Can it ever be right to sentence a child to “life without parole”?

Well, This Is What I Think

Christie Cheramie - rehabilitated, but never to be released. Christie Cheramie – rehabilitated, but never to be released.

More than three and a half years ago, we wrote about the disgraceful case of Christi Cheramie, a 16 year old sentenced to life without parole for a murder she did not commit. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to find out whether Christi has since been released. (And we would value knowing.)

Now a bi-partisan group of U.S. senators have announced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, new criminal justice reform legislation that would end extreme sentences for youth, including life without parole, in the federal justice system at least.

This bill has been in the works for quite some time, and we are thrilled that senators included this provision: we appreciate Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their leadership of this effort on both sides of the aisle. Thanks also to Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin…

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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3 Responses to Can it ever be right to sentence a child to “life without parole”?

  1. Sha'Tara says:

    I just finished watching the documentary: “The Biggest Prison System in History” about prisons in the US, and the stats. 5% of the world’s population has 25% of the worlds jail population. The problem with the US is that absolutely everything is run, ruled, and ruined, by money. It’s all about money and individuals matter even less down there than they did in the Soviet Union under Stalin. It’s not about law, much less about justice, it’s about profit, pure and simple. The endless wars, the hundreds of military bases all over the globe, it’s all about the same thing: profit from chaos; from enforced economic slavery and extraction and theft of natural resources and labour. The sooner that horror show of a so-called country implodes, the better off the rest of the planet will be. I’ve been waiting a life-time to see it happen and I may yet see it. It may rock Canada, but I’m willing to chance that, just to see America get its just deserves – finally.

  2. gwpj says:

    I agree with you, Sha’Tara, up to where you say “The sooner that horror show of a so-called country implodes . . .” and end by saying that you’re “willing to chance” Canada being rocked by the implosion “just to see America get its just deserves — finally.” My disagreement is based on one thing: a failure to consider the people who have no power, but who will suffer the most from an implosion. The big-money crowd rarely suffers, as they have roots around the world, and owe allegiance to no specific country. The people who will suffer, and are already suffering, are people like my four children, ten grandchildren, one great-grandchild, their relatives, and all of my friends who would and will get shat upon should the USA implode. All we have to do to see this in action is look at what’s happening in Syria, Greece and other places to know that this is no answer for the sorry state my country is in these days. I do not want what I see happening in the USofA to be the future for my family and my friends and their families. What I do want to see, and what I think you want to see, is greed-based control defeated and a nation and its people reborn with a much more compassionate and inclusive system. Can this happen? Yes, but only when and if we want and insist that it happen. What do you think about what I’ve just said?

    • Sha'Tara says:

      Hello George,
      I’m going to reply as thoughtfully and clearly as possible. There is no way I could have written this in a more concise form and have it still make sense. I know you are a very intelligent and sensitive individual and I’ll leave it at that.

      First, I do not reason the way “Earthians” reason, and I’ve yet to find the exception to that. I sense in myself that I am primarily a life recorder: I record and file life events as I encounter them, as I live them in the flesh. They are not me, they are images I interact with. In order to give authenticity to my record or observations if you will, I must at times engage the images; make myself a part of some images, i.e., I allow myself to experience to big no-no: responding with feelings and emotions, an unpleasant but often necessary part of the job. As soon as I can I withdraw again into my status of watcher and cancel feelings and emotions. Then I can analyze, remember, project and predict.
      When I was young I was under the painful illusion that I was just another “human” going through life as it forced itself upon, and into, me. Then I awakened and discovered I was not human, as people think of it, but an infinite cosmic being, having always been and to always be. Once that was re-asserted (it had happened time and time again in previous lives) I was able to empower myself to exist here without joining; without selling myself to a cause, a belief, a tribe, family or other collective concept of which this world is rife. I could look at the canvas of earth and know I was watching a drama played by committed, sincere, people, none of whom were individuals. They were players on a stage, as Shakespeare remarked, and they took their parts very seriously indeed. Nothing else mattered to any of them but the parts assigned to them by their various cults, beliefs, preferences, bigotries and etc. How serious were they? They were willing to slaughter each-other over their beliefs, even going so far as planning for the destruction of the only world they had to live on. Rational?

