February 24, 2005

Extreme Teens

There have been a raft of stories of amazingly brutal instances of teen or young adult violence and murder around the area lately.

These include the murder, attempted incineration, and dismemberment, of 16 year old Adrianne Reynolds in Moline by other teens, one of whom, 16 year old Nathan Gaudet, plead guilty yesterday, a case where one teen murdered another teen by stabbing him 111 times (!) while another teen held the victim down in Burlington, IA, a double murder in Muscatine of two young victims only blocks from where a 22 yr old boyfriend of a young woman murdered her 2 year old child not long ago. (no age has been reported on the suspect in the double slaying)

Obviously, this is of concern. But does it represent a rise in violence and even murder among young people? Is this something people should wring their hands and panic about? Haven't we been down this road before? It seems not that long ago that we were in the grips of a purported epidemic of teen violence according to the press and politicians and professional moralists.

What, if anything, could be thought to be the cause? And what, if anything, can be done? Should politicians jump into the act? Should people freak out as if it's only happening in this area, or is it a national trend, or no trend at all? And what are the limits to what legislation can do to deal with these incidents? After all, isn't the blame to be laid ultimately on the guilty themselves for being amoral sociopaths?

Your thoughts?


At 2/24/2005 6:44 PM, Blogger latinv said...

As a parent of a teen these stories reinforce what I taught my child, and what my parents taught me. Know where your child is at all times, and know who your childs friends are; as well as your childs friends parents. I know its old fashioned, but it worked for me, and is working for my children.

At 2/24/2005 7:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The Dope agrees 100% with LatinV. Good parenting is key. And you can't legislate good parenting.
That said, it is not unknown for parents to do all they could to be good and responsible parents, and the child still goes off the tracks.

So the problem becomes, what does society do with "at risk" kids who through no fault of their own, find their upbringing in the hands of people who are incapable of being even marginally good parents?
Many kids are in the custody of parents who are addicted, insane, just plain stupid, or all three. Or the single parent has to work and is absent much of the time. There's many, many situations and reasons a child or teen can have a lack of good supervision and guidence.
But what is our responsibilty here?
And for that matter, can we do anything about kids that come from supposedly good homes that are simply nuts or nihilistic to the point of being dangerous?

At 2/25/2005 1:18 AM, Anonymous Blue State said...

I think the problem of violence committed by teenagers against other teenagers has gotten worse, although I don't have statistics tonight. The nature of the crimes have gotten worse, as teens are crossing the boundaries that used to keep them from committing such horrific crimes (dismemberment, stabbings, etc.).
We probably have too many latch-key kids and too little supervision, we probably have an economy that needs a boost and fewer excessively violent video games that too many parents use as babysitters. The causes are complex, of course, but something has to be done.

As the parent of three young children in the Quad Cities, I am not satisfied with the current quality of life some of our children live in. I am not satisfied with the number of child abuse cases.

I think the "DOPE" has hit one of the most important topics ever. Forget politics, let's talk about the victims of violence and culture of violence perpetrated by television and video games. On this issue, I stand with Senator Joe Lieberman.

At 2/25/2005 1:52 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You mean the Republican..er Democrat senator from CT? The one so busy kissing Bush's ass that if Bush stopped short they'd have to yank "Joementum" out by his ankles?


Leiberman is an absolute embarrassment to the entire party.

Disturbed teens committing violence is certainly a serious subject, but most important topic EVER?

And it's impossible to "forget" politics. EVERYTHING is political, once you get down to it. Anytime two people have differing ideas on how to spend or use resources, or are in competition for anything, it's politics.

Unless of course you hope to start a primer on good parenting. But fortunately, most people already know the basics there.

Anyway... I'm glad to hear that you're not satisfied with the situation. But aside from mouthing a lot of words about the problem on panels and in the media, etc, what concrete steps can be taken? Or does it require any further action at all?

The Dope thinks that perhaps those on the front lines of these problems should be better supported i.e. social services agencies. They are the ones that know the families, know the kids at risk, and realize the true size of the problem.

And they are usually the first places that get their budgets cut, and those doing this hard, frustrating, and thankless work are notoriously underpaid.

People demand to be safe from violent teens, and don't like their comfortable lives being disturbed by hearing about it, yet howl if asked to pay more to improve these social services. Programs are swamped and totally inadequate to deal with the scope of the problem.

And with the policies of the Bush administration only accelerating the already wide gulf between rich and poor, these poverty related problems will only grow larger.

It's an enormous subject, but anyone with any bright ideas or thoughts on the subject are welcome to put them forward.

Any real solutions?

At 2/28/2005 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the answer is in you dope

At 2/28/2005 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


you should be counseling troubled teens starting tomorrow! what do you do for a living? get on that project. is there anything more important?

At 3/01/2005 12:14 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for asking anon. While I'm not about to tell you what I do for a living, since you're offering me suggestions on what I should do, might I suggest that YOU are the one best qualified to counsel troubled youths. They could learn how to be a cynical wise-ass that doesn't give a damn about anyone else's welfare and mocks anyone that does. Oh wait, that's the immature attitude that makes these teens such a pain in the ass to begin with. Never mind.

At 3/01/2005 11:41 AM, Anonymous Peter Frampton said...

Oh, my gosh Dope, you took my message the wrong way. I truly believe that you might have the talent and insight needed to help our very troubled teens in the QCs.
You seem to grasp all of the factors that are contributing to their problems these days.

This is not smart aleckry, this is an honest appraisal of your talents via the blog site you run and I think you coould be a good conselor.

At 3/01/2005 1:16 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The Dope is skeptical of your sincerity and is in a sour mood due to other comments.

As to my working in this area, simply recognizing the problems involved does not qualify a person to be a counselor.

And besides, to paraphrase Dick Cheney when he was asked why he didn't serve in Vietnam, "I have other priorities."


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