citation needed] with its stones and clubs, and the naturally limited loss of life associated with the use of such weapons...Before the dawn of civilization, war likely consisted of small-scale raiding. One half of the people found in a Nubian cemetery dating to as early as 12,000 years ago had died of violence...Lawrence H. Keeley, a professor at the University of Illinois, says that approximately 9095% of known societies throughout history engaged in at least occasional warfare,[13] and many fought constantly."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.2 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2012
You sound EXACTLY the way you picture the people you want to destroy. Scary.
No I dont. Youre a closet religionist - peace and love will conquer all.
Yes. And every time it was wrong.
No, EVERY TIME the world got a little safer and a little more stable. Western culture was able to reach a growth rate in keeping with its ability to support itself only BECAUSE those wars happened the way they did.

One need only consider the many possible alternatives to realize this. War in every case was INEVITABLE. Without war there would still have been war. Delaying them would only have made them WORSE.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2012
that is perverse.
Throughout the history of religion people were compelled to reproduce beyond the carrying capacity of their environment. This was done so that these cultures could resist incursion by others. It was done because it was realized that order must be maintained and spread by force. Chaos is the tendency in agrarian cultures where a small group of communal farmers can sustain a much larger populace, who find they have nothing to occupy all their free time but reproducing and fighting about it.

Cultures which could not outgrow and outfight their neighbors would eventually be overrun by marauders. THIS is what forged modern religion. The ones which were best at protecting themselves and conquering their enemies, were the ones which SURVIVED.

They are still with us today. Their 1000 year old mores are still operative and they are ALL STILL trying to conquer the world. THIS IS PERVERSE. War is perverse. But as losing is NOT an option, all of war is thus Deception.
infinite_energy
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2012
The end game of war is peace isn't it? Laws should punish and deter crimes but each and every day the news are full of dead murdered people. One of the constants seems to be murder. Humans will kill humans for many centuries to come. Governments kill people at their discretion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2012
The end game of war is peace isn't it? Laws should punish and deter crimes but each and every day the news are full of dead murdered people. One of the constants seems to be murder. Humans will kill humans for many centuries to come. Governments kill people at their discretion.
The greatest social 'crime' is reproducing beyond your means. This results in starvation, deprivation, suffering, decay, instability, conflict, chaos. The greatest criminals are those who compel others to do this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2012
The end game of war is peace isn't it?
Vietnam was a region which saw unending conflict throughout its history. This was due to chronic overgrowth, aided and abetted by the religions ensconced there.

The US fought a 15 year war which reduced the populations and started to end these cultures by introducing the people to western life. Then the communists were given reign to complete this cultural destruction. This enabled, among other things, the introduction of family planning and ABORTION to limit growth. This could not have occurred without this war having been fought, and the totalitarian occupation to follow.

Today vietnam is a prosperous and responsible member of the community of nations. It is stable and peaceful. The same thing happened in russia and china and europe and elsewhere, with variation, around the globe.

This is victory in anyones book I think.
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
Vietnam was... there.

You are wrong. VN has been pushed into 4 major defensive wars against Chinese invasion. China has always been under population and resources pressures, had to try to expand. Religion has nothing to do with them. Using Buddhism to exhort war is moronic, to say the least!
The US fought a 15 year war..to western life

