RANGER AGAINST WAR: Gangland-Style <

Wednesday, March 13, 2013



We in Tallahassee tend to be retro, but not always in the hippest way.

The 1st District Court of Appeals here has ruled that a 16-year-old murderer convicted in 2010 must be re-sentenced because of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case that found laws mandating juveniles be sentenced to life in prison without parole are cruel and unusual punishment. The case being reconsidered is that of a Jacksonville youth, which falls under the purview of the Tallahassee Appeals Court, but not all District courts in the state have found the S.C. decision to be retroactive. (Florida Grapples with what to do with underage killers.)

Some nasty spree shootings lately have prompted gun control debate, but we do not know what to do with the killers (the 16-year-old killed his target, Grady Williamson, 49, with a knife, after robbing him of $3.) Norway has dealt with their recent spree shooter -- Anders Breivik -- by cordoning off a wing of prison for him and hiring "friends" to [presumably] keep him sane during the length of his 21 year sentence.  Norway officials were adamant about not changing their gun laws in capitulation to his heinous action, however.

In the United States, we let the weakest links among us determine the strictures for all, like the bad kid in class who earns detention for all. It is not sensible as not everyone talks out of turn, nor does everyone decide to kill.

In Florida, we may no longer sentence stone cold underage killers to life as this is viewed as "cruel and unusual punishment", and we are currently sans legal protocol for this cohort.  But no such civilized niceties hamstring our program of drone killings of American youths abroad.

Unlike actual killers here in the Gunshine State, the U.S. without compunction dropped a bomb on 16- year-old U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, former BBF of White House habitues. Another U.S. friendship, down the drain.  Another Arab de-friended in our own unique Chicago gangland-style killing. (Working with the Pentagon can be a literal career-killer these days.)

Al-Awlaki's son did not participate in any crime, yet he received a Presidentially-approved death penalty. So why is one 16-year-old American death o.k., while stateside 16-year-old actual murderers may not even receive a life sentence as that is deemed beyond the pale of civilized behavior?

[Further, al-Awlaki Sr. did not commit a capital offense, yet he also received a drone death sentence sans trial; meanwhile, the man he supposedly influenced,"Underwear Bomber" manque Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab received only a 25-year sentence.]

We are walking a thin line when execution-style murder is accepted as just and equitable in the absence of a trial or hard evidence that might possibly result in a conviction of murder, should it stand before a court of law.  If we are a humanistic, liberal and democratic nation, why do our citizens lose those rights in Yemen?

Why such consternation over sentencing actual child murderers in the States, and why such disinhibition about killing our juvenile citizens abroad? If we don't kill underage murders in the U.S. legal system, how can we justify killing them in international waters?

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