When you look at the topic at hand, it is obvious that this is a very heated subject, and rightfully so. Children are one of the truly fragile entities in our society and deserve our protection. They are somewhat like animals, in that they have the potential to be victimized repeatedly, and have very little ability at a young age to fight back against their abuser.
In answering the question of whether child offenders should be put to death, I think it is important to look at the crime at hand. Let me first say that I believe any crime against a defenseless child is unacceptable. However, whether you are dealing with adults or children, there are certain crimes that are more gruesome than others.
And this I feel, should be the first element examined when you consider whether or not to put the offender to death.
Of primary concern on the matrix of child offenders, are those who not only molest children, but kill them as well. Being a proponent of the death penalty, I can’t think of many circumstances where it should not be applied to a child murderer. In my mind this is crystal clear. The real argument lies in circumstances where the offender molests the child on a one time basis or repeatedly.
Child molestation is a heinous crime. It changes everything about how a child copes with life in general, and it has a huge impact on their self worth. The world is full of children who blame themselves for their demise, and it’s only the manipulation of the offender, and often times lack of a solid support system that make this a reality. Hence, it becomes the job of our judicial system to go to bat for these kids. While I believe that our courts have the best of intentions toward cases like this, the system as we know it has faults like anything else. Consequently, society is home to repeat offenders who either have not been caught, or do limited time in jail and are “rehabilitated”. While my outlook on this may seem somewhat cynical, I have witnessed it first hand through my career.
This brings up the question, “Can child sexual offenders be rehabilitated?” I do not believe that they can. To truly understand the scope of sex offenders, you have to realize that the behavior rests within their mind, and not within the body. This is why such measures as chemical castration, etc. have not been that effective. The mind is a complex animal and sexual disfunction is a byproduct of a warped personality. Many mood altering drugs exist in today’s market, however when it comes to changing one’s personality, it takes more than a quick fix medication. In many cases it is next to impossible, as personality disfunctions are the among the hardest of illnesses to diagnose and repair. The bottom line is that child sex offenders rarely “get well” and when they feel that they are about to be caught, they simply change the behavior and find a new way to offend.
I recognize that many people feel that sex offenders should be put to death. I an not necessarily going to disagree with those who believe this. And when you stop to consider that some offenders may escalate their twisted behavior over time, molesting for years before finally killing their victims, it makes for a strong argument that perhaps death is the only solution. In playing devil’s advocate, it can have a huge impact on the child’s own family, as most offenders are intra familial, or close friends of the family. This is often how the trust is gained and the ability to molest materializes.
For me, I stand strong on my belief that child murderers should be disposed of. And when you look at the multitude of repeat offenders that walk and work daily in our society, you can make a strong argument that maybe, just maybe this is the only true solution for them as well.