It's very difficult for me to comprehend the mindset of the letter writers to this paper (May 5) in regard to the teens who've found themselves in trouble because of their bad decisions. What's troubling me most is the defense I've seen thus far from those whose emotional points range from the prejudiced emotional to psychological inconclusiveness.
Peggy Williams ("Community should rally to teen boys charged in felony sex case") has her pleas for clemency based on boys being boys -- I notice she omits that there was a girl involved -- and would have us, the community to which she makes her plea, imagine ourselves as judge and jury. She allows as how the boys aren't "true child molesters," they just have a "unique way of learning."
I didn't stop there, but did continue to get very ill at the imaginary world of justice she cries out for, while she ends her letter with the ironic statement that "the punishment must fit the crime."
Next, Kimberly McKie ("Teen-sex problems deeper than legal definitions; power involved") weighs in with her psychological credentials and explanations, and proceeds to tell me how appalled she is because guest columnist Tess Bell ("Who's at fault for underage teen sex?" April 25) had the gall to place blame for the incident on the females also.
McKie almost lost me when she begins her argument by saying that it's her "...understanding that the law in question was written ... because they (teens) are not capable of giving consent to sex." Of course they're capable of giving consent, Ms. McKie; that's why they're in the hot water they're in. Additionally, you're not going to sway me on any jury by telling me that kids don't have the cognitive capacity to consent to sex, and then turn right around and tell me that each kid develops at his or her own rate.
No, what seems to incense McKie the most is that someone blamed the girl, as well as the boys, and calls Bell's assertion that there ought to be the possibility of prosecuting all of them an illogical action because, in her words, that means there's no "victim and therefore no crime."
I think they all are victims, but McKie's sympathies and convoluted logic aside, legally they're all also guilty, aren't they? And when did we start allowing teens to be beyond prosecution because of their need to "individuate," or because it might "cause them psychological damage"?
The biggest problem I have with folks like the McKies and the Williams is their lack of acceptance of individual responsibility by making up their own brand of individual extenuating excuses. Golden rules are great, and so is parental instruction; we parents can't do it all, but we sure can do better than blame it on someone else.
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