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03/22/2008 07:43 AM ID: 69475 Permalink   

Child-Criminals Face Life in Prison

 

Underage criminals in the US cannot receive the death penalty, but will die in prison under 'life means life' sentences. A study by the Equal Justice Initiative has found 73 people who were age 13 and 14 when they committed their crimes.

It is rare in the world to have life sentences with no chance of parole for underage offenders. There are only 12 such people outside the US who face such a sentence according to the Human Rights Watch.

Director of EJI Bryan Stevenson stated, "These kids have been swept up in this tide of carceral control that is unparalleled in American history. We have become quite comfortable about throwing people away."

 
  Source: www.reuters.com  
    WebReporter: sleeky Show Calling Card      
  Recommendation:  
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
   
  37 Comments
  
  Would like to hear  
 
views on this subject. Should the sentences be reviewed for these people or should they be left as is?
 
  by: sleeky     03/22/2008 07:45 AM     
  "....adult crime, adult time...."  
 
Well sure ..... if the 13/14 year old thinks like an adult - which they don't, nor can they, because they are KIDS.

Some of these kids are in the gang-mentality, where one kills or is killed by their peers for not doing so. How to rectify that, I don't know, but throwing them away isn't the answer.

At that age, there is still too much possible potential for positive change.
 
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 07:51 AM     
  I agree  
 
with oyou DV. Jail is not the answer but there seems to be so many child criminals now days because some of them are being recruited to crime gangs because of their age. If they are too young to be prosecuted they seem to get away with it.
 
  by: sleeky     03/22/2008 07:54 AM     
  Ridiculous  
 
That's just vindictive. The U.S. penal system really needs to evolve past this "maximum punishment" mentality, unless they're actually proud that 1 of every 100 American adults is in lock-up.
 
  by: l´anglais     03/22/2008 08:07 AM     
  it really depends  
 
on the crime but I do think that there are young people that are such utter sociopaths that no amount of rehabilitation can fix them.
 
  by: gryphon50a   03/22/2008 11:59 AM     
  "die in prison under 'life means life' sentences"  
 
Best sentence. Now you'll suffer mentally and physically in prison for what you've done... forever
 
  by: Nekki   03/22/2008 12:26 PM     
  Personally...  
 
I think it should be rehab or death, not eternal taxpayer tribute.

The people who got locked up at that age probably never had a chance to learn right from wrong, so give them one.
 
  by: H. W. Hutchins   03/22/2008 12:50 PM     
  I'm with l'anglais on this one  
 
but I also think the high crime rates should be dealt with at the source of the problem ...poverty,poor education lack of opportunities and low motivation all are all causes of this crime phenomenon in the US that leads to 1% of the populations rotting in prison if those stats were from Iran I'd hate to see the wrath of the US media.
 
  by: Hugo Chavez     03/22/2008 12:50 PM     
  I support it.  
 
With one caveat. If the article is correct and the defendants were not given proper council then they should be retried on appeal, just like other criminals. Otherwise let them stay in prison.
 
  by: qwerty017   03/22/2008 01:54 PM     
  ...  
 
fact is...if you put a 13/14 year old in jail until lets say, they're 25..they aren't going to make it on the outside. most grown men cant make it on the outside after a sentance of X amount of years.. so how will a kid? especially being locked up thru teen hood. all they know is jail system. that is where they will feel comfortable. sad but true.
 
  by: anonymousdude   03/22/2008 02:06 PM     
  anyone?  
 
ever hear System Of A Down's "Prison Song", lots of good points in that short songs... though ti mostly about drug law and the gross ameount of people in jail for it:

"You clamped on with your iron fists
Drugs became conveniently
Available for all the kids
I buy my crack, I smack my bitch
Right here in hollywood
(nearly 2 million americans are
Incarcerated in the prison system
Prison system of the US)"

"Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
You dont even flinch
All our taxes paying for your wars
Against the new non-rich"

