.. ks the intelligence or the “masking capabilities” of the psychopath to achieve success outside of the criminal world. (9) The “super predator” is not psychotic. Psychotics are largely out of touch with reality. They suffer from delusions, hallucinations, or other disordered states.
They are often found not guilty of crimes they commit by reason of insanity. (8) Today, especially in the inner cities, children, in the age ranges of 5 to 9 yrs of age, are all to often left to their own devices. They spend much of their time hanging out on the streets or soaking up violent TV shows and violent rap music, they have easy access to guns and drugs, and can be extremely dangerous. By the year 2005 they will be teenagers–a group that tends to be, in the view of Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, “temporary sociopaths… impulsive and immature.” There are currently 39 million children under 10 in the U.S., more than at any time since the 1950s.
“This is the calm before the crime storm,” says Fox. “So long as we fool ourselves in thinking that we’re winning the war against crime, we may be blind sided by this bloodbath of teenage violence that is lurking in the future.” Nearly all the factors that contribute to youth crime -single-parent households, child abuse, deteriorating inner-city schools – are getting worse. At the same time, government is becoming less, not more, interested in spending money to help break the cycle of poverty and crime. (6) — Some Statistics On The Rise Of Juvenile Crime. * The number of juvenile murderers tripled between 1984 and 1994.
* Youthful murderers using guns increased four-fold over the same period. * Juvenile gang killings have nearly quadrupled between 1980 and 1992. * In 1994, eight in ten juvenile murderers used a firearm, up from five in ten in 1983. * The number of juveniles murdered increased 82 percent between 1984 and 1994. * The nationwide juvenile arrest rate for violent crimes increased 50 percent between 1988 and 1994.
[ Source: U.S. Dept. Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency More Statistics ] * Over the next ten years, the population of 14 to 17 year olds will grow 23 percent, and the current generation of juveniles has already brought us the worst juvenile crime rates in recorded history. * Since 1965, the juvenile arrest rate has more than tripled, and over the last ten years the homicide rate has more than doubled among 14 to 17 year olds. * During the 1980s, the white juvenile crime rate grew twice as fast as the black juvenile crime rate, and from 1983 to 1992, the arrest rate for murder grew 166 percent among blacks, but also grew 94 percent among whites. The increasing juvenile murder rate coincides with an increase in “stranger murders,” suggesting juvenile predators are less discriminating in their targets.
* While in the past most murders occurred between family members and friends, the FBI recently reported that 53 percent of homicides are committed by strangers. * “Stranger murders” are now four times as common as killings by family members. * Perpetrators of stranger murders have a better than 80 percent chance of not being punished. Source: Andrew Peyton Thomas (Assistant Attorney General for Arizona) — Local police, prosecutors, and inner-city preachers know that the kids doing the violent crimes are more impulsively violent and remorseless than ever. For instance, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham who sits on the Council on Crime in America, speaks of the frightening reality of elementary school kids who pack guns instead of lunches. Likewise, Dan Coburn, a former Superior Court Justice and Public Defender in New Jersey, recently wrote that “This new wrote horde from hell kills, maims, and terrorizes merely to become known, or for no reason at all.
These teens have no fear of dying and no concept of living.” Even maximum-security prisoners agree. When asked by Diiulio what was triggering the explosion of violence among today’s young street criminals, a group of long- and life-term New Jersey prisoners did not voice the conventional explanations such as economic poverty or joblessness. Instead, these hardened men cited the absence of people – family, adults, teachers, preachers, coaches- who would care enough about young males to nurture and discipline them. In the vacuum, drug dealers and “gansta rappers” serve as role models. “I was a bad-ass street gladiator,” one convicted murderer said, “but these kids are stone-cold predators.” (10) Even more shocking than the sheer volume of violent juvenile crime is the brutality of the crime committed for trivial motives: a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a real or imagined insult, a momentary cheap thrill.
For example: — * A 59-year-old man out on a morning stroll in Lake Tahoe was fatally shot four times by teenagers “looking for someone to scare.” The police say the four teenagers – just 15 and 16 years old – were”thrill shooting.” * A 12-year-old and two other youths were charged with kidnapping a 57-year-old man and taking a joy ride in his Toyota. As the man pleaded for his life, the juveniles shot him to death. * A 14-year-old boy was murdered while trying to reclaim a $2,500 stereo system he had received from his grandfather. Five juveniles, ranging in age from 15 through 17 years, were charged with the crime. (10) — Profiles In every community, roughly 2 percent of the juvenile offender population is responsible for up to 60 percent of the violent juvenile crime. Only 25 to 35 juveniles in every 100,000 members of the population will engage in criminal activity that matches the Serious Habitual Offender pattern.
Based on criteria developed by the Reagan team at the Department of Justice, this means that 0.03 percent to 0.04 percent of all juveniles between 14 and 17 years old will be SHOs. A profile of a Serious Habitual Offender was collected from data collected and analyzed by the Reagan Administration team at the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1980s presents a graphic portrait of the serious habitual offender: The typical SHO is male, 15 years and six months old. He has been arrested 11 to 14 times, exclusive of status offenses, and five times for felonies. He comes from a dysfunctional family; and in 46 percent of cases, at least one of his parents also has an arrest history.
