The longer we delay taking responsibility for our actions, the longer it takes to become an adult. This applies not only to someone in his 50s, but someone going through puberty.
That’s why New York State’s decision to raise the age of “criminal responsibility” from 16 to 18 years is so misguided.
Over the past few decades, the state has made it more difficult for young people to buy cigarettes and beer, and that’s fine, but the state should not make it easier for older teens to be “juvenile delinquents” at the same time.
If you think that these young men and women don’t know that Raise the Age has given them a free pass, you’re wrong. When statistics show a spike in crime rates among 16- and 17-year-olds, those lawmakers who voted to raise the age of responsibility should be held accountable.
Our court system is lenient enough with first-time offenders, let alone youths who are well on their way to becoming career criminals. What ever happened to being accountable for one’s own actions?
If you aren’t old enough to be tried as an adult in our court system, then why can you drive a 4,000-pound object at 60 mph? A 16-year-old can get a junior driver’s license in this state — a privilege that comes with adult responsibilities — but if that 16-year-old commits robbery, she may or may not be charged as an adult?
Sounds preposterous to us.
One of the justifications behind the Raise the Age campaign is a fear that older inmates may “prey” on the younger ones in jail. Well, yes, that is a risk. But then, what’s really the difference between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old in that situation? All that this new law accomplishes to give the younger ones a couple more years to raise holy hell.
The solution to what ails our society is not to defer responsibility or consequences. Fear of consequences is what keeps most of us on the straight and narrow, after all. If you don’t want to end up in the “big house,” then you don’t break the law. You don’t break into that car or that house. You don’t steal that TV. You don’t put hands, or worse, on your mate, your rival, anybody. You just don’t.
Or maybe you do, when your understanding is, the highest price you’ll pay for getting caught is ... time in therapy?
So-called progressives were the head cheerleaders for the Raise the Age campaign. For those of us who are weary of the effects of crime and criminality on our neighborhoods, our communities, our lives, the removal of consequences for bad behavior is not something to cheer about. And, the more we coddle the “children,” the longer it takes for them to grow up.