Dysfunction makes a barefoot bandit
December 7, 2010 · Updated 2:32 PM
If you have seen the history of Colton Harris-Moore, is it any wonder that he ended up barefoot and that he ended up a bandit? With beginnings such as his, there are few options. It all starts with dysfunctional families and dysfunctional children who have needs that go unrecognized. Parents often need help with their drug/alcohol problems; their lifestyle choices that lead to abusive behavior. Most delinquent children are trying to say that they are emotionally malnourished and need attention. They need to know that someone cares. Their unacceptable behavior can usually be interpreted as loud screams for attention.
I am aware of some 50 families in Snohomish County who have lost children to car wrecks, murders, suicides, and other sad circumstances. The children here have nothing. There is a lack of entertainment, recreational facilities, and after school opportunities for youth. It is an environment ripe for the celebration of criminal activity. Colton Harris-Moore is a product of this area. He has received a lot of press since he’s had a long, dramatic run but many suffer here under these bad conditions.
I was shocked to hear of the extent of crimes committed by Colton Harris-Moore. It is easy for us to want revenge and tough punishment. Studies prove that young people do not have the same cognitive abilities as adults. In recognition of the comparative immaturity and irresponsibility of juveniles, almost every state in the union prohibits those under 18 years old from voting, serving on juries, and marrying without their parent’s consent. Youths are not finished products. They can still benefit from education, counseling, training and treatment.
Crime must be punished but we should temper justice with mercy. Life without parole should be eliminated for the very young. They deserve a “second look” and even a “third look.” We are a throw-away society ... but these are children.