Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Sunday, July 24, 2005
During a segment this week on the MSNBC show "The Situation with Tucker Carlson," the discussion turned to the topic of an 11-year-old girl in Fresno, California who was arrested for throwing a large rock at a boy's head. Tucker Carlson argued that the girl was being treated too harshly, and repeatedly said things like, "She's eleven years old!" and "What kind of damage could an eleven-year-old possibly do?"

While I agree with what Tucker Carlson said about this particular case with the girl in Fresno, I have to say that Carlson is livng in La-La Land if he really believes that it's just not possible for an eleven-year-old to be violent, or to commit a serious crime. That was the larger point that Carlson seemed to be trying to make in the discussion, and that's a dangerously naive world-view to have.

In fact, people who are under 18 years old do commit violent crimes and sometimes murder, and they often get away with it just because they're under 18.

Many gangs in the United States go out of their way use juvenile gang members to carry out violent crimes or murders, specifically because they know that a juvenile offender will get a relative slap on the wrist compared to an 18-year-old who commits the same exact crime with the same exact intent.

Maybe you'll remember the case of Lionel Tate, who beat a six-year-old little girl to death in 1999 when he was just 12 years old... only to be released from prison because he was a minor and therefore he couldn't have possibly known what he was doing.

If there's anyone reading this who is thinking, "No one who is that young could possibly do something malicious like that," then you should read this post that I made on Ivan's Blog a couple of months ago:

Convicted murderer Lionel Tate, who viciously stomped and beat a six-year-old girl to death in 1999, is back in prison after allegedly pulling a gun on a pizza delivery man and threatening to shoot if the delivery man didn't hand over the pizza boxes. Tate is also alleged to have assaulted a 13-year-old boy shortly before the armed robbery took place. As you may already be thinking, the biggest question in a case like this is: "Why on earth would a convicted murderer be out on the street in the first place?"

The sick, but true answer is that if you're under 18 years old here in the United States and also in much of the world, you can get away with just about anything. If you want to brutally beat a little girl until she dies from a wide variety of internal injuries, the message that the justice system has sent is: Go right ahead! If you're tried and found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, "human rights activists" ranging from the ACLU to the United Nations to even the Vatican will cry about how you shouldn't be punished, and how surely nobody under 18 is conscious of or responsible for what they're doing. Never mind about the rights of the six-year-old girl who Tate beat to death; what's important in the eyes of these activists are the rights of the murderer. Eventually, you'll be set free and you will have gotten away with murder.

That's what happened to convicted murderer Lionel Tate after serving three years (three years!) for the murder of Tiffany Eunick, and he has now been arrested for the second time since being let go from prison. Prior to being arrested for armed robbery this week, Tate had also been arrested in late 2004 for carrying a knife late at night on the streets of his neighborhood after he had gotten into an argument with someone, which was a weapons-related violation of his probation that still didn't result in a prison sentence. Now Tate has been charged with armed robbery, as well as assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

Tate is now 18 years old and legally an adult. If Tate had committed armed robbery and assault a few months ago when he was still 17, there would be people crying right now that he's a "victim," and that he should not have to face any kind of significant punishment for armed robbery or any other crime that he commits.

Even now, bleeding-heart fools like Katherine Federle of the "Justice for Children Project" (that's apparently justice for children who commit murder, not children who are murdered) are wailing about "saving Lionel" and "rescuing Lionel." In fact, Federle took it a step further and said that the only reason Tate can't be "rescued" now is because the justice system was too hard on him previously (you know, for making him serve three years in prison instead of no prison time for murdering Tiffany Eunick). I'm all for counseling and psychological treatment in cases like this, but only in the context of the murderer still being behind bars--- not out on the street where he or she could do who-knows-what to anyone at any time.

It's not known what defense Tate's lawyers will use this time around, but it probably won't be, "Pro wrestling made me do it!" Despite the fact that it was only the position of Tate's lawyers for a few months, and it never amounted to anything other than a desperate defense tactic in court, and it was later acknowledged as a fabricated claim, to this day many in the mainstream media still use the term "the pro wrestling murder" whenever Lionel Tate's name is in the news.

You see, the first ridiculously flimsy defense offered by Tate's lawyers after he murdered six-year-old Tiffany Eunick was that he was just imitating pro wrestling. They even wanted to turn the case into a full-fledged circus by calling Hulk Hogan and The Rock to testify (about what, who knows?). After that didn't pass the muster in court, the "pro wrestling defense" was retracted, but not before the murder was forever branded by the media as "the pro wrestling murder."

World Wrestling Entertainment would later sue the fraudulent Parents Television Council (PTC) for, among other things, using the Lionel Tate case as the centerpiece of its anti-WWE campaign, even after Tate's new lawyers admitted that the "pro wrestling defense" had been a fabrication, according to a public apology issued by the PTC. (Click here to read the PTC's full "retraction" statement.)

The second ridiculously flimsy defense offered by Tate's lawyers, and the one that they ultimately stuck with, was that he leaped from a staircase and accidentally landed on Tiffany Eunick, causing her to hit her head, but he didn't mean to hurt her. That defense had no validity and was proven in court to be false by the fact that an autopsy showed Eunick didn't just have head injuries (a fractured skull and a severely swollen brain, to be exact)... she also had a punctured lung, severely bruised kidneys, a broken rib, internal bleeding, cuts and deep bruises all over her body, and a liver area that was beaten so extensively that a piece of her liver had actually become detached during the beating.

Forensic experts testified that Tate may have had to beat on Eunick for over fifteen continuous minutes in order to produce the huge variety and severity of injuries that she suffered. After the jury convicted Tate of first-degree murder, the judge ruled during the trial's sentencing phase that the murder of Tiffany Eunick was particularly "cold, callous, and indescribably cruel."

Tate was sentenced to life in prison, but later set free and put on ten years of probation when it was ruled that because he was under 18 years old, he "couldn't understand" the gravity of the charges against him during his trial. Keep in mind, this is not someone who is mentally handicapped or has a learning disorder or anything like that, nor have his lawyers ever tried to claim anything of the sort... he simply "couldn't understand" the gravity of the charges because he was under 18 years old.

We live in a world now where gangs regularly go out of their way to use juvenile gang members when there's a murder that the gang wants to be carried out, because they know full well that the worst-case scenario is that the under-age murderer might have to go away for a few years. Is that a surprise to anyone, given the example set by cases like the brutal beating death of Tiffany Eunick? If you can get away with maliciously beating a little girl to death just because you're under 18, what can't you get away with?

According to the terms of his probation, which he has now violated for a second time, Lionel Tate is technically supposed to be returned to his former status as someone who is serving a life sentence in prison. That's what should happen according to the rules of his probation and the rules of common sense, but I can't honestly say I expect that to happen. After all, Tate's case is now in the hands of the same system that failed to serve justice for the murder of Tiffany Eunick in the first place.