"The percentage of americans in the prison system
Prison system, has doubled since 1985
Theyre trying to build a prison (X3)
(for you and me to live in)"
(thats the year i was born, the US prison population as DOUBLED since i was born)

"All research and successful drug policy show
That treatment should be increased
And law enforcement decreased
While abolishing mandatory minimun sentences
Utilising drugs to pay for secret wars around the world
Drugs are now your global policy now you police the globe"

"Drug money is used to rig elections
And train brutal corporate sponsored dictators
Around the world"
(funny thing EVEN the governments say drug money funds criminals, they just never tell you its their friends being funded.)


prison for 13/14 year olds = juvinile hall.

hey lets blame the kids rather than the society that is rersponsible for them... hey sounds like a good idea... NOT... Hugo hit the nail on the head

"I also think the high crime rates should be dealt with at the source of the problem ...poverty,poor education lack of opportunities and low motivation all are all causes of this crime phenomenon in the US that leads to 1% of the populations rotting in prison"

is the US really such a horrible country to live in that atleast 1% is just grossly unfit for civil living?
 
  by: HAVOC666     03/22/2008 04:07 PM     
  ..  
 
have you looked into juvenhile halls lately? or talked to kids who have been? a prison is a prison, doesnt matter if its for adults or children. bottom line is they are criminals and looked at as threats. the kids are treated the same in their prison as adults are in theirs..only difference is the age. everyone i know that was in a juvenile center, ended up graduating to an adult facility after sometime from being free from juve.. those systems are designed to keep you in, no matter how old you are.
 
  by: anonymousdude   03/22/2008 04:13 PM     
  Stuck in the middle here  
 
Because on one hand I am with Vet but again there are some kids that will never change; serial killer and cannibals show signs from a very early age, it is all to complex to just put everything in one box.

It just depends on the situation getting them away from the brain washing of gangs is one thing, but as for other child killers that all depends,just don't box them together is what I am saying here.

my friend works with child killers as her daily work some can change others never will, here after a time they will set them free regardless sadly a lot kill within months.
 
  by: captainJane     03/22/2008 04:16 PM     
  .......  
 
without getting flamed too much for this, on one hand, i agree with this. for a couple reasons. on the other hand, i disagree with it. .... isn't it a question of morals, mostly? ... what might be dictated as morally okay (taught to me by my parents, my society, my upbringing, etc.) might be morally inferior to someone else.

i think kids like this SHOULD have something done. in some cases, prison sentences SHOULD be handed out. sometimes i get the impression that peopel are too apt to lean on a crutch (like a pill to fix your depression, your weight, etc.) instead of the fact that some people are just messed up. period. people are too apt to blame society, to quick to blame others for thier actions/inactions. its like chris rock once said.. whatever happened to just plain ol' crazy? ...

on the other hand, these guys are just kids.... some of them have never had a but whippin (by a peer or parent) some of them are just misguided.

what to be done? has anyone ever thought, maybe america has 1 of 100 adults in jail, because there might be something wrong with them?

can anyone see my dilemma here?

 
  by: elijah4twenty     03/22/2008 04:27 PM     
  @anonymousdude  
 
"have you looked into juvenhile halls lately? or talked to kids who have been? a prison is a prison, doesnt matter if its for adults or children. bottom line is they are criminals and looked at as threats. the kids are treated the same in their prison as adults are in theirs..only difference is the age. everyone i know that was in a juvenile center, ended up graduating to an adult facility after sometime from being free from juve.. those systems are designed to keep you in, no matter how old you are."

and i don't necessarily disagree, hell i've seen the exacty same thing even hear in canada....AND its getting worse.

like any government system its meant by design to keep you on it and thats the problems... look at welfare.

but throwing them in jail or juvi doesn't solve the problem it juts put that grain of sand of the real problem behind bars for a few years... the real problem IS SOCIETY... but that involves all of society being being at fault that involves addressing unemployment, welfare, all kinds of problems that the governmnet either has no idea how to fix or more likely no REAL desire to fix it.
 
  by: HAVOC666     03/22/2008 04:35 PM     
  My Take  
 
For as much as people in general say how detrimental jail is, I wonder how long someone could be in jail without coming out worse then when they went in. A year? A Month? A Week?

