He committed his first murder at nine years old. He did not look back.
Four years and eight murders later, here he stood in front of a judge. A thirteen year old convicted of mass murder. The judge now considering whether or not the death penalty should be sought after in this case. It would be unprecedented, but it just might be appropriate.
The boy showed no remorse. He readily admitted guilt for each and every murder he was convicted of. He recounted each murder as if he were proud and added that there might be a few that he forgot about. Drive by here, execution style there, he even admitted that he would kill again if given the chance. The whole time there was not a single twitch in his stone face. Where was his humanity? What had he become?
One of the most heated debates I have ever witnessed was centered around this case. A group of friends and I were discussing this and we soon found ourselves split right down the middle on this issue.
Should a 13 year old who murdered at least nine people in cold blood be given the death penalty?
One side was firmly against putting this boy to death. Many on this side of the fence were against the death penalty in general, while others felt as if the boy still had a chance to be rehabilitated.
The other half was all for the death penalty in this case. The boy didn’t kill one person, or two people, or even three. He killed nine people. He did not stop killing. He showed no remorse after the fact and he admitted that he would kill again.
Now to me this question is a matter of nurture versus nature. Is this boy the way he is because of a lack of nurturing, or is it inherently in his nature to be this way?
He was born on the South Side of Chicago. He was a crack baby. He had no father and his mother was a junkie. In effect he was raised by the South Side Bloods, the gang he would later become a part of. As a result he grew up around violence. You can certainly make the argument that it was bred into him.
Then again, what is it in us that makes it sometimes possible to overcome impossible odds like these? What is it that makes us feel remorse after seeing the consequences of our actions? Is it possible to be born without it? Is it possible to be born without a conscience? To be born evil?
I think if you lean more towards the nurture side in this case, you are more likely to be against the death penalty. If you are more on the side of nature, you might be in favor of it.
So which is it for you? Nurture or nature?