I recently wrote a college essay in which I advocated reform of laws to advocate... well, reform, rather than punishment. I believe that individuals are shaped by the environments they are exposed to. However, this story made me think:
In a small town, there were three families. In two of them, there were two young boys, nine and ten years old. Both were active in school and very good dancers. They were curious. In fact, too curious.
The other family was the priest, his wife, and their small daughter, four years old. One of the mothers of the boys hated the priest's family and probably passed these feelings on to her son. In any case, the two boys were playing with the girl after church one day. They had walked far away from the building when sick curiosity struck them. They wanted to know what the entrails of a human being looked like.
The girl was found the next morning, still alive. There were sticks poked into her body and she was bleeding all over. The boys beat her and tore her apart with any objects they could find. However, they did not kill her, and eventually left, had dinner and went to bed. Eventually, the girl died, after much suffering.
One could argue that the boys are not responsible for their crimes. They were just children after all. This is the theory that the law agreed with. They were sent off to a reform school, along with liars, thieves, and vandalists.
However, is there an age for crime? I still believe in reform over punishment- it is simply more successful. We cannot be arrogant enough to play God, or Nitzche's uber-man. Death is not for us to decide, however, punishment is. But how does one deal with crimes of this nature? This, after all, is a four year old child, martyred for no cause.
I probably have no readers yet, but when I do... let's hear some opinions.