All of us in South Jersey are deeply distraught this mourning over the senseless killing of a 12-year-old girl (Autumn Pasquale of nearby Clayton) by two teenage neighbors, 15 and 17.
It's fitting to note that only recently the New Jersey Supreme Court made it harder to try
juveniles as adults. This will complicate -- and may hinder -- efforts
to bring her killers to justice. Sooner rather than later (sadly) the
vigils for this little girl will end and people will move on with their
lives. But the vigils should be quickly replaced by outrage and action.
It's time for a public outcry in New
Jersey for tougher judges, real justice and a new sense of
responsibility and accountability by parents, the juvenile justice
system, juvenile services, schools, churches and society as a whole.
People must demand action -- and that must start with the state's
highest court which has again and again sent the message that it's okay
to coddle criminals.
We must champion right and wrong and restore respect for human life.
We've been too negligent, too lenient for too long.