Yeah, stupid Vietnamese had to be brought up to speed with modern life of cannon shots by the French, and bombs by the US. Colonialism and global anti-commie chess games on human lives had nothing to do with it. They were stupid enough in ditching 2000-long years of dependence on Chinese writing for Roman alphabets in 50 years to quickly educate the masses, and equally stupid in using SAMs, assault weapons and recycled battle strategies with China to kick the US's asses, as with EVERY invaders before. So what if they lost 3 mil, the US 58,000? Guess who had to get the hell out? and who haven't learn since?
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
Cont.
Commies or not, every Vietnamese alive knows the costs of bloody 2000-odd years of foreign invasions and interference. Every regime in power knows they won't be there for long, without the cultural core identity that has resisted the Chinese giant for all the history. Traditions that were suppressed or neglected during the wars were restored and honored again, because it is what defines Vietnamese. So the cultural destruction is so much ignorance bullshit. Even hardcore commies has always been lighting incense and pay their respects at their ancestors' and loved ones' graves as everyone did since time immemorial. Moving with the times, population pressures and diminishing resources are natural catalysts for changes. Family planing is a necessity, commies or not, in a crowded land of 332,000km2, 85 mil and rising. It will be stupid otherwise, without the stupid religious breed-all-you-can hangups of other cultures.
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
cont.
Today Vietnam is a *relatively* prosperous country. Not surprisingly since the Commie leaders realized you can't whack Mao-style idiocy on the masses, and the core of Vietnamese culture make it utterly incompatible (Even the Chinese themselves couldn't swallow it!) No longer firing AKs, they have to actually govern and running the country! That also means managing foreign relations. As it has been said, Vietnamese are not inherently warlike people. They have always want to be left relatively alone to do their things and not pushed by ANYONE. So the crap about Vietnam being responsible and law abiding entity within the world community BECAUSE of externally-inflicted wars are so much less than even bullshit. Vietnam behave as it does, not behave solely because someone tells it to, but by live-let-live-or-otherwise-i-will-kick your-asses-back-to-where-you-come-from. Understand? Otto, please learn some VN history before you post generalizing bullshit. Thank you.
aroc91
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2012
That's obvious that a 14 y.o. brain is not as developed as someone with a 25 years old brain.


Obvious enough to not see the harm in killing somebody? Come on. You were 14 once. Did you think killing people was acceptable?
ccr5Delta32
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2012
How young is too young for life in prison?
In the interest of fairness it might be worth considering a 40 yo would be getting off comparatively much lighter for a similar crime than a 12 yo.
Back to the question , how young is too young ? , arbitrarily we might say 5 or maybe 10,11,12,,,, traditionally it was the onset of puberty that was the determinant factor for punishment including execution.
I would hope we have progressed a little since then and rather than have one blanket judgement for all one might instead consider each on it's own merits .For instance there's a qualitative difference in say one kid caught up in gang culture and killing some perceived rivals ,not entirely unlike child solders .It is after all their only reality . Through the spectrum of psychosis induced rage ,stupidity , ,,, and to genuine sociopaths that never realized the career opportunity's on wall street
kochevnik
1 / 5 (4) Mar 25, 2012
Hint: 9/11 was the result of an invasion.
How so? All the "hijackers" save one had alibis or were abroad at the time. Two of the four flights on 9/11 were not even scheduled to fly that day. An Israeli company oversaw all security of the four flights: The same company that let the underwear and Lockerbie bombers slide.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
Understand? Otto, please learn some VN history before you post generalizing bullshit. Thank you.
First off, bite me. Then, look up vietnam and see how little you know. You are a respectable sieve for standard propaganda.

"The history of Vietnam is one of the longest continuous histories in the world, with the oldest archaeological findings showing that people have been living there as far back as over a half million years ago. Ancient Vietnam was home to some of the world's earliest civilizations, with a cultural history of over 20,000 years - making them one of the world's first peoples who practiced agriculture."

-Agriculture. Your first clue.

"Once Vietnam did succumb to foreign rule, however, it proved unable to escape from it, and for 1,100 years, Vietnam had been successively governed by a series of foreign powers: the Hans, Eastern Hans" etc etc
cont
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
"At various points during these 1,000 years of imperial dynasties, Vietnam was ravaged and divided by civil wars and repeatedly attacked by the Songs, Mongol Yuans, Chams, Mings, Dutch, Manchus, French, and the Americans."

-So we can see that the region was under constant turmoil from unrest and invasion.
every Vietnamese alive knows the costs of bloody 2000-odd years of foreign invasions and interference.
But like you they have never known WHY.
Traditions that were suppressed or neglected during the wars were restored and honored again, because it is what defines Vietnamese.
So? We have st patricks day. The cultures which would have resisted capitalism and family planning, are in the Process of being Mitigated. Nullified.

