An 8-year-old is being charged with first degree murder. Do you think that finally even the most adamant capital punishment proponents will admit to mitigating circumstances? Where the mental insanity of the criminal doesn't budge, where the abusive childhood doesn't phase, can we expect the age of this defendant to finally soften those hard hearts?
CNN reports on this horrible incident which took place in Arizona.
It's a crime that police officers in a small eastern Arizona community can hardly fathom yet have to deal with: an 8-year-old charged in the fatal shootings of his father and another man.
On Friday, a judge determined there was probable cause to show that the boy fatally shot his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39, of San Carlos with a .22-caliber rifle. The boy faces two counts of premeditated murder.
FBI statistics show instances of children younger than 11 committing homicides are very rare. According to recent FBI supplementary homicide reports, there were at least three such cases each year in 2003, 2004 and 2005; there were at least 15 in 2002. More recent statistics weren't available, nor were details of the cases.
On The Gun Guys blog, which I'm going to have to visit more often since they seem to share some of my own feelings, there's this comment which I might have written myself.
Unfortunately, the AP story did not give any details about the rifle itself, who owned it, what make and model, and more importantly, how an 8-year-old boy was able to gain access to it.
The availability of guns, once again seems to be an issue here. In spite of the passionate denials on the part of some of our commenters, I continue to be unconvinced. What is their defense, that there are a million gazillion guns out there and the tragic incidents are rare? Is it that guns in the hands of responsible people do more good than the harm done by the irresponsible? Or have I missed something?
The other issue in this story is, of course, the death penalty. I don't imagine that the blood thirstiest of capital punishment lovers would want the death penalty in a case like this. But what about the 12-year-old? Where do we draw the line with age? I admit it's a tough call. And what about the abusive childhood like Skyler had and so many others? Does that count for nothing?
What's your opinion? About gun availability, I honestly don't know. About capital punishment, I'm against it.