August 23, 2009
the sweet innocence of feral children
No one wants to be murdered. But it seems to me that there's something especially degrading about being murdered by a child. Even a feral child, like the 12 year old boy who is charged with robbing and murdering a 24 year old woman:
Detroit -- Trisha Babcock's dreams of becoming a nurse were snuffed out by a 12-year-old boy who police say fatally shot her during a robbery attempt.I don't know why it seems worse than being killed by an adult; maybe it's because it's so abnormal. Children just aren't supposed to be murderers. Not 12 year olds.
Interestingly, the child was already wanted -- for truancy:
Wayne County juvenile officials in June issued an order to apprehend and detain Harris because of a school truancy complaint, but the order was dismissed in July because authorities apparently could not find where he lived.6 feet 2 inches tall? Wow. It would be tough to be a teacher these days. I mean, how would you deal with a gargantuan child like that if he became disruptive in class? And what if you were the truant officer assigned to go pick him up? When I think of truant officers, I always think of poor Mr. Rooney chasing Ferris Bueller. This kid could kill Mr. Rooney with one hand tied behind his back.
There is something especially creepy about a 12 year old attacker, though, because there's no way to really win no matter what happens. If a 12 year old kid broke into my house and I fatally shot him, I'd look like the bad guy, and technically, I would have to live with the knowledge that I was a child killer.
Detroit's Police Chief says things have changed since he was a kid, and (naturally) says there are too many guns:
"I could not have been out at night when I was 12," police Chief Warren Evans told reporters Wednesday. "Things have changed."Had the kid stolen a car and fatally plowed into someone he wanted to kill, would the chief be complaining that there are too many cars?
The problem is that no one wants to blame the kid. Much of society is still locked into the myth of the "innocence" of children.
No matter how evil they are.
When I was 2 years old I was attacked by older children, who were about as innocent as playful felines, or child cadres in the Khmer Rouge. Of course, at age 2, I was not old enough to understand society's theory of childhood innocence -- I just thought the attackers were bad because that was how they had acted. Not a good early lesson, because I hated having to listen to adults deliver tedious lectures on the "innocence" of children when I knew from firsthand experience how wrong they were. (In one of life's early ironies, I concluded that it was the adults who were more innocent than the children, for the former had generally learned how to restrain their animalism, and were therefore safer to be around. And unlike children, adults spoke of and claimed to have something called compassion.)
OTOH, I guess you could say that having no feelings or compassion for other people is a form of innocence, and therefore children are innocent. But by that standard, adult psychopaths are as innocent as children.
Millions would disagree, but I think there are plenty of evil children. And they're not going to grow up to be good.
posted by Eric on 08.23.09 at 04:20 PM
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