I appreciate the chance to reply, but I’m not sure there’s much of a point arguing with you about it. You clearly feel quite strongly about it.


A 15-year-old is not a fully developed human in any sense.  His hormones still vary unpredictably, he has anger and impulse control issues, and the brain is still developing. A dozen papers, and longitudinal studies with MIR’s of the brain charting human development say that (you can find these everywhere, and they’re universally undisputed—NIH, CDCD, APA journals, Nature, Annuls of the NY Academy of Science… youtube “Adolescent brain development” and find everything from 2 minute clips for parents to 2 hour seminars on research findings).  The brain isn’t fully developed till between 21 and 24, which is why every country in the world (possibly excepting Uganda, for obvious reasons) has a separate juvenile system. Kids are not adults.

Secondly, you don’t invent charges. Making terrorist threats, maybe he did (it’s a stretch). But he’s not a terrorist (and if he is, what do you charge real terrorists with?). This kid didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt, he thought it would be funny. Terrorists want to hurt people, and they’re not trying to be funny. No, this kid was nowhere near being a terrorist. But charged as one, he’s not getting parole in 11 years, and when does get out, nobody’s going to hire an ex-con convicted of terrorism. He’s got no education, doesn’t get married, have kids, and comes out to a world he doesn’t understand (25 years ago nobody used a computer or cell phone. What will the world be like when he gets out?). His life is over because he wanted to prank a friend. I think that’s a touch excessive.

Third, we have more people in prison than any other country in the world. China is a totalitarian, brutal regime with 3x more people than us, and THEY have fewer people in prison. And our prisons are among the most violent in the world. They’re expensive, the people in them aren’t rehabilitated and usually come out worse. Putting 15 year olds in as terrorists doesn’t help.


Who am I to say these things? I’ve a degree in psychology. I teach history and law. I wrote a book about prisons which the Midwest Book Review called “the best book on prison life since Mailer’s ‘Inside the Belly of the Beast’”, and I spent 5 years doing nothing but talking with inmates, psychopaths, and genuinely not so nice people (I know a guy, he’s in the book—who kidnapped a baby, shoved rebar through his rectum and spit-roasted him (alive), to render his fat. If your kid gets 25 to 40, what do we give baby-roster?

Past 15 years, there’s no rehabilitative efficacy, 15 is the same as 45 in terms of making people repentant— a prisoner isn’t sorrier for his crime the more years you add past 15 (in fact they become “institutionalized”, incapable of functioning on the outside).

I know a kid, 17, got drunk, stole his dad’s rifle and took pot shots at cars, hit a school bus killing a cheerleader while her mother, on that bus, watched her die. He got 25 to 40, so what does that mean for your kid, because those two crimes aren’t the same. Read the book and tell me that there is ANY moral, ethical, or social benefit to what happens to the 17 year old.

If you’ve ever gotten behind the wheel of a car with even just one too many beers, you’ve done something that could have wiped out an entire family (maybe “almost” did). How much time should that get?

We’ve all done stupid shit, especially at that age. And while there MUST be accountability, you don’t end a child’s life over what was absolutely, irrefutably, a prank. It wasn’t terrorism, he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. There’s a lightyear between what he did and terrorism, how does he deserve the punishment for terrorism? How is that even up for debate?


Now, I’ll happily discuss this with you as much as you like. You made a number of comments (like training: yeah, I’ve trained my dog to open the door, let himself into the house, and close the door behind him. Doesn’t mean he can reason) I haven’t addressed, I will if you’d like. Send me a message in FB or reply here. But I think we can agree it’s best you not friend me and we finish publicly (it’s clear you don’t want me commenting on your posts, so best they not show up on my feed).