When I see a story of a 15-year-old getting a sentence that's 150% of how long he's already been on earth, my suspicion is that there's local passion and even hysteria in play. Judges are, after all, political officials.

It's like legislators who rage in public about the horrors of child abuse, and then, instead of implementing meaningful programs that can actually do something about the problem, simply pass a law, for example, forbidding pedophiles from living close to schools - as if the problem is lurking strangers. But it's been known for a long time now that more than 90% of abused kids are molested by people they know, and the vast majority of these are abused in their own homes. So perp strangers moving close by have little to do with the problem, and the law restricting where abusers can live only serves to drive them into isolated areas far from places where they can get access to therapists and treatment programs.

My own feeling is this, and here comes the cynicism: If lawmakers want to implement a real program it has to be researched, planned, vetted, implemented, budgeted, staffed, with all kinds of infrastructure - in other words it will cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. It's far cheaper and faster to "legislate" against the problem and leave it at that, even if the new law simply becomes a part of the problem rather than facilitating a solution.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)