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Berrendo shooter charged as juvenile

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12-year-old Mason Campbell has been charged as a juvenile in the Berrendo Middle School shooting in which he shot two other students with a 20 gauge shotgun. Under New Mexico law the suspect has to be at least 14 before they can be charged as an adult.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand maybe 12-years-old is too young to charge someone as an adult in a shooting where no one died. Then again he did shoot one of his victims, 12-year-old Nathaniel Tavarez, in the face. Here’s what condition Nathaniel is in after the shooting…

Gov. Susana Martinez said Thursday the boy who was shot in the face and neck at a New Mexico middle school is heavily sedated and on a breathing machine, but his doctors are optimistic.

Martinez told reporters the student remained in critical condition at a Lubbock, Texas, hospital and doctors have repaired slight damage to his heart. She also said his face and head are covered in pockmarks from the shotgun pellets, and both of his eyes were injured.

Not exactly a minor scrape.

Still no word on how the shotgun was obtained or who it belonged to. All we know is it’s allegedly ‘from the home’. Even if it turned out to have belonged to the parents and was not properly stored I seriously doubt they’ll face any charges. I can’t think of one instance where any parent was charged for allowing their kids access to the guns in a situation like this. I’d be willing to let more shooters serve juvenile sentences if their parents were charged as accomplices.

UPDATE 4/10/2014: Campbell has been ruled competent to stand trial.

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  • Muggle

    I don’t think anyone under 18 (okay, I’ll settle for 16) should be charged as an adult for anything. Teenagers are dumb and often don’t have good judgement. This isn’t a slam on teenagers, it’s biological fact (and I was one not too long ago). Sometimes it’s not even poor decision-making and succumbing to peer pressure and bullying that drives them to criminal behavior (or video games or whatever the media wants parents to panic about now). Teenagers feel emotions far more strongly as kids and adults do. I’m not making any excuses for any kid who thinks it’s a good idea to shoot his classmates. I’m just saying, he’s freaking 12. He’s not even a teenager. He does not even have the mental and emotional capabilities of a teenager. I don’t see the point in charging him as an adult, because he’s soooo young.

    Should his parents be charged as accomplices if they didn’t store their weapon properly? absolutely. Because they left a weapon and ammunition in a place where it could be accessed by a child. A 12-year-old IS a child.

    • edrebber

      If the weapon is locked away, then it can’t be used for self defense. The right to self defense goes back to the Magna Carta of 1215.

      Maybe we could question the parents about if they sought mental health treatment for this kid or the doctors about the treatment they provided.

      On the other hand, maybe the kid is an evil sociopath and there was no way to know what he was up to. It’s up to the authorities to sort out this kids motives and keep him locked up until he is no longer a threat to society.

      • Muggle

        His parents may also have never needed the gun for self-defense. It certainly would have been handy, but who knows? A lot of people cry “self defense” when it comes to owning guns but the truth is most gun owners just like collecting guns, shooting targets or hunting. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t question the parents as to whether they sought mental help for Mason, but if they did at one point, had any idea that he was violent, and STILL kept a gun where he could access it, they’re negligent. End of. You do not keep guns around people who will use them to commit violence, or do not understand the implication of killing something. I don’t think a 12-year-old fully understands.

        As for keeping him locked up while authorities investigate his crime and until he is no longer a threat to society, well, I totally agree with you. That’s why he’s being charged… just not as an adult.