Murderous Children - Nature, Nurture or something else?

@lvaldean (1612)
United States
June 10, 2008 11:46am CST
There are untold numbers of stories about children that kill. I am not talking about teenagers but real children, ages 7 through 12. Children who kill or attempt to kill their school mates, their siblings, their parents. While I don't watch Dr. Phil I have a friend who does and this week he is featuring families of these violent children. Our discussion about this led me to start thinking about these children, who they are and what drives them. www.firstcoastnews.com/news/usworld/news-article.aspx?storyid=82307 The above is just a recent story of a 9 year old who attempted to kill his entire family. The truth is though that murder rates are on the rise in the under 12 age groups. What causes this? What do others believe is creating this phenomenoun? Finally what should the justice system do with these children who kill or try to kill? I am interested in others thoughts on this issue. I am interested in part because I was a victim of a violent crime perpetuated by teenagers and continue to wonder why a young person would believe that it is "ok to Murder in Cold Blood".
2 people like this
4 responses
• United States
16 Jun 08
"What should the justice system do with these children who kill or try to kill?" I would execute them when it is premeditated. Here in Arkansas we had the famous Jonesboro school murders some years back. Two kids cold heartedly executed a plan to kill a teacher and class mates. The plan even included creating a false fire alarm and then setting up a killing field ambush at the designated fire escape plan location. It was all in the news. Not in the news is what I'm going to tell you next. The first cousin of a young man I've known since he was 4 served time with the two Jonesboro killers. This cousin was respectful of and admired the Jonesboro killers. This was because in his words, because of the special attention they received at their detention facility where all of them were imprisioned together. About 2 weeks after I met this young man, he and his cousin, the young man I'd known since he was 4 killed a man. They were both convicted of murder and are now in prison. I very much believe the murder victim would be alive if the Jonesboro killers had been executed. It is a fact that when mentally deficient easily impressed people see someone get away with murder, they think they can get away with murder, too. We will never know how many other murders were inspired by the Jonesboro killers getting away with their crime.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
16 Jun 08
I am the victim of a carjacking and attempted murder. I was kidnapped and held in the car for over 2 hours before I jumped. They stopped came back and stood over me then shot two times. If you are interested in the full story you can read it at www.helium.com/users/277787 It is the featured article on my page. I have always had mixed emotions about this issue. I speak in Federal, State, and Juvenile facilities throughout Texas. I get that there are some people that are born broken. I also get that there are some who are broken through circumstance. The three who harmed me were both. The youngest was harmed through circumstance, I believe that in my heart. The oldest was born broken. The middle I don't know I think maybe some of each and he could have gone either way. All three of them though had at least one parent incarcerated at the time of their crime. I am not saying that this excuses their actions, it does not. I am saying that there is something wrong, something deeply wrong when we have generations sharing the prison yards of this country.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Jun 08
Certainly there is something wrong with generations sharing the same prison yard. People who have seriously studied these things have a really good idea why it is but do not want to be called names so mostly do not talk about it except with collegues, in private. I won't discuss it at myLot, either.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
17 Jun 08
Obviously, or maybe not obviously, I read a great deal about this issue. While I can't say I find it fascinating, or maybe I do, it is something of interest to me. My volunteer work in the prisons forces me to try to understand for myself what the drivers are. My goal is not just to beat the bejeusus out of offendors but to hopefully get them to look in the mirror. Those that are part of the program that I work in are there as volunteers as well. The only benefit they get is hopefully to learn something. They do not get a big yellow star on their prison jacket. Many of them are lifers. One of the things I always say to them is that they have to start telling the truth to their children. They aren't heros. They aren't cool. Their choices are bad choices. They have to stop being selfish and demanding to see their children every week so that their children can have normal lives away from visiting rooms. It is hard to hear for them. I know what some who have studied it say. I don't entirely disagree. But I think that povery and lack of opportunity holds the key. If we change the standard of education and make that a priority then we start to change from the bottom up. Are you aware of how much illiteracy is in our prisons today?
