Last Sunday, Schoharie County residents were inconvenienced by a house fire on the corner of Main and North streets in the Village of Cobleskill. Traffic was redirected and a thick choking cloud of smoke hung over the business district and other parts of Downtown. But the truly disturbing issue was not the inconvenience, but the fact that the fire was apparently deliberately started by an 11-year old girl. So young.. and already a depraved arsonist! The young girl, in a display of maniacal abandon is alleged to have caused the hellish conflagration by setting fire to a couch with a cigarette lighter. Fortunately for the other residents of Cobleskill, this pre-teen menace was arrested and charged. Hopefully, the demon child will remain in custody long enough to prevent her from doing any more damage.
If this wasn’t bad enough, a quick glance in this week’s police blotter reveals that a 12 year old male was arrested for “forcible touching”. Now the police blotter entry did not go into any more specific details, but it seems to me like we’ve got a pre-teen boy with a penchant for rape on our hands and I want to know what we’re going to do about it? According to the blotter entry, the individual was released on an appearance ticket. This means that this sexual deviant is on the loose, free to wreak havoc and mayhem on decent people everywhere.
The local law enforcement authorities may need to recalibrate their strategies to account for this new criminal element. They may need to change the way they look at pre-teen children around the ages of 10-12. When these children assemble to loiter in the Downtown business districts of our communities, we can no longer turn a blind eye. We must be on guard against potential arsonists, sexual predators, and any number of other dastardly criminals.
My sincere hope is that the system tries these children as adults. I say, no special circumstances for juvenile offenders! I see no reason why this 11-year old girl shouldn't do hard time for this. Let the little arsonist have a go at general population. And as for the "forcible toucher", how about electroshock therapy? At the very least, he should be thrown in a dark room in some prison basement somewhere until he learns some manners.
Otherwise, what kind of message are we sending to all those potential pre-teen lawbreakers out there?