Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground
I did attempt to use language that would indicate it as a personal opinion, rather than a sweeping judgement, but there you go.
Warning: Anecdotal evidence incoming.
Speaking as another 40+ year old, I recall when I was still in school there was a specific point where the actions == consequences dynamic shifted. For the most part, children my age had a fair grasp of where the lines were. Almost all of us also knew which ones could be pushed, and which ones to avoid like the plague. For example, none of us would have dreamed of physically assaulting a teacher.
While I was in high school, the "things you can't do to kids" message started coming out. While I agree with the spirit of the message, it's pretty clear that the delivery of the message was fumbled badly. To the point where a kid threw a compass (think circle drawing) at a teacher. The teacher ended up with half an inch of steel spike stuck in his leg, and the student got a two week holiday from school for his crimes. This is one example of many that occurred at that particular school. While I'm aware that demographics have an impact on this type of thing, the demographics for this particular school hadn't changed in the six year gap between these events, and this was a comparatively small school. Furthermore, before this point in time, even the schools in the area with the worst possible reputation did not have reported incidents of this type, however after this time, such reports have become common.
I remember many stupid pranks being performed by people my age and older. I've also heard about many other old-time pranks that may have been over the top, and involved petty larceny or minor property damage. What I don't recall hearing about regularly until much more recently are stupid pranks that led to criminal records, permanent disability, or even death.
I should point out that you latched on to my comment about actions having consequences (and specifically highlighted that young people in general, regardless of generation, don't seem to grasp it), but ignored the fact that I felt that in the specifically discussed case, that I personally think they were heavy handed.