9.11.2011

Why Do Children Kill Children? Part V



By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

What is it that makes children turn to violence and kill another child?  The answers are complex and rarely understandable.  It is not unusual, that when a child kills other children journalists, media and psychologists blame the Internet, violent games, or violent movies.

When the police interrogate the child killer, they will generally tell the interrogator that they saw the violent act on a television show.  Children under the age of 10 have been exposed to violence because of social media.  This can happen easily, if parents do not monitor their children’s behavior at an early age such as allowing their child to have his/her own computer in their bedroom.  Additionally, parents must examine each book their children are reading.  There are many age appropriate books, which have been written, however they are full of sex, violence and death.

The police, who have to investigate the child perpetrator after he/she has committed mass murders of other children, fall short of why the child perpetrator violently acted out.  The majority of mass child killers take their own life, so the police have to guess why the child perpetrator did what they did.  When the child perpetrator doesn’t take their own life, they have a difficult time explaining why the child perpetrator did what they did.

Children who act out violently will target other children who have wronged them in the past.  These child victims are generally the bullies of the schoolyard and have violently pursued the child perpetrator.  Retaliation with a gun is the only way the child perpetrator can find their own kind of justice.  They have been victimized and the acting out using violence is seen as the final act.

What is interesting is most child perpetrators are white males who are diagnosed as being emotionally disturbed.  The research on these child perpetrators indicate that they come from the middle class range and the parents have provided a positive and successful life style for them.

Although little is known about why children kill children, one of the theories is that they have seen the media attention other child perpetrators receive.  This is why you see shootings, which occur after a year or more absence, and then a shooting occurs the next day another shooting incident occurs.

The arguments by those individuals who oppose the Second Amendment try to blame guns for these incidences.  This argument places blame when little is known about why child perpetrator’s act out violently with guns.

There are millions of child abuse reports made, each year, but the cases about the Internet being the cause for the complaint is seen as rare.  There are some contributory factors which produce the types of disturbance which can lead children to kill include serious physical abuse; sexual abuse; exposure to repetitive or extreme violence, which includes observing violence; parental mental illness; parental rejection; neurological abnormalities; conduct disorder; substance abuse; and in a few cases, mental illness (Cavadino, 1996).

Children killing other children are rare occurrences in other countries.  Canada has not had mass children killing children.  Children who kill are a rare phenomenon in Europe.  The problem seems to be in the United States.  The conditions in each country such as Canada and Europe are similar to that of the United States, but children do not kill other children in those countries.  This needs to be researched further as the child killings will not stop, although their appearance comes and goes with no reason or logic.

How can society make a difference in stopping the killing of children by children?  First, society needs to quit trying to make children act like adults.  Second, it is wrong to sit children into media frenzy and allow the child perpetrator to be placed on a pedestal for all to see.  Third, child protective services need to do a better job of investigating complaints of child abuse.  Too many complaints are never investigated and the needs of the child are never met.  The outcome, the child enters an adult world and becomes a part of society, which is full of sex, drugs, and violence.  This is learned behavior and children are susceptible to suggestions and identifying with the wrong individuals and groups of other older young adults.

When young children kill other children you have to ask where this child perpetrator learned this type of sadistic aggressive behavior.  As stated earlier there are no easy answers, but conjecture may find some answers.  Some people believe that children who kill children were born with an evil spirit and the killing of another child was inevitable.  This belief system falls short of what is reasonable and logical.

The environment in which a child lives in is generally the cause of the killing.  The ability to access weapons such as guns and knives makes it easier for a child perpetrator to kill.  Think about this, child perpetrators will not go to their neighbors to find out if they have a weapon; he/she can borrow to kill another child.

Some parents protect their children from gaining access to their weapons.  The likelihood of the child harming another person is minimized just by the effort of his or her parents being proactive.

What you have learned today is there are no easy answers to why children kill children.  Before the next shooting spree by a child occurs there needs to be intense research on the subject.  Developing safety procedures by educators, police, and school security is a must if innocent children will be kept from harm.  Over a period of time, these protocols and procedures will be evaluated and examined to understand if they are sufficient enough to do what they are supposed to do, protect children from children.  Society needs to continue to instill in children that harming another child is wrong.  Only time will tell if everyone is doing what is best for their children.

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