And people cuss Iran for being ropey

8-year-old charged with murder in the US. Fucking skills. I mean, seriously, nobody here is even thinking ‘what the fuck, we can’t sensibly hold a fucking 8-year-old responsible for murder’ – they’re keeping the fucking kid in the county jail. Just, fuck.

And yes, I know that our age of criminal responsibility is 10, and yes, I agree that that’s to our utter shame and debasement (as demonstrated most obviously by the revolting circus of the James Bulger murder trial). But even so, fuck. If you think that criminalising children is in any way justifiable, I hope a gang of feral youths utterly murders you to death.

(and yes, I’m well aware that the people most excised about the Baby P case are precisely the ones who were cheerleading for the lynching of the kids in the Bulger case. This is because everyone excised about the Baby P case, and about the Bulger case, is a loathsome, despicable, hypocritical bastard.)

6 thoughts on “And people cuss Iran for being ropey

  1. I’m ashamed to say that the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is eight, which puts us in the enlightened company of the noted progressive wonderland of impartial justice that is Iran.

    Me, I blame the Calvinism. It’s got a lot to answer for.

  2. QuestionThat says:

    What do you think the age of criminal responsibility should be, PDF? I’m not going to comment on this new US case, but two ten-year olds who torture and murder a toddler, and try and conceal it afterwards, know fucking well what they have done is wrong. How could anything other than criminalisation to be appropriate?

    And how the hell are people exercised (not excised) about Baby P and about Jamie Bulger hypocritical? In both cases, a toddler was murdered and people want the perpetrators punished severely. Seems perfectly consistent to me. That the killers in the latter case were much younger than in the former is neither here nor there.

    Are you trying to say that Baby P is a “kid” and Jon Venables and Robert Thompson are “kids” and therefore people who wanted the latter criminalised and punished are hypocritical. If so, that’s really really fucking stupid.

  3. QuestionThat says:

    P.S Have you considered updating your blogroll? It only had 8 blogs on and 2 of those haven’t posted since 2007.

  4. PDF says:

    A ten-year-old isn’t mature enough to understand ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in any sense even vaguely commensurate with criminal responsibility. For fuck’s sake – we don’t view people as mature enough to decide which bits of themselves they can insert into other people or have other people insert themselves into until they’re 16, and that’s clearly a far less serious decision to make than ‘does this action warrant potentially spending the rest of my life in jail and acquiring a permanent criminal record’.

    In most of the rest of Europe, it’s understood that criminal responsibility goes together with adulthood, and hence ages are aligned with other measures of grown-up-ness. While I’m aware we’re different in terms of our glorious tradition of hanging children for stealing cotton rags, perhaps we should fucking stop that already?

    (on the BP / JB side of things – I’m merely pointing out that everyone in the ‘OMFG SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!’ camp, rather than the ‘sometimes people are bastards; deal with it’ camp, is – empirically – a twat. They’re Sun readers; they’re Diana mourners; they’re emotion-led imbeciles with no conception of rationality who shouldn’t be allowed to fucking vote…)

    PS… fine, yup, whatever

  5. Jim Bliss says:

    A ten-year-old isn’t mature enough to understand ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in any sense even vaguely commensurate with criminal responsibility.

    Absolutely. This is something that is consistently misunderstood by those who’ve never studied psychology. Personal morality (a phrase I’m using here in a restricted sense to mean “an adult-level understanding of right and wrong”) doesn’t just arrive ready-made on your 8th / 10th / 16th / 95th birthday. Like pretty much every aspect of the human personality (not to mention the human body) it’s something that develops over time.

    By the time a child is 5 or 6 they should — given halfway decent parenting — have a rudimentary grasp of right and wrong. However, there’s still a hell of a long way to go before those concepts have developed into anything like an adult understanding, which should be — in my view — the point at which they can be held criminally responsible for their actions.

    It’s a long way from being clear cut, though. And there will be those who develop at a faster or slower than average rate. For a bunch of reasons (which would take too long to go into here) I would personally rule out the idea that anyone develops a genuine personal morality while still pre-pubescent, and it would be the unusual individual who develops it within the first year of the onset of puberty.

    Mind you, when it comes to human development, it’s a rare rule that has no exceptions. All the same, given the near impossibility of testing for a fully developed personal morality (or even defining it in a non-controversial manner), it makes sense for the law to adopt an age at which the vast majority would be expected to have attained the status of an adult in this respect.

    I suspect that 14 would be a pretty safe bet, but would have no objection to legislation that erred on the side of caution and set 15 or even 16 as the appropriate age of criminal responsibility.

    None of this, however, should be taken to imply that a 10-year old who tortures a toddler or commits murder should be told to sit on The Naughty Step for 15 minutes before being sent to bed early. Allowing a child to effectively “get away” with heinous acts is to damn near guarantee that they will never develop a healthy personal morality. Psychopaths have development paths, just as ‘well-balanced’ individuals do and even something like torturing animals* probably requires some level of intervention (ideally by the parent, though if they are not up to the task then an external agency may be required).

    * I’d draw the line at insects, though. Pulling the legs of daddy-long-legs or zapping ants with a magnifying glass could be considered relatively normal for a young child and might even play a significant part in the process that teaches us empathy. But when a child progresses from ants to birds or mammals… well, then questions need to be asked. Is the child incapale of sensing the suffering? Or are they aware of it and taking pleasure in it? Both are worrying and require different approaches. But that’s a whole other tangent.

  6. The style of writing is very familiar . Did you write guest posts for other blogs?

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