      Because of my awareness, I am also a visionary. I can see behind every curtain where the wizards (and there are a great many of them, tall and short, rich and poor, educated and not) manipulate their particular levers to get the desired responses from the masses of believers. I can read history without books and I can project the future, not the details which are unimportant, but the waves and their aftershocks: the big picture; the one that Earthians do not care to ever consider because they are stuck in their own piece of the puzzle and basically in denial that any other puzzle piece has validity unless subjugated to their own.

      That brings me to “America” and my deliberate emotional response to your post. I learned to hate everything America stood for long before my awakening. I studied it, and living in Canada that was easy. Canada is but a shadow of America, an economic slave. If it tried to break free it would be invaded in an eye-blink but it’s more profitable for America to allow Canada its political freedom: it’s a great, self-feeding milk cow which until now always had a full udder. America is a monstrosity, period.
      Now to your question, or concern. I don’t have to go there. I am totally detached from the kinds of relationships you mention. Yes, in the physical, the flesh, I have family, children, grand-children and etcetera. Part of living the observation. But they are not mine, nor am I theirs. These people are part of the great collective which now numbers over 7 billions. They are not “individuals” in the real sense, they are hives. Whatever happens to their collectives has to happen to them – and that is entirely their choice. They are not victims, nor are they powerless! They just choose to believe, to trust, and to enjoy their small lives and survive, the Devil take the hindmost when it comes to caring what any of the great collectives do. Unlike bees, or ants, they can choose to leave the hive, but not willing to abandon its relative comfort.
      Are people victims, powerless, helpless? Well, that is entirely their choice. Anyone can choose to become self-empowered, absolutely anyone. It’s simple and terrible. It means to disconnect from every and all collectives. It means to detach from all “special” relationships, including emotional “love” or “romantic” relationships. It doesn’t mean you can’t have them, it means you can’t trust them. It means throwing off the lifeboat from the Titanic before it hits the iceberg, and rowing off alone in the great Atlantic, knowing that the ship you just abandoned is doomed and also knowing that none of the happy partyers and lovers; none of the crew, certainly not the captain, would give your “knowing” a second of credibility if you were to tell them that the ship is doomed. The curse of foresight. Cassandra’s curse.
      The way “we” see things (we here refers to people not of this world, other observers) is not the way planet-bound sentience can ever see. We are, not immortal, but eternal, our minds infinite in scope. We know, I know, that the fall of America will indeed create a serious death toll, for having sown the wind, “Americans” (and all those who clung to America’s blood soaked skirts) must now inherit the whirlwind. No one can save America – and no one can save “mankind” in its current social paradigm or religion/politics/finance. These powers are essentially dragons that are eating up the planet and the people on it. And as long as people insist on believing that one or another aspect of these powers can make a difference, can change anything in the least meaningful way, that’s as long as the feeding frenzy will continue.
      I know many people who agree with me on this, yet are not willing to separate themselves from the inevitable, claiming that it would be too disruptive, too difficult. Very well then, that’s a choice and “we” who observe accept those choices, consider the consequences in this Earthian finite environment and make our projections. Here’s some.
      A smooth transition to a more equitable resource distribution system: not possible. A smooth transition to equality of men and women: not possible. A smooth transition to an end to racism: not possible. A smooth transition from a world of perpetual war to peace: not possible. Those are the big ones, the big “not possibles” from our observations.

      Your world is going to go through, what Frank Herbert called, “the crucible” and man will be crushed in it until few remain. The horror you see today is a warning, not a beginning: you’ve always enjoyed killing each other and stealing from each other. From here on it’s all the way down for your species. Death upon death until something like a billion and some remain; all vestiges of this civilization and technology basically gone. 5-600 years according to my personal vision – and there are an endless number of possibilities in space-time – and then you will begin to realize the necessity of rebuilding upon totally different principles of interaction with life. You will evolve a truly empathic sense and you will begin to understand what it means to be compassionate. At that point, your “friends in higher places” (i.e., the entities you denigrate now, some calling them demons, some “aliens” and some simply denying their right to even exist) will make overtures to you to help you out of your nightmare. And so on. A thousand years into your future you will be forced by your empathic sense, to change. Then will you be considered to be human. (Remember the time frame is mine and subject to change without warning!)

      For the time being, the answer lies not in this or that group, or belief, or revolution or in any thing ever attempted before to cause change. The answer lies in individual self-empowerment.

      Sorry George, I did not want to write an article but your question deserved a proper answer, not a “tweet.”

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