Homicide is the blanket term for the taking of life and encompasses both murder and manslaughter. Murder is, unfortunately, a crime that young people commit and is the taking of another person’s life with preplanned malice. In other words, murder is when a person plans to take another person’s life and successfully does it. IN contrast, manslaughter is taking a person’s life with no original intention of doing this.
Though it varies by state, murder can be broken down into first, and second-degree murder with capital and felony murder variants. First-degree murder is the intentional killing of another person. An example of this would be gang members eliminating an enemy.
Second-degree murder is the unplanned death of another person in which the perpetrator shows little or no regard for life. For example, shooting a gun into a crowd that causes death could be considered second-degree in many places, even if on accident. Felony murder is death that occurs when committing another felony, such as robbing a bank. The thief may not have planned to kill anybody, but there are consequences for this if it happens.
Lastly, capital murder is murder that can lead the murderer to lose their own life at the hand of the state and thus involves the death penalty. Examples of capital murder could be multiple murders at once, murder of a child, or murder of a law enforcement agent.
The penalties for juveniles who commit first-degree murder can go to life in prison without parole, but the death penalty cannot be imposed in many states. For second-degree murder, the penalty can be 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Manslaughter is the accidental loss of life. The person who took life did not intend to do this. Drunk driving is a common reason for manslaughter to happen. In some places, manslaughter and second-degree murder are the same. Many of the same penalties may apply.
Negligent homicide involves a person who needed to be aware of the danger they were in but did not know this, and there was a loss of life. For example, a person driving drunk and who doesn’t run red lights or speed could still be found guilty of negligent homicide if someone dies while they are driving.
Among juveniles in 2019, about 900 homicides were committed. The most common age at which juveniles commit homicide is the age of 16 & 17. To put this into perspective, juveniles committed almost 700,000 crimes. We don’t want to make light of this, but homicide among youths is highly uncommon if these statistics are correct.
Homicide brings a lot of pain into the world today, unlike other crimes, such as theft, where the guilty party can restore what was lost. Homicide means the loss of a life that can never be repaid no matter what true remorse the guilty party shows. Therefore, respecting life is something that young people must learn so that they will not intentionally or unintentionally take life.