America’s manifestation of an adolescent predatory generation.
There have been several horrendous tragedies and crimes involving our country’s youth lately… examples being the Stubenville rape and Ohio school shooting trial. My heart goes out to the victims (and offenders) in both tragedies.
When children are choosing to destroy the lives of their own innocent peers, society needs to take a look in the mirror. We need to reevaluate the values that we are instilling in our young. There is not a doubt that American society is going to through a crisis and our youth are suffering because of it.
I cannot begin to describe the sadness I feel for the children who were effected by these terrible events. Nevertheless, I want to write less about the tragedies and focus more on the overarching views of the general public and how their ignorance has reinforced this violence.
What really gets me are the comments that the ‘average’ American has responded with, regarding these tragic events. They are horrific. Yet, these short, anonymous blurbs are an honest depiction of our society’s belief system and moral code. As well as a devastating reinforcement of our violent and sadistic youth culture.
In both trials the victims and offenders were under the age of 17. In other words, children killing and raping other children.
Being someone who has worked with both sides of the trauma coin (youth victims and offenders), I believe that (most) children are not born to become rapists and murders.. but rather they grow up and reflect their experiences of pain/abuse/neglect onto other vulnerable people. Children are mirrors.
Let me emphasize that these violent actions are inexcusable. The point being made here is that these actions are larger than the individual and needs to be examined from a mezzo and macro standpoint.
I feel pain, sorrow and devastation for the victims. I also feel empathy for the offenders. It is my belief that we as a society failed these children. We taught them that pain and suffering is reduced (even cured) through violence and thus we as a society helped manifest a generation of predators.
The proof is in the anonymous commentary.
The majority of people responding to these trials hold two major themes, either horrific depictions of victim blaming or horrific hopes of further torture. Our average American desires to fight evil with evil. Our country is based off ‘an eye for an eye’ because it gives us a false feeling of safety. If we rid out society of one less “evil” then we will be safer, but the opposite happens. Instead, we further instill violent beliefs and values and continue to foster a world of fear.
How can we expect our youth to be empathetic, caring and safe when our society wish upon other people further rape, torture and death, regardless of of their behaviors? How can we defend punishment that meets or surpasses the crime being punished? What does this teach our society, other than more violence?
Now, I recognize that not everyone feels this way, as well as I recognize that people flee to what feels safe in a time of crisis and retreat to any form of “safety” in times of fear.. but we cannot expect our teenagers to behave any different than how we as the adults behave, teach and preach. Hell, even my fellow social work peers talk about ‘beating the ignorance out of people’ as if this might be the solution.
The answer to our violent culture and subsequently violent younger generation is not further violence or torture… The answer is education. The answer is adequate parenting and nurturing. The answer is fostering empathy for all people, especially those who feel it the least. The answer is in rehabilitation, accountability and acceptance.
The answer is hope.