What To Do With Killer Kid

The Sun-Sentinel's home page leads with a question:

"Tough choice: Should boy, 12, face prison in murder?"

Tough, you say? Let's see, the kid beat a 17-month-old girl to death with a baseball bat because she was crying when he was watching TV. Then he lied about what happened to dispatchers.

Should he go to prison? Hell yes, and I'll venture that it wouldn't bother the vast majority of the population one bit if the kid went away for the rest of his life.

The Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald are both tiptoeing around this story like this was just some childish mistake. Neither newspaper is identifying the killer, protecting his privacy at the expense of the public, which should know who he is. They're comparing him to Lionel Tate, who killed a girl while he was playing with her, a far cry from beating a child to death to shut them up.

I have a 12-year-old son myself, so I'm aware that children of that age can be immature. And the kid shouldn't have been left with a toddler. But they know right from wrong (as did the killer, evidenced by his lies) and the heinous nature of the crime shows this kid obviously has some deep-seated problems that aren't going to go away anytime soon. Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo raises the question of creating a punitive middle ground for children who commit heinous offenses. He basically argues that the kid obviously shouldn't go free when he's 18 but also shouldn't be put in prison for life.

Thirty years seems about right to me. But given a choice between the two extremes, I'm going for the latter. And it's not that tough choice at all.

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