In the source a 14 year old girl: set on fire, stabbed, and shot the grandfather; set on fire, stabbed, and shot the grandmother; stabbed and shot the aunt; stabbed the 10-yr old sister. All this for disapproving of a relationship. She needs to stay in jail. She was plenty old enough to know what kind of pain she was inflicting to hewr victims and beyond. Why should she be let out ever?

This is just as backwards as various shows on US TV. They take some family that has royally screwed themselves up, but since they let their story be televised, they get all new stuff and free trips. Screw that. Reward the people that haven't screwed up.
 
  by: nicohlis     03/22/2008 04:48 PM     
  @ nicohlis  
 
I didn't read that far into the source, as for this girls' actions. I still don't agree, of this girls case, a life in prison, Now, life in a mental facility, ok. I mean c'mon, the kid has something definately wrong with her. Prison is not the place she needs to be.

I don't believe in prison for adults that murder with no cause, for instance, pre-meditated murder. But when a kid goes to this extent, there is something very wrong in her head, she should'nt be thrown away, I would concur with my taxes taking care of her, just as I do my cat that has mental problems.

Our society has become to accustomed to throwing the Lepper out of town, per se - imo, that's not what being a human is supposed to be about, .
 
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 05:49 PM     
  Correction  
 
"....I don't believe in prison for adults that murder with no cause, for instance, pre-meditated murder...."

Should read "... I DO believe in prison..."
 
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 05:51 PM     
  Look @ the UK  
 
if you need a reason to justify this type of thing. Our legal system is soft, the result is a new 'Clockwork Orange' society where 'kids' do unthinkable things and fear nothing and no-one. I read a story recently where a man, when arrested for assault, told police he'd go back and finish the job if they let him out. They went ahead and let him out. An hour later he came back dripping blood onto the floor and desk at the police station and declared "I did it". *That* is what happens if you let people like that out. As much as we're talking about kids here, think of their victims, human life has to be worth more than second chances. I would lock them up in hard labour until death without a second thought. One has to protect the rest of society, no-one deserves to be killed by one of these types.
 
  by: Maxx20     03/22/2008 06:00 PM     
  @DiscardedVet  
 
What does it take to be an adult? This is the same argument that takes place whenever there are laws based on age (smoking, drinking, driving, etc). There are plenty of people "underage" that are not treated severly enough and plenty of people "overage" that are treated too severely. Should a 17 year and 364 day old person be let off for a murder and treated like some poor soul that just wasn't given a chance while an 18 year old is thrown in jail for his remaining days? If the 18 year old gets off, why not 19? And so on and so on.

As far as the person in the source, in my opinion only, I don't think there was any psychological condition or any other problem. She just killed without regard for life because it was the most permanent solution to her insignificant problem.
 
  by: nicohlis     03/22/2008 06:59 PM     
  @ nicohlis  
 
I am referring to young kids, as in the artical, the barely teen girl. The semantics you bring, of 18yrs minus one day, is a moot point.
 
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 10:06 PM     
  BTW, nicohlis  
 
To think the girl in the article has no pyschological problems to do what she did is a blind thought at best.
 
  by: Discarded Vet   03/22/2008 10:09 PM     
  @DV  
 
And a perfectly sane person probably wouldn't commit a crime.

So, should all murderers be sent to an institution instead of prison? A prison isn't just to rehabilitate people (pfft) but to keep them from society where they could do more harm.