He has received long-term and continuing social services from as many as six different community service agencies, including family, youth, mental health, social services, school, juvenile, or police authorities, and continues to drain these resources for years before he is finally incarcerated as a career criminal. The typical SHO’s family history follows a classic pattern of social pathologies: 53 percent of his siblings also have a history of arrest; and in 59 percent of these cases, there is no father figure in the home. The absence of a father is particularly destructive for boys; only 2 percent of SHOs are female. Furthermore, 68 percent of these offenders have committed crimes of violence, 15 percent have a history of committing sex crimes, and 51 percent have a reported missing or runaway record. If a broken family characterized by physical or sexual abuse is an early indicator of criminal behavior, then virtually all of these serious habitual offenders fit this category.
These findings are consistent with the Heritage Foundation’s widely reported analysis of the true root causes of violent crime, particularly the crimogenic conditions associated with broken or dysfunctional families. (10) — * SHOs do not consider the crimes they have committed to be all that bad. * Forty-five percent are gang members, 64 percent associate with other serious habitual offenders, and 75 percent abuse drugs. — Recent studies show that illegal drug use among the young is on the rise and a significant majority of all present day SHOs -“Super Predators”- use or sell illegal drugs and often become addicted themselves. Illegal drug use and alcohol abuse tend to be regular features of their criminal conduct. Drugs, in particular, are part of the criminal scene of these juvenile offenders, and the use and sale of drugs contributes significantly to a SHO’s other criminal activity.
The need to purchase illegal drugs, combined with the warped hedonism of the addict, shapes and drives much of the criminal activity of this class of criminals. Conclusion: Juvenile crime and violence is on the rise. Many criminologists are calling it an epidemic, a ticking time bomb, the calm before the storm and a long descent into night, you choose the cliche’. The reasons for this rise in teen crime seems to have its roots not so much in poverty as it does to poverty of values. Experts like John DiIulio and James Q.Wilson believe that the cure lies in a renaissance of personal responsibility, and a reassertion of responsibility over rights and community over egoism. There is definitely a need for more study on the new breed of teen criminal -“the Super Predator”- But we don’t need yet another library full of jargon-riddled criminology studies to tell us what the Roman sages knew: what society does to children, children will do to society.
While most in the education as well as the psychological fields blanch Whenever the terms values, church, responsibility, and family, are bandied about. But the inescapable reality is that since the sixties, when these terms were castigated and relegated to “being quaint”, we have witnessed an incredibly fast and pernicious rise in the types of pathologies that have accompanied the decline of the family structure. While I am by no means a religious zealot, it seems to me that government has been a poor substitute for the family and the church in teaching basic core values. Government certainly has a role to play financially, but the strictures and the applications of any type of largess need to come from Community leaders or clergy members who have a real stake in the community. While it is tragic that there seem to be a large number of”lost youths” mired in a life of crime and violence, the safety of the community, especially the children in the community, should be the primary concern. While I agree with John DiIulio, that we need more churches, I also feel that if more jails need to be built to house young thugs, build them.
If children as young as 7, 8, or 9 yrs of age need to be incarcerated like adults, do it. While this may seem harsh, I believe that it is the only way to prevent further decay. With harsher enforcement of laws towards violent minors enforced, attention can be paid to addressing the ills that create the problem; family decay. More attention needs to be paid to the people who actually live in the communities affected. We must deal with this problem of the “super predator” teen thug swiftly and harshly, before it’s too late to save the children in danger of falling in with or becoming victims of crime themselves. — Bibliography 1- Ethnic NewsWatch SoftLine Information, Inc., Stamford, CT 2- F.R. Duplantier, The Importance Of Fathers 08-16-1995, HERITAGE FOUNDATION HOME PAGE 3-Worsham, James-Blakely, Stephen-al, et, Crime and drugs., Vol.
85, Nation’s Business, 02-01-1997, pp 24. 4-Julia Duin, Alarm over crime puts focus on nation’s `moral crisis’., The Washington Times, 11-17-1996, pp 31. 5-Parker, Shafer, Violence with a youthful face., Vol. 23, Alberta Report /Western Report, 06-17-1996, pp 27. 6- Richard Zoglin Reported By Sam Allis/Boston And Ratu Kamlani/NEW YORK,CRIME: NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS: A TEENAGE TIME BOMB., TIME, 01-15-1996, pp 52+. 7-NINA J. EASTON, The Crime Doctor Is In; But Not Everyone Likes Prof.
JohnDiIulio’s Message: There Is No Big Fix; Home Edition., Los Angeles Times, 05-02-1995, pp E-1. 8-Paul Kaihla, NO CONSCIENCE, NO REMORSE. MACLEAN’s 1/22/96 9- William J. Bennett, John J. DiIulio, Jr., and John P. Walters BODY.