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The Ethics of Lighter Sentences For Students


On the evening of June 15, 2011, thousands of people descended upon Vancouver, Canada's downtown core, presumably to celebrate in the event that their hometown NHL hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, won the Stanley Cup. That didn't happen and coupled with some very inebriated people who we now know via Facebook posts intended to come down and start trouble, the result was the second major riot in the city since early summer 1994, also following a Stanley Cup loss in Game 7.


Many of the rioters who damaged public and private property were college age and given suspended sentences and/or probation.


I'm hardly a "law and order person," but I just had to double-take when I first read that. We're all young once and do stupid things, but we all don't break the law, damage public and private property and put other people's safety at risk.


Why exactly do we want to make sure these people specifically to "get an education"? You know, one that could give them power and influence in their community, country and planet. We're not talking about stealing candy from a corner store and egging someone's house. We're talking hardcore arson, destruction of property and theft.


Sure, maybe they've "learned their lesson" (whatever that means), but should we really be giving these people a break and help them avoid punishment that everyone else would get just because they want to be rich, successful and powerful? That's a little scary to me.


And for all those people who think getting an education will keep them out of trouble - well, it didn't stop them from committing this particular crime, but we'll try it your way. Hopefully it's only your property and your life that they put at risk, and not mine. Leave me out it.


The display image is probably the one good thing that came out of these riots. A young Vancouver woman was presumably injured and laying on the street, so her British boyfriend went to check on her to see if she was okay. He claimed later it wasn't necessarily a kiss, specifically anyway. He was just checking on her. In any case, he's a real hero out of this. I don't know what he and his girlfriend were doing out in the middle of a riot, but some people just like to live dangerously. I suppose I can muster up a little sympathy for them.


But when you see violence going on, you're not supposed to run toward it. You'll see it on the Internet or the evening news anyway. Go home.

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