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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Sometimes prison is the only answer

Friday, August 29, 2003

"It is time to accept the sick notion that some people are beyond redemption."

Call me old-fashioned but to me, a 15-year-old boy should be worrying about his geometry test, whether the girl in school likes him and how many days remain before he gets his driver's license. That's not small town thinking and truly it's not old-fashioned either. But in far too many cases, that thinking is so far out of touch with reality it makes you cringe.

Terry L. Hutton of Kansas City is 15. Normal he's not. Unique he's not either. And that's what raises the fear level.

Hutton has been known to juvenile authorities in Kansas City since he was 11 years old. A juvenile officer testified last week that Hutton had not benefited from four years of intense intervention from the juvenile system. And sadly, the officer testified that the juvenile system lacked any program that could help someone with Hutton's "assaultive history."

Hutton is in jail awaiting trial for a daring mid-day gunfight. He is alleged to have pulled an assault rifle and fired at a rival gang member. The bullet went through the rival's car trunk and hit a 2-year-old bystander in the head. The child suffered permanent brain damage. Another shot by Hutton struck a young girl as she ran from the gunfire. She suffered only minor injuries.

The courts certified Hutton to stand trial as an adult. His bail is $100,000. And his future is far too predictable.

I know in my heart that there are thousands if not millions of Terry Hutton's in our society - kids raised with no appreciation of the value of life, kids who have resorted to violence from the very beginning, kids who will live their entire lives depending on the financial assistance of taxpayers. In most cases, these kids either die young or spend their lives in prison.

We've pointed the finger of blame in so many directions we should be dizzy by now. No parental control, a welfare system that is uncaring, a lack of a future, peer pressure, etc. It's time to quit blaming and start taking action.

It is time to accept the sick notion that some people are beyond redemption. Society has spent time and money on Terry Hutton. Society has intervened in his daily life offering support, guidance, etc. Hutton did not fall victim to the streets. He is the streets. He is what all parents fear - an animal who has no regard for the lives of others to whom logic and common sense are meaningless.

The child who has brain damage faces no life at all. The injured youth faces memories that no child should carry. And Terry Hutton should be removed from society for the remainder of his life. In prison, with his attitude, that should not be long.

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