Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 14, 2014

CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — There is a little too much focus, most of it melodramatic in nature, on the supposed plight of these lawbreakers. What about the victims of their crimes?

There are approximately 50,000 arrests of 16- and 17-year olds in New York State annually. Think about that: 50,000 arrests. That’s for crimes for which they were caught — meaning there are countless multiples of those 50,000 affected by the actions of these teens who were arrested and their peers who weren’t. We aren’t talking a trivial amount of lawbreakers here.

Nor are the crimes themselves trivial in nature. These young adults commit adult crimes. They deal drugs. They burglarize homes and businesses. They assault people. They kill.

How soon we forget the three teens who just 7 years ago put the City of Niagara Falls into a frenzy when they conducted their own crime spree for kicks, robbing four, maybe five, taxi drivers and shooting two, killing one of them in the process. Or, what about the 17-year-old who, in cahoots with a 19-year-old, beat a Niagara Falls man to death with a golf club in 2010, the result of a drug deal gone bad?

Cuomo and Company would prefer to see degenerates like those have their hands slapped, live in a juvenile detention center or be returned to their families. None of those actions work. If they did, their families would have prevented them from ever even considering such abhorrent behavior in the first place.

It’s simple: If you commit adult crimes you need to face adult penalties and adult rehabilitation. At 16, you certainly know the boundaries between good and bad, legal and illegal. It’s been drilled into your mind by society — family, friends, schools, television and community – and it’s that same society to which you must answer for your transgressions.

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