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jun 08
I think that somehow that front part of the brain that tells us right from wrong is not functioning for this children.Very much the same way it isn't in adults.Now I don't think they are born this way,perhaps childhood experiences have caused it.Or the childs' general disposition and the way he acted,and then in turn how others responded to him may cause this.I don't think hey are born bad,though there may be a small percentage that would have done something no matter where they were raised. A child with adhd,and maybe some general behavior problems may be overwhelming to a parent,specially if there is siblings.Then this child is always in trouble and due to punishment would often be sent to his room.Now he is being removed from his family often,yes do to his behavior but he isn't thinking that.All he sees is mom and dad paying attention to his siblings and not him.I can imagine how this could cause a certain amount of resentment to cause him to fight back. There are many scenarios that could lead up to this where it began with their behavior 1st and other people reaction to the behavior.It makes about the only sense that I can think of.I mean how else does a child come to this? Jas
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
15 Jun 08
You bring into the discussion that children are not born with "this way" but are not children born with ADHD? I personally believe that ADHD is a modern problem and has more to do with discipline than anything else. But that is an opinion not shared by many. So then the question becomes what to do with children who kill.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
17 Jun 08
I do not believe that children who kill burdened with modern problems such as ADHD. In fact I don't believe that most children diagnosed with ADHD have any such problem. I believe this is a modern socialization problem and an excuse for lack of discipline and parenting in 95% of the cases. I believe that we would rather medicate a child than discipline a child. I was recently at one of the long-term juvenile facilities in Texas doing for a Victim Impact Panel (see below for why I do these). There were 26 young men in the room. The juvenile Victim Impact Panels are different from the adult panels because the juveniles have to stand up and introduce themselves, say where they are from and what their crime is. There are no medical / pshyc problems at this facility. Here is the breakdown by age and race of that group. 7 White 2 Asian 7 Latino 8 Black 2 Native American Here is the breakdown of their crimes Car Theft (2) Assault on a Police Officer (1) Breaking and Entry (1) Assault with a deadly weapon in the commission of another crime (3) Possession and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (1) Rape 2 or statutory Rape(10) Rape 1 (5) Armed Robbery(2) Here is the breakdown of the ages of this group From youngest to oldest 11 - 17. All of the young men with Rape 2 convictions were 17 years old at the time of their conviction. I personally have issues with statutory convictions as both partners are willing and usually we are talking about less than a 2 year difference in age between them. The youngest convicted of Rape 1 was 12. Some of these young men will go on to the adult system if they mess up in the juvenile system. None of them have been found to have any disabilities, learning or otherwise. They are all tested when they enter the system. If they are found to have any problems they are moved to a different system where their problems can be addressed. While I do understand that there are times when other issues might contribute to the ability to make good decisions I don't buy the ADHD argument. Yes certainly family situations contribute to behavior problems, however many of us have bad family situations and we don't turn out to be killers.
@shamsta19 (3225)
• United States
24 Jun 08
I have often said the same about ADHD. Our solution to this growing up was an a**whipping. Not trying to be funny but I bet 90% of those cases could be solved with some tanned behinds.
@naty1941 (2336)
• United States
10 Jun 08
I wonder if it is a genetic component that makes criminals? Maybe they children show a violent tendency in their earlier years and the parents did not pay attention to it and did not seek professional help.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
10 Jun 08
I believe in reading the sociopathy on children who murder most of them have a few things in common but not all things in common. That is what got me thinking about this subject. Many of the children do show violent tendencies from a very early age. However, not all of them. Many children (teens more so) have at least one parent who is or has been incarcerated. However, not all of them. Many children have been victims themselves, but again not all of them. So there doesn't appear to be a consistent pattern that can be identified and addressed. I have my own thoughts on the issue but am hoping that others will weigh in on the issue before I state them.
• United States
30 Sep 08
There's a song that goes: "Teach you children well." I believe that each child today has the potential of becoming the next Hitler ... or Gandhi ... or Cosby ... or Mother Teresa. Especially the parents but the village of adults around them decides.