This story is very sad. Details are still coming out, so it's hard to say what to think of everything, but one thing really strikes me as... well... odd. The story: A child, 8, shot and killed his father and his father's friend on Wednesday. The current report is that this was not a spur-of-the-moment thing, either, but that the child planned the attack out. There's speculation that he might have been abused, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that yet. The part that I'm currently bothered by is the fact that the police want to charge him as an adult.
An eight year old. Charged as an adult.
Now, maybe someone has some insight into this that I'm missing... but if we're at the point where we charge eight-year-olds as adults, what is the point of having a distinction? Why not just make all murder trials "as adult" then?
Because it seems to me that we, as a society, have agreed that there's an important emotional/intellectual difference between adults and children, and we've generally placed the transition at 18. Now, that's sort of arbitrary, and that's why we recognize that there's some leeway, and sometimes we see value in charging, say, a 17-year-old as an adult. But at eight, a child is less than half the age we consider an adult--still a decade away. If that's not firmly in the realm of "child", what is?
And if the argument is that we need to more harshly punish this kid for what he's done? If we don't have a serious enough punishment to fit the crime? The solution isn't to charge him as an adult, but to fix the laws that we think are broken and need to be fixed.
It seems profoundly screwed up to me that someone as young as eight is going to be charged as an adult.