What defines vietnam, from examining its history, is a state of constant misery; the consequence of chronic overpopulation throughout the region. Because of the combined efforts of BOTH communists and capitalists, this ruinous cycle can at last END.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Mar 25, 2012
As it has been said, Vietnamese are not inherently warlike people. They have always want to be left relatively alone to do their things and not pushed by ANYONE.
While reviewing vietnamese history please read about the brutal dynastic rulers, warlords, and rebellion which also defines vietnam.
So the crap about Vietnam being responsible and law abiding entity within the world community BECAUSE of externally-inflicted wars are so much less than even bullshit.
The vietnamese are no different from anyone else. The advent of agriculture IMMEDIATELY lead to crisis conditions throughout the world. Populations always grew far faster than their ability to feed themselves. Exploding populations needed to conquer or suffer conquest. Starving people invariably blamed their rulers for their misery. War and revolution were ALWAYS the result.

Religions enabled the Organization and Management of ever-larger populations, but up until now there has been no way to escape the Cycle.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Mar 25, 2012
So what if they lost 3 mil, the US 58,000? Guess who had to get the hell out? and who haven't learn since?
Just to be clear; we won that war. We did everything that we intended to do, and when we were done, we got the hell out.

And what better way to show the world how well democracy works, than to have the american people rise up and demand it? Baaaaah said the herd of domesticated animals. Bleet bleet. And then the commies moved in tag team-style to complete the job.

VICTORY. This is how the world is won.
Mastoras
5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2012
It is quite disheartening to see how much outrageous can be the social and political opinions of people that may otherwise have a good knowledge of science.

It is outrageous that people are actually presenting arguments in favor of putting kids to life imprisonent.

It is outrageous that there are people openly saying that the bloody invasion and war against Vietnam helped it progress!!
-.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Mar 26, 2012
So what if they lost 3 mil, the US 58,000? Guess who had to get the hell out? and who haven't learn since?
Just to be clear; we won that war. We did everything that we intended to do, and when we were done, we got the hell out.

And what better way to show the world how well democracy works, than to have the american people rise up and demand it? Baaaaah said the herd of domesticated animals. Bleet bleet. And then the commies moved in tag team-style to complete the job.

VICTORY. This is how the world is won.
'And get on our knees and praaay... we don't get fooled again.'

-The more informative stanza of that song: 'Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.' Only one Boss in this world. No it's not god. Something very Real.
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 26, 2012
..look up vietnam and see how little you know..

Sure, Herr Otto. I was there, certainly i know it more intimately than you.
This discussion is straying from the article, so this will be my final response on it. According to you, the US won. Yeah.Preventing commie domino in SEA: Utterly Failed. Engineered a "democratic,free" South Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan:Utterly Failed. Broke the people spirit and change the cultures: Utterly Failed. Wreck the country: Passing With Honors. All told costs:~50s of billions for not much to crow about, and presently considering negotiation with the so-much-despised-and-condemned-terrorist-Taliban to save face and to get the hell out?
Yeah, if wrecking someone's else place is a contest, the US always win with flying colors. And they are so innovative with their murderous tools too-good for when selling hardware-with "battle-tested" stickers. Pity they are always so sloppy and messy. Tidiness and finesses must be beyond them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2012
Comrade skepticus
Yeah, if wrecking someone's else place is a contest, the US always win with flying colors.
By your own admission the 'place' had been continuously, cyclically wrecked for millenia. This would have happened again whether we had been there or not. Religion-mandated overpopulation makes it INEVITABLE.

Your opinions were formed back in the 1970s and you have not revised them in light of subsequent developments; ie vietnam is prosperous and stable... and free. Soviet communism collapsed. South korea, japan, taiwan, china, germany... smells like... victory.

Middle east - work in progress. These Things take time. Generations. You should have a little patience. Try to gain a little perspective. See the bigger Picture.

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