Prosecute the Child
Here’s the situation. An adult leaves a loaded firearm on the kitchen table and tells a 4-year-old “Do not touch”. Say that the adult left the firearm with the safety off or it doesn’t have a safety (Yes, there are many guns produced today that do not have a safety.) The kid picks up the gun and pulls the trigger accidentally killing or maiming their little sister or themselves.
Before you say that this unrealistic, let me say that this happened to me. I was eight or nine and my father handed me a gun. Now my dad is not unfamiliar with firearms. He has his concealed carry license. He’s has a dealer’s license. He was champion skeet shooter as teenager. His father was a champion skeet shooter. He was in the US Marine Corps. There is no period of time in his life where he was not around firearms.
But this one time, he handed me a gun. I pulled the trigger and put bullet through the ceiling about six inches from his head. These events do happen, even to the most careful of firearm owners.
In all of these incidents, whom should we prosecute. Should we prosecute the child, perhaps try them as an adult for murder? Or should we prosecute the parent for a variety of crimes including child endangerment?
According to Christianity, we should prosecute the child. Not only that, but we should try the child as an adult and put them in the Guantanamo Bay where they can be tortured for for their entire lives for their crime.
Obviously, that is a stupid and immoral act.
Can an innocent child, even one told not to do something, make effective judgments on things like that? As a parent, I’ve got to say no. Just watching my own child, the understanding of cause and effect doesn’t become real for them (in the abstract thinking that we’re talking about here) until about 4 or 5. Even then, that cause and effect thinking isn’t the first thing that they do when confronted with new situations.
Children… innocents… have to be cared for. They just aren’t sophisticated enough to deal with the kinds of things that technology can provide. Our evolution hasn’t caught up with our technology (and probably never will).
The same thing happened in the Bible. Adam and Eve, created completely innocent, were told not to do something by an authority figure. Another authority figure told them to do that thing. How are they to judge this? They can’t. They are 4-year-olds.
According to the story, god put loaded gun on the table, told them not to touch it, then punished them with eternal torture and death… and all their descendants forever and ever, when they did it.
Here, in the US, we prosecute parents (sometimes) for stuff like this… not the children. And that’s as it should be. The parents screwed up, big time.
I think that the same assumption must be made about the Biblical stories of Adam and Eve. The parent, god, screwed up, big time. But instead of accepting them blame, he transferred the blame to the children.
When the US Justice system is more moral than one’s religion… one really should examine one’s religion very carefully.