Death Penalty for Future Criminals?

The abortion/crime study is fatally flawed
1999-08-12

I found an interesting little contradiction in the paper today. First I read an article about this study out of the University of Chicago and Stanford University, speculating that increased abortion rates have actually led to a decrease in the crime rate, presumably by killing the little killers before they get a chance to kill. And then, in the very same paper, I read that while the overall murder rate is down significantly, the number of murders committed by teenagers has jumped an alarming 300% since 1980.Hmm. Where is the real cause and effect here?

A 300% spike in a violent crime like murder is an alarming demographic -- especially among youth. I'm not usually one to pin trends like this big on any one single cause, but I think anyone with a brain can see a certain correlation between Roe vs. Wade and the current teen crime spree. We've been killing unborn children for the past 26 years, among whom were presumably today's sociopaths. But apparently among their surviving peers there are been far too many willing to pick up the job themselves. Children born in 1973, the year Roe vs. Wade was decided, turned 7 in 1980. They became teenagers in 1986. They are the beginning of the 300% increase.

What happened to so many of these children? They are products of their era, pure and simple. They have never known a society where abortion was illegal. Many of them were raised to believe that a mother's difficulty (or inconvenience, as the case may be) justified the taking of a human life. If "the timing wasn't right" or if she faced financial, emotional or situational difficulties, sthe child was expendible. Worse yet, the lives being take were those of their brothers, their sisters, their peers. Do we really expect kids growing up like that to have respect for the dignity of human life? Or will they merely respect "convenience"?

But there's more. The argument is that "unwanted" children are the ones who grow up to be criminals. But, in a society where the "unwanted" have supposedly been eliminated before they ever saw the light of day, the children remaining are growing up criminal at a three-fold rate. So much for "wantedness" as a deterrent to crime. The question remains -- what have done with those "wanted" children? We've dropped them into daycare at record rates, we've blown their families apart with rampant promiscuity and easy divorces -- all products of a culture of "convenience." Just because a child is initially wanted doesn't mean he'll always be convenient once he arrives. And if he's not, he'll pay the price. He's "expendible" in other ways.

Interestingly enough, 90% of the teen murders of the last two decades have been committed by teenaged boys. Why? Because little boys have a particularly strong need to be socialized. They have a desperate need to be formed, to be molded. All of that strength and energy and aggression has to be channeled into positive outlets. That takes time. It takes patience.

And it takes parents -- preferably a mother and a father committed to seeing their development through whether "convenient" or not. A daycare provider is no substitute.

Certainly, that 300% figure should not be used to indict this generation of teenagers as a whole. As I've written before, I have met and worked with lieterally thousands of truly exceptional, amazing young people. These teens, I believe, are a testament to what dedicated parents -- and dedicated single parents -- can do despite the obstacles prersented by the prevailing culture. They are not results of the culture itself.

Of course, at it's root, the most important point is that, decrease in crime or no, we don't prevent crime by killing the presumed criminals before they're born. "Guilty until proven innocent" is twisted in a most perverse way when we administer the death penalty a decade or two or three before the "suspect" even has an opportunity to commit the crime. No, we prevent crime in a number of ways. First and foremost is by molding our children to grow into adults of high moral character; adults who recognize the dignity of the human person, and are driven by respect for that dignity, not by the pursuit of personal gratification at all costs.

A "death before inconvenience" culture isn't going to help.

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