08/09/12 — A lesson: Judge's sentence a wise one; there are consequences

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A lesson: Judge's sentence a wise one; there are consequences

There is a lesson to be learned in a recent Wayne County court case.

A young man was sentenced in connection with a robbery that included the beating of a 78-year-old man and an assault on his wife.

During the sentencing, the defense said that the young man was a victim, too, of extreme peer pressure and that he was a good child who was raised with the right values.

But that did not stop the judge from giving the young man a stiff sentence -- and he was dead right to do so.

There is a lesson here that should be in the curriculum for every teenager who enters a Wayne County high school.

It only takes a moment of listening to your stupid friends, or a lapse of judgment or succumbing to peer pressure to change your life forever.

The young man in this case might have always been a nice kid. He might even have been raised with good values and a sense of right and wrong. But in that moment, on that day, he could have chosen to walk away, to stop his friends or to get help -- and he didn't. And now he will pay for it with nearly two years of his life.

And while that is a shame, it is justice.

There are too many people -- especially young people -- these days who think that life comes with a series of free passes. Do something dishonest or heinous and pull out one of these do-over cards and you are allowed to move on with your life.

That is not how it works.

Young people make mistakes -- and peer pressure is a terrible thing. But we have to raise our young people to understand that they have the power to make different decisions and to take charge of their own lives.

You cannot take back something like this horrible act. You cannot undo the damage you caused.

And in this case, the young man should count himself lucky, he could very well have been facing murder charges.

Accountability is a critical skill -- and that, combined with a sense of right and wrong and self-responsibility, is vital for a young adult.

Let's hope this lesson resonates among the county's young people.

Published in Editorials on August 9, 2012 10:53 AM