Not Engaged Yet

Am I being too Harsh? (Long)

Morning Ladies,

This morning I was watching the news and they were discussing the death of a police officer in Ontario. Earlier this week a police officer made a routine traffic stop, discovered that none of the occupants in the vehicle were the owner of the vehicle. Somehow the vehicle moved forward dragging the officer and proceeded to roll pinning the officer underneath.

The officer would have been 33 this weekend and leaves behind a wife, a 2 year old daughter and a 9 week old son.

The driver was a 15 year old who had gone for a joy ride. This morning it was revealed that there is a chance that he/she will be a quadriplegic due to their injuries in the roll over.

On the news discussion they were talking about how this person is now charged with first degree murder (I believe, possibly manslaughter) and will go through the legal system as a young offender. Also that the sentence could be upgraded to that of an adult. As a youth they face 10 years, with 6 in prison and as an adult they would face life in prison. They also said that the injuries facing this individual would have an impact on the judge's deliberation.

It is a tragedy in so many ways. However, this person chose to "borrow" a car and drive without a license. Who knows how dangerous their driving was, likely dangerous enough that the officer pulled them over. When you are stopped by police, you typically put your car in park, so this person also chose to put the car into gear and try to evade police. This person also chose not to stop while dragging the officer for 300 metres prior to the rollover. They made a lot of bad decisions that lead to this person's death and the whole thing was preventable. At any point a change in their decision would have changed the entire outcome of events.

I feel like I'm being too harsh on this kid. After all, they are only 15, but I can't help but think about the 2 year old and 9 week old that will never know their father.

Am I being too harsh when I don't think it is right that this person's injuries should have an impact on their sentence?

Re: Am I being too Harsh? (Long)

  • peekaboo2011peekaboo2011 Washington, DC member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Absolutely not.  I'm all for life in prison in that case.  Law enforcement is near and dear to my heart though, and I know that when I was working for them, if someone had hurt one of our guys, I would have been hard pressed to not kill them myself.

    Honestly, I try to not be too harsh, but I find that there are cases where it's impossible to not be that way.  IE - FI doesn't believe in the death penalty in any case.  My philosophy?  If you hurt a child, you don't deserve to live.  Maybe it's from growing up in a very conservative household, but it is what it is.  So, going back to your original question, no, I don't think you're being too harsh.
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  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Okay, as long as I'm not really out there.  I feel like they should be sentenced as an adult and that their injuries should have no influence.

    I grew up respecting police and have no reason not to. Sure they do things wrong occassionally and there maybe the occassional bad cop. However, I don't think that should overshadow the fact that these people are putting their lives on the line everyday for society.

    I didn't realize that this was not a common perception until last year when an Ottawa police officer was stabbed to death on duty outside of an ER while completing paperwork. My roommate at the time didn't think the huge memorial service held was appropriate because he was a police officer. That blew me away.
  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    It really shocked me because he was a very privileged individual and would have had no negative encounters. I think it mainly came from how the police self discipline, he didn't like that and felt they were above the law.

    Since then I never know how people will respond when an officer is killed.
  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hazel, which article did you read that said his injuries could have an impact? I haven't seen that yet, and TBH I'm not sure a judge would really take that into account except for possible where he served out his sentence if convicted.

    And yes, he has been charged with first-degree murder. It'll be interesting to see how this case pans out.

    We actually had a similar case finish here last week (sentencing was finally given out).

  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    I'm really really torn when it comes to stuff like this.  One the one hand, I don't know how I feel about sending this 15 year old to prison for the rest of his life. Yes, he made a mistake & yes, a man -- a police officer -- was killed & his children are going to grow up without a father because of that mistake. But he is so so young & I just really don't know if I could send him to prison for the rest of his life, I can't put it into words I guess, I just feel like a few years, being tried as a child or something, he would be better off.  On the other hand, if that was my father or husband or brother, I would do everything in my power to make sure he goes to prison for the rest of his life.  I make no sense, I know. I guess I'm just glad I don't have to make that decision. 



  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Bren - They said it on the news this morning on CTV, or their "expert" did. I understand the part about where to serve the sentence, but all he said was that it would have an impact. Maybe I was wrong to take that it would affect whether they were sentenced as an adult or youth and the length. TBH, that's why it was bothering me because thy question posed by the woman from CTV  and the response from their expert made no sense to me at all.
  • lunarsongbirdlunarsongbird member
    2500 Comments Second Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Like Peek- Law enforcement is also near and dear to my heart.
    My father was with a sherrif's department for 30 years.

