People Debate Over Punishment For Terrorizing 8-Year-Olds With Shotguns
Mar 03, 2017 10:36 AM EST
A Georgia couple that crashed an eight-year-old black child's birthday party, shouting racial slurs while waving Confederate flags and a shotgun, in July 2015 where convicted and sentenced to 13 years and 9 years imprisonment. The stiff punishment, however, is being both celebrated and questioned in a debate that touches on free speech and the nature of terrorism.
The two convicts Kayla Norton and Jose "Joe" Torres, who are not married and have three children together, committed the assault only a month after Dylann Roof shot a black community church in Charleston. The prosecutors said they were part of a white supremacist gang that targeted African-Americans with racist taunts and threatened to murder minorities.
The inputs regarding the hotly debated punishment were seen in two top-rated responses on the District Attorney's Facebook posting that announced the punishment. According to NPR, one commenter wrote, "To all the people on here saying the punishment was unjust. Let's be real, if it had been any other terrorist group committing these felonies you guys wouldn't bat an eye if they went away for life.... but when the terrorist look like you all of a sudden you have a soft heart."
Another commenter had a differing view in the debate. The person wrote saying, "Did they actually attack anyone or just guilty of being racists? Not condemning their actions by any means but I'm not sure the punishment fit the crime here. If they attacked the kids or something, let them rot, but just being ignorant racists shouldn't constitute a 20-year sentence... If everyone in Douglas County that is ignorant and racist had to serve 20 years of punishment, they will have to build many new jails."
While the assault happened in Georgia, it's important to understand that "hate crimes" statutes don't exist in the state. The punishment, therefore, was decided on the basis of the violation of Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, and "terroristic threats", according to Fox6 Now. Torres was also convicted of aggravated assault using a shotgun, hence his heftier sentence.