As Maxx said, look at the UK and say that the touchy-feely approach to criminal "children" works.
 
  by: edya   03/22/2008 10:20 PM     
  @DiscardedVet  
 
Why is it moot? It's the whole point. You didn't answer the question. You said you're for adults serving life sentences for murder, but not kids. How do you tell the difference? If not age, then what?

Much as edya argues, regardless of age, what sane person commits murder? Adult or otherwise, no killer deserves to be in jail as they must all have some kind of mental issues.

It's not blindess, it's acceptance of the depravity of our youth. To say no "kid" could kill with the kind of malice to deserve life in prison is simply denial.
 
  by: nicohlis     03/22/2008 11:11 PM     
  Poster-Child for Child Life-Sentences  
 
I have no idea who put these online, but they seem to be genuine. This "kid" is a poster-child for kids that should have life sentences. She planned the whole thing and made sure everyone she hurt suffered as much as possible. Her limited abuse and tough life-situations in no way excuse the tortuous murders she committed against the people that cared for her.

The links are to what appears to be text-only newspaper articles written during Ashley Jones' ordeal. Be warned, they contain accounts of the murders.

After reading these, does anyone still think she was just a kid that wasn't in control of herself?

Ashley Jones and Geramie Hart Facts
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Two Teens Accused Of Bloody Rampage
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Teen Duo To Be Tried As Adults
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Grandmother Testifies About Teens' Attack
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Girl Recalls Grandfather 'Walking Around With A Knife In His Back'
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Friend: Teen Watched TV After Slayings
(http://www.geocities.com/...

'We Planned To Kill Everybody' Solemn Jurors Hear Audiotape Of Teenager's Statement To Police
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Teen Who Slaughtered Kin 'Full Of Wrath'
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Teen Curses Court, Battles Bailiffs
(http://www.geocities.com/...

Hart Shot Her, Woman Testifies
(http://www.geocities.com/...
 
  by: nicohlis     03/23/2008 12:17 AM     
  Hypocritical  
 
How can society deem these children to be adults when the same society says they can't smoke or drink legally, can't watch an R-rated movie legally, and can't consent to sex with a person of 18+ legally? I mean if you have this end of the spectrum, trying children as adults for crimes, why is there not a 'test' to prove whether or not that children can drink? Sure, science says their liver isn't ready yet -- but it doesn't matter, right? The adult brain isn't "finished" developing either until later in life, some would argue that it is never finished developing but still.

Point is, if we can try children as adults, then why can’t children take a similar ‘test’ to find out if they are ready to start smoking/drinking/having sex/etc.

Seems kind of hypocritical to not have it go both ways.
 
  by: vash_the_stampede     03/23/2008 02:12 AM     
  @vash  
 
its actually worse than that ALL age-related laws are unconstitutional as it is in no uncertian terms illegal to discriminate based upon age... but since kids can't vote, kids don't count.

ironically the solution to through them in jail indefinity is born of a same logic as murder itself, to be rid of the problem without reguard to consequence, such as after being in jail indefiately you'll likely HAVE to keep them there until they die as once youi spend life in jail, jail become your life, after that there really isn't any hope left for you... so if your just going to lock them up for life you might as well just pull the trigger and kill them too.

and no no everyone can be rehabilitated but through people in jail for life HAS NEVR AND WILL NEVR rehabilitate anyone, you can't rehabiliatate someone by forcing them to be accostumes to jail, that simply insures they can't reintegrate into society.


that being said i'm all for maturity tests as opposed to discriminative age-law.
 
  by: HAVOC666     03/23/2008 02:32 PM     
  @vash  
 
The laws about drink, smoking and sex are there to protect children. The harsh sentences discussed in this thread are there to protect the public from children (and adults of course). I think the goal posts need to move a bit in order to accommodate the different aims of the different types of legislation.

It would be pretty impossible to apply a 1 size fits all policy for laws concerning kids.

I'm inclined to think of it like laws related to wild animals. There must be protection in place to make sure that said wild animals do not harm humans. Equally there must be laws in place to prevent humans from abusing or harming the animals.
 
  by: Maxx20     03/23/2008 03:19 PM     
  @Havoc666  
 
Which nation's constitution are you referring to?

Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment in the US Constitution only applies to similarly circumstanced individuals. Even at that, the Equal Protection applies to equal protection of the law (ie - existing laws apply equally to citizens). Otherwise the 14th Amendment also says that Life, Liberty, and Property cannot be abridged without due process of law. So if a subject receives due process, and the result is some sort of abridgment, then it is not unconstitutional.

There is no US Constitutional Right for all people of all ages and all circustances to do all things with no limitations. It should be obvious why that would bad.

These youths passed the test for adulthood when they committed crimes so violent and depraved that there must be no other response than to punish them so severely.
 
  by: nicohlis     03/23/2008 03:25 PM     
  @nicolis  
 
"So if a subject receives due process, and the result is some sort of abridgment, then it is not unconstitutional."

no offence but kids HAVE NEVER had due process if a murder had to wait as long as kids for their rights to be honored THE THEY WOULD GET AWAY WITH MURDER... no offence but theres alot of kids mature enough by 13-15 to make many choices atleast as well as an adult, hey smoking and drinking isn't a good mark of judgement at any age beit 13, 30, or a 103. telling them they have to wait 3-5 years for "due process" is bullshit... i know first hand... wasn't long ago i was there... i drank a few beers and started smoking weed back at 15, looking back i'd not have not done it. hell if anything i might have tried them sooner.

"These youths passed the test for adulthood when they committed crimes so violent and depraved that there must be no other response than to punish them so severely."

false... they were never treated as adult before this... when kids are good their kids, when they are bad they are adult, WTF??? did i miss a meeting where i come from you don't "reward" kids by treating them as adults when they f*** up, when you treat them as distingushably then than persons when they are more or less following the rules.

i swear the world is so ass backwards its no wonder the kids are so messed up

"the kids aren't alright" - offspring

perhaps if society treated these children-on-trial as actual persons before the fact the instances of kids "going crazy" would be radically reduced... ah but what would i was only there and back within the decade, its not like i'd have insight into the problem or anything, i know i was one of those kids looked down upon, treated as signifigantly less than a "Person"... when your a kid society makes it well known you have very little in the way of rights... the more you treat kids as kids the worse they seem to get. luckily i never completely snapped, though at time there was more than enough reason.

ever see my rant about the school system?, again any wonder why society is so messed up.
 
  by: HAVOC666     03/23/2008 03:56 PM     
  @Havoc666  
 
So you don't have a defense of why you say all age laws are unconstitutional?

What? Your entire paragraph on due process made no sense. How hasn't due process been observed? Whatever laws that are in place went through the required processes to be passed. Any child that has been convicted went through the due process of a trial by jury. Obviously there are cases where an inadequate defense or technical police misconduct occurred, but overall they were given due process.

What? what did you say "false" to? That whole paragraph made no sense. So you're saying because they weren't treated as adults before they slaughtered their family, they shouldn't be treated as adults after? That makes zero sense. By your logic everyone should get off for every crime they commit for the first time for the sole reason that they never did it before.

Ashley Jones didn't make a mistake. She viciously tortured her victims before brutally killing them. She shot her sleeping aunt, and when that didn't kill her, she beat her over the head with a heater, and when that didn't finish the job, she stabbed her to death. After forcing her 10 year old sister to watch her grandmother be tortured, she stabbed her 14 times. All this and more after preparing for two days to commit the murders. Her crimes were adult crimes, she planned the killings and planned the coverup (she tried to set the house on fire). No one forced her hand. She should be held accountable.

Your rant against schools is not worth anyone's time and has nothing to do with this topic, don't repeat it.
 
  by: nicohlis     03/23/2008 04:55 PM     
  hmm..  
 