    I have serious issues with people who harm/injure/kill the men and women that protect us and our homes- including police officers, military personnel and firefighters.

    People should have to take responsibility for their actions- 15 or not. At 15- you know the difference between right and wrong- life and death.

    Oy vay...this is such a touchy subject.
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  • cu97tigercu97tiger member
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    edited December 2011
    I don't think you're too harsh, even though I have a different opinion. While this boy (yes, BOY) made some really bad decisions, I try to imagine if I had taken my parents car without asking before I knew how to drive, and then gotten pulled over by police, would I have had the presence of mind to put the car in park? I am totally freaked out when I get pulled over NOW, so I can see how I could forget to do that if I was underage and knowing I was going to get in trouble.

    However, I think the testimony of the other boys in the car would help a lot to know whether the driver was willfully hurting the officer or just in panic mode. Regardless, I cannot imagine the grief of the man's family, and I feel terrible for his children.

    Peek - I don't believe in the death penalty in any case, either. I fully understand why people DO, but to me, it feels like we're playing God. We're saying 'you did xyz, you don't deserve to live' and I feel like that's not our call. If they killed another man, for instance, then what makes us any better than them by killing the murderer? By the way, my viewpoint got me kicked off a capital murder jury in Virginia years ago... Funny thing was I never knew how vehement I was about it until the lawyers were questioning me!!
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  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Rdr - I know exactly how you feel, that is why I feel like I'm being too harsh. Although I do think it is important for youth to see how innocent fun can be really dangerous and you have to pay the consequences. Also, I grew up in a rural area and got into all sorts of trouble that could have turned out a lot worse. I just can't help but wonder if what happened to this kid could somehow have a beneficial impact on other kids.  
  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hmm, I'll be keeping an eye out for more info about that Hazel.

    I'm really curious about what evidence will be given in this case. He's been charged with first degree, so I want to know how that's going to be backed up.

    We don't have the death penalty in Canada, and I've never felt the desire to have it reinstated. I don't like the idea of people who've committed awful crimes living off taxpayer money but mistakes are still made in the legal system to do something so permanent IMO.

    My opinion might change depending on what information comes to light during the trial (assuming there is one). I try not to make too many judgements just by reading the newspaper before anything has really happened, because I think that can get ugly fast.

  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Tiger - Very good point about putting in park. Growing up in a rural area and learning to drive a tractor young, that was an automatic thing for me. I guess I still have issues with the fact that you'd have to hit the gas to drag someone. Sigh, the whole thing is awful.
  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Bren - Exactly! I don't know how they are charged with first degree, unless they are aiming high and hoping for vehicular manslaughter. Still, they'd have to have evidence to charge them with first degree in the first place. it's because of that that my sympathy starts to deteriorate. I think it depends entirely on the occupants of the vehicle and their conversations. Otherwise I don't understand the first degree charge.
  • edited December 2011
    Frankly, the 15 year old's disabilities should have just further indicated to him that he was not in a position to safely drive a vehicle, which increased the risk of him seriously injuring or killing someone.

    So no, I don't think you're being too harsh.
  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_am-being-harsh-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:f9ac106c-0c82-4cf6-b78f-0aa8b96b2296Post:853c6888-cb5b-44f7-9847-d7a94aa590b6">Re: Am I being too Harsh? (Long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Rdr - I know exactly how you feel, that is why I feel like I'm being too harsh. Although I do think it is important for youth to see how innocent fun can be really dangerous and you have to pay the consequences. Also, I grew up in a rural area and got into all sorts of trouble that could have turned out a lot worse. I just can't help but wonder if what happened to this kid could somehow have a beneficial impact on other kids.  
    Posted by Hazel_B[/QUOTE]

    <div>If I had to guess, I would say this situation scared those other kids straight. Of course I could be wrong but if I was on a destructive path like that, & this happened, I'd be a goodie too-shoes (sp?) after that.  </div>



  • PaigeMcCPaigeMcC member
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I don't think you're being harsh BUT I will be waiting to see what evidence is presented before I make a decision.  He killed someone, so the punishment needs to be harsh either way.  But again, he is a young kid and if there is a chance at rehabilitation should we take away his entire future? 

    Ugh, why do people do such stupid, awful things....everyone just be nice to eachother.

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  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Couldn't agree more Paige.

    I guess I just want something positive to come out of an awful situation. For example, if this person was charged and sentenced as a young offender but was willing to speak with young people about reckless driving, peer pressure, and whaever else may apply then I see something positive there. However, as a young offender things wouldn't be public.
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