I am not an advocate of capital punishment, but I wonder whether the people and organizations who are so anxious to use findings on brain maturity to raise the age of capitol punishment have considered the consequences of winning their case. One might argue on the same basis that anyone who has not yet reached the “age of brain maturity” should not be allowed to make potentially life-altering decisions. Should such people be permitted to volunteer for the armed services? Should they be denied access to any form of weapon? Should they be permitted to participate in any high-risk sport? Should they be allowed to operate cars and other vehicles if their immature brains could lead them to make bad, or even lethal, driving decisions? Would it not be possible to argue that such measures would protect society at large?

Lance C. Labun
Tempe, Ariz.

From the Nature Index

Paid Content