This newest phenomenon in the world of crime is perhaps the most dangerous challenge facing society and law enforcement ever. They are younger, more brutal, and completely unafraid of the law. Violent teenage criminals are increasingly vicious. Young people, often from broken homes or so-called dysfunctional families, who commit murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and other violent acts. These emotionally damaged young people, often are the products of sexual or physical abuse. They live in an aimless and violent present and have no sense of the past and no hope for the future.
These young criminals commit unspeakably brutal crimes against other people, often to gratify whatever urges or desires drive them at the moment and their utter lack of remorse is shocking (Worsham 1997). Studies reveal that the major cause of violent crime is not poverty but family breakdown; specifically, the absence of a father in the household. Today, one-fourth of all the children in the United States are living in fatherless homes which adds up to 19 million children without fathers.
Compared to children in two parent family homes, these children will be twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to have children out of wedlock, and they stand more than three times the chance of ending up in poverty, and almost ten times more likely to commit violent crime and ending up in jail (Easton 1995). The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, reported that the rise in violent crime over the past 30 years runs directly parallel to the rise in fatherless families.
In every state in our country, according to the Heritage foundation, the rate for juvenile crime is closely linked to the percentage of children raised in single-parent families. While it has long been thought that poverty is the primary cause of crime, the