10/12/2005

A Loaded God-Complex

Bonus points to anyone who knows where that title comes from.

Anyway I was driving home from lunch listening to talk radio when I heard some news piece put out by some kind of Jewish organization whose name I can't recall, about minors in prison serving life sentences. Of course the statistics were compiled by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, organizations with good intentions that I think tend to go overboard. (I think they were way off on the whole Gitmo thing.) But the stats caught my interest. In the United States there are currently 2,225 youths under the age of 18 serving life sentences. I'm not sure if that means there is no hope for parole or what. In the entire rest of the world, they were able to find 12 other such convicts under 18.

In the U.S. 56% of those lifers under 18 had no prior criminal records. And 26% of those were in for felony murder, where they were not the actual trigger person in a murder. Ya know, like they participated in an armed robbery where someone ended up dead. 8 states specifically prohibit giving life sentences to minors, and recently a ban on capital punishment for minors came to the conclusion that minors are catagorically less culpable than adults. (Say that 10 times fast.) That should obviously apply to life sentences too then, shouldn't it? In a corrections system where felons go in for stealing cars to support their drug habit and come out hardened murders, should kids be forced to pay for their mistakes with a life behind bars?

9 comments:

Alisa said...

You learn the difference between right and wrong at a very early age (hopefully).

I think that if you commit a very adult crime such as murder, then you are just as culpable as someone over the age of 18. (I do not necessarily support a death sentence).

I don't blame the child for the crime 100 percent either. I do lay a strong portion of the blame at the parents feet and feel that if their child doesn't know the difference between right and wrong, that the parents are just as culpable as the minor and should be justly punished as well for creating an environment in which it is "justified" for a minor to commit a heinous act.

Bill said...

How would you have a judge handle it if, God forbid, the crime was committed by your own child?

upyoursdarling said...

Your title comes from the song "Sugar, we're goin' down" by Fall Out Boy.

upyoursdarling said...

You may email my bonus points!

Mainline Mom said...

I could only email you your bonus points if you left your email address, which you didn't.

Anonymous said...

what does "a loaded god-complex" mean?...ive always wondered. some people say that the lyrics are "a loaded gun complex".

Mainline Mom said...

Kinda hard to explain, as are most good song lyrics. A God-complex is what someone has when they think they are like God, that they are all-powerful, immortal, etc. Surgens are often said to have God-complexes. The song uses the metaphor of a God-complex being dangerous as a gun, loaded and ready to inflict damage. I checked the lyrics online several places and they assure me it's god-complex.

Carrie said...

We had a huge debate in our English 101 class about what a god complex was. Some other idiot thought it was 'loaded gun complex' even after every site we showed him said god. But it does make sense that someone like a surgeon would have it. Where did you find that at?

And responding to Alisa, what if a parent does everything they can for that child and the child is still wild? That shouldnt be the parents fault if they are out of options. i think that children are more susceptible to peer pressure to do things like that and shouldnt be punished as harshly as forfeiting thier lives in prison or even death.

Mainline Mom said...

Saying someone has a "god-complex" is a fairly common descriptor. Surgeons, namely, because they often feel like they hold life and death in their hands. A friend of mine went sky-diving once and developed a bit of a "god-complex". He decided that if he could jump out of a plane and survive, he must be immortal and all-powerful. He was just an idiot. There's a movie called Playing God with David Duchovny that is a perfect example.

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