Kill a Monkey, Save Yourself

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Boys Who Act Like Men

Savona, NY, Eric Smith, 13, cut off four year old Derrick Robie on his way to a park recreation program and offered to show him a shortcut. Derrick went with Eric hesitantly but unfortunately never arrived at the park. Later that day the Derrick's body was found just outside the park brutally beaten (Wartik 98).

Controversy exists of whether a juvenile delinquent should be punished the same as an adult would. Anyone who commits capitol crimes, including teens, should be penalized to the fullest extent of the law. Age should never become a factor when it pertains to serious crimes. Many researchers claim that the child does understand their misdeeds or that they were brought up to think that their behaviors are acceptable or justified. There may be some truth to those claims; however, the reality of the issue is far more complicated. Therefore the question becomes: should childhood offenders of capitols offenses be treated as adults? The answer should be definitely. If they are willing to make conscious decisions that put others in harms way then they deserve the adult punishment that follows.

To begin with, there are countless reasons for why a children act in the manner that they do and why they continue to put forth such dangerous and even fatal tactics. Research identifies that factors ranging anywhere from inherited traits to complications suffered while in the womb can significantly increase the odds that a child will become violent (Johnson 234). Experts argue that no one is fated to a life of violence, misdeed, or delinquency. They believe that parents who expose their children to frequent abuse, intense neglect, poverty, media violence, and access to guns play a role in molding children into criminals. The father of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer questions, "If potential for evil is in the blood that some of us pass on to our children" (Wartik 23).

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both ten at the time, of Liverpool, England, made global headlines in November of 1994, when they were convicted of murdering James Bulger, age two. The two boys, allured James away from his mother in a shopping center, took him to a nearby railroad track, brutally beat him and left him on the tracks to be cut in half by the a train (Wartik 56).
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Many experts do not agree that biology alone produces children who murder. They believe that violence is a trained behavior. It's a simple argument of nature vs. nurture. Some believe being abused or observing domestic violence is a nature factor in juvenile violence. Being mistreated or neglected is clearly another factor. The majority of murderers come from violent and terrible childhoods. Birth complications also raise the probability that a child would have a unlawful record by the time they would turn eighteen. Nurture is also key in molding young children (Wartik 45).

In a 1988 study of ...

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