Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Just Because"

I don't blog much these days. Get over it, I obviously have. On this I can't stay silent, I need to set somethings straight. Not to have you think the same as me, but to have you think. So, I was one hell of a teenager myself, also I am around teenagers all day in all sorts of situations. I know hundreds currently and have known, really known, thousands. I know them individually, I know them collectively. 

There has been a media blitz recently highlighting these "thrill-kills". Teens killing people for fun. No. 

Unless you believe that these teenagers, who have not lived many years, are truly evil, this makes absolutely no sense.  With each of these stories, there are people and family who claim to love these kids, so I have a hard time accepting any of them have fallen to real wickedness, lacking any morals. It is too hard to love evil. 

So, they are just going to kill people out of boredom? No way. Ironically, what bored teens usually actually do is they have sex (creating a life, not ending one); not motivated by boredom, but because it's free, anyone can do it, it is fun, it feels good, it validates them, and it even has that thrill of doing something they aren't supposed to. (Even if they have been taught it is ok, there are things that are intrinsically right and things that are wrong and if they are wrong, on some level you feel it.) Are they going to tell you all of that? Probably not. Let me tell you the reasons those teenagers would state if caught and asked why they had sex; "I don't know, just because". Or what they'd say if they cheated on a test, "Just 'cus". Or what they'd say if they were caught after stealing, "no reason". There is always a reason. They may be bored. That is not the motive though, that is an auxiliary reason they had the time to carry out the act.

Teenagers often will say limited information if they feel guilty or feel intimidated. Or if they don't trust you. Or for about a million other reasons. They don't want to talk about it. It is uncomfortable. And they are old enough to know that they don't HAVE to tell you what they feel or what is in their minds, but they are not mature enough to openly communicate if it is not to their advantage. They are in a zone that makes many lose patience with them; they have the right to remain silent and they will if not compelled. 

These teens may have killed. These stories share a common ending; someone is dead and teenagers played a part. The motivator is what is so disturbing. It is a sensational story for the media to spin: I don't buy it and more importantly, it shouldn't be sold to us. 

Instead of focusing on this notion that thrill kills are thrilling, start asking the questions. I can only hope some of these teens are being interviewed by actual mental health professionals and not just cops who get the "just because" answer and then accept that at face value and run to the media. That is not going to fix the problem. It does make it easier to sell a news "story".  It is also going to make it easier to hate the kid who did something horrific. The problem is that not only doesn't help prevent it from happening again, it doesn't help the teenager. That's right; I am concerned about helping criminals. Prison reform is for another day though. 

These are the unbelievable stories. Literally, I don't believe them. 

There were three teens in Oaklahoma who took the life of an Australian college student, prompting this to have an international spotlight. Now, not only are we selling this idea of rabid teenagers to ourselves, but to others as well. 

Another sad story out of a WWII Vet beaten to death by a couple of teenagers

And the most horrific of all, a baby dies at the hands of a teen in Georgia. This case is now in the trial phase, where a flimsy motive has been put forth (as has a flimsy defense). The point is that the trial is proving there more to it than these teens just being cold-blooded, malevolent killers. 

We have a social responsibility to hold these accused accountable, not just allowing them to give us some half baked reason so they don't have to deal with the distress of revealing why they took another life. If I am going to read, watch, listen, or consume a news story about these killings, I'd like the authorities to ask the questions that matter. Find the motive. Dig deeper. Then, I'd like the media to report on it. I'd like other teenagers to see what led these kids down a path that ended in death. I'd like to see us detect a pattern that we might be able to prevent. Instead of instilling of lack of hope onto an entire generation, learn more about them. Help them.

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