Pity Milwaukee. First there was Jeffrey Dahmer, then Bud Selig, now the Children of the Corn. Charlie Young was taken off life support last Tuesday after being beaten by a group of kids. An egg thrown by one of the boys hit Young. Young responded by punching another boy in the face, knocking out a tooth. This led to Young being beaten by a group of boys that numbered as many as 16.
I don’t care how old these kids are (most reports I saw said they ranged from 10 – 16), they’re criminals. They need to go to jail. Most of these kids already had prior records for things like cocaine possession and possession of a 9 mm. They savagely beat a man with whatever they could find and encouraged others to do the same. One kid said that he held Young in the Crippler Cross Face (familiar to wrestling fans) so others could beat him.
These kids are dangerous. They’re not even legal adults, but they’ve committed more crimes than most people ever will. At such a young age, they’ve given us a good argument to take them off the streets for the rest of their lives. We can list all the possible causes of their behavior until we’re blue in the face, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re murderers.
Yes, these kids are poor. Yes, they have unreasonable home lives (one 14-year-old is already a father), but there are plenty of kids in similar situations who do not commit murder.
You’re probably thinking I just want these kids warehoused for the rest of their lives. That’s not true. I want these kids warehoused until they’re too old to swing poles, shovels and 2x4s.
Artieas Shanks said he engaged in the beating because he wanted Young “to feel some pain.” Shanks says he only hit Young once with a broomstick before (and I’m not making this up) his mother called him home. Shanks’ mother says he knows what he did was wrong. As long as he knows, then he should have no compunction about paying for it.
One of the mothers of a 13-year-old suspect said, “Don’t take a baby away. He hasn’t seen even half of his life.” First of all, if you were keeping better track of your son, he might not even be in this situation. Second of all, this baby participated in something most adults are too squeamish to even hear about.
These kids should consider themselves lucky they’re not charged with murder. According to CNN, they’re charged with second-degree reckless homicide. They deserve at least second-degree murder.
As sad as this is, I think these kids are just lost causes. If I were the prosecutor in this case, I would not accept plea bargains.
I’ll definitely be interested to see exactly how much time these kids spend in prison. And that means prison, not a juvenile facility. They committed a truly adult crime; they can consort with adult criminals. Plus they have prior records, so I doubt a juvenile facility will make an impact.
It is sad to say that teenagers should be locked away for a long time. But there’s simply no alternative in this case.
Crossing the line to murder at such a young age is also sad, but I really doubt that these kids will get any better.
Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in English.firstname.lastname@example.org