When teens don’t receive mercy
Thanks to “law and order” legislation championed by Republicans, “juvenile drug offenders are routinely tried as adults,” said Eric Levitz. Teens who send naked pictures of themselves or friends can be charged with child pornography and forced to spend the rest of their lives on the registry of sex offenders. The Trump administration has called for the death penalty for alleged teen rapists, with the president frequently referring to teen gang members as “animals.” But since Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault as a 17-year-old, “the Right’s thinking on juvenile justice appears to have radically changed.” Many of Kavanaugh’s defenders are arguing that even if the allegations of attempted sexual assault are true, it would be unfair to hold some alcohol-fueled bad behavior from his high school years against him in later life. Why does such leniency only apply to the white and privileged? African-American teens are often arrested and sent to prison for crimes far less serious than attempted rape. When Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in 2012, thereby being denied all chances to have a later life, many conservatives said it was Martin’s fault for looking and acting like “a thug.” In our society, “law and order”—like mercy—still does not apply equally to everyone.