I think that for sure the Ashley example is one that, if I were judge of the future, would say "send her to the Vaporizer" and just like that, no more Ashley. Torture and a callous regard for human life is not tolerable in this society of world inhabitants.
 
  by: RAD     03/23/2008 06:53 PM     
  @Maxx20  
 
Right. My point is, if there exists an ability to try children as adults for some crimes then why not give said children the ability to take a test to prove that they are adult enough to indulge in other adult activities? Since they can be treated as an adult in terms of criminal mischief, why can they also not be treated as an adult and let them drink alcohol, go to an R rated movie, join the military, etc.?

I just think it is hypocritical to treat children as adults in one venue and not give them the same opportunity to be treated as adults in *all* venues.
 
  by: vash_the_stampede     03/24/2008 04:13 AM     
  If a kid commits  
 
a crime that would get the death penalty if done by an adult, the kid should get the death penalty. I have no sympathy for the little gangstas running around and I don't feel society should pay for 40+ years of 3 hots and a cot for them.
 
  by: elzorro   03/24/2008 10:21 PM     
  @Ezorro  
 
If it were so, would you blame the pedophile who says 'She looked 18 and not 11'

See, it is this attitude that begets nothing but exactly the same kinds, with same set of mind.

Hugo made a profound comment "poverty,poor education lack of opportunities and low motivation all are all causes of this crime phenomenon in the US " These kids, if the same government that wants to incarcerate them for life, would invest in the real sense of rehabilitation, it would succeed, instead; in the US, security firms are sprucing daily, because it is a big business, and in order for these firms to continue, they need criminals, hence jails are full and saddest part is that, they are full of our young stars.

We seriously need to look at our systems and make it right.

Recently I was in Africa, I saw this kid sleeping soundly on the pavement against a wall and a stoop of a building down town. I passed him and went back few steps to see if he was alive or??? I was there with some NGO friends, at that instant, I woke him up and asked him if he was ok? To make this story short. The reason why he is sleeping outside was, his Dad went to work last night, so he kicked his son out, since he didn't want to leave his apartment with his son sleeping alone!!!! Imagine that excuse!!!!!

That was his fathers excuse, for the safety of his belongings, he had to take no chances, as the boy may leave an open apartment!!

Well, he is not living with his father anymore, with the consent from his father, who will be visiting anytime he pleases, the boy leaves at a shelter..

If you want to witness child prostitution, travel to 3rd world country's and see Europeans and American paedophiles in actions.

While here at home, we are incarcerating our future generations, to life imprisonment, because they wronged.. THEY ARE KIDS FOR ***** SAKE.. Find another solution instead of this draconian ways of doing business.. Send them to another place, away from bad influence, give them tools to face life head on, without committing crimes, accept them in a society with the backing of influential, dogma, surround them with positive, make it mandatory, to learn while they are incarcerated, with the goals set therein. If you fail you continue staying here, until you are reformed. NOT lock you up and throw away the keys...

Sorry I am just sick and tired of ****ing spineless bureaucrats.
I also apologize for foul epithets.
 
  by: isuzu     03/25/2008 06:04 PM     
  Throwing people away  
 
My opinion is that prison doesn't rehabilitate but enforces a criminal way of thinking. Long prison sentences for 13 or 14 year old boys are but one example of how we give up, how we throw people away who might become productive citizens.
 
  by: Terryeo   03/27/2008 04:34 PM     
  Wrong cases to champion.  
 
If you want to talk about kids being thrown away, the tiny fraction of sociopaths at the extremes is not the most productive group on which to focus. Poverty and poor education did not cause their illness, nor will giving them a hug and an apology make the empathy they've lacked since birth materialize.

If this is the slim minority we're talking about, keeping them from society is best for everyone. Would a mental institution be better? I don't know, it seems a mental institution is either in the business of reforming people or caring for those who cannot properly care for themselves, neither of which is of any benefit to a sociopath.
 
  by: MomentOfClarity     03/27/2008 05:42 PM     
 
 
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