Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Homeless Beatings -- A Dangerous and Scary "Trend" for Teens

CNN.com's lead story today is about teen "sport killings" of homeless people. (Read Article.)

This is an account of the frightening and disturbing trend of teens attacking homeless people and sometimes killing them. The article's list of attacks is a shocking and disturbing list of senseless violence. The homeless in these cases did not pose a threat (in fact one was shot from a roof), and the homeless in most likelihood didn't have a fortune to steal.

These juveniles don't seem to have any foresight -- they seem to lack compassion, and they seem inhuman. A rash of juvenile crime is usually what has made U.S. society ratchet up the penalties for juveniles. It is this sort of behavior by juveniles that makes officials and the general public hesitant about giving juveniles the opportunity to be tried in juvenile court (as opposed to adult criminal courts).

In an interesting twist, these attacks are a perfect example of why the Supreme Court decided to find the execution of juvenile offenders unconstitutional. (Roper v. Simmons, 2005.) In Roper, the Court relied -- at least in part -- on the very reasons why these juveniles do such heinous crimes. These juveniles were immature, stupid, irresponsible, susceptible to peer pressure, self-centered, and ignorant of future repercussions. Science indicates that there are physical and psychological reasons for juveniles to act in this way. Juveniles' brains are not fully developed -- their planning and long-term foresight brain areas are still developing, even into their later teen years.

I just hope that if the juveniles do not have the foresight within themselves, that they'll read these sorts of stories and have the ability to reflect on the consequences of these sorts of behaviors before engaging in them.

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