Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Everyone deserves a second chance.

In light of our being a gentle nation, and one that wishes to support the growth and development of our young people; we tend to believe that everyone deserves a second chance.

If we make a mistake, shouldn't we be offered an opportunity to use this to grow as a better person? Certainly, I would like for my children to have an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from the experience.

How can we learn from our mistakes? By having natural consequences stem from them.

-My son temporarily loses a toy that he fights over.

-My students lose points on an assignment if they are late handing it in. If they are too late, they get no credit on that assignment (one week is too late).

Punishment (to be effective) has to be swift, important to the recipient, and should be related to the offense.

Is there some point, however, that we need to hold someone fully accountable for their actions? Don't we just need to be able to count on purported adults to demonstrate adult behavior?

Michael Vick knowingly tortured puppies in the spirit of fun and profit. There are political action groups (and his mother) that plead with us for him to learn from this experience and give him a second chance. Is there not some line that we have to make in the sand - beyond this, your behavior is not a childlike transgression - this is real grown up crime, and your punishment will be grown up too?

Michael Vick is in his late-20s. Should we not expect adult behavior from this man?

While I agree that some transgressions should warrant second chances (and, I am certain that we would disagree on some of these); killing puppies in an organized dog-fighting ring is not a momentary lack of judgement. Michael Vick has accepted responsibility for these actions, it is time for us to hold him accountable and punish him in a means consistent with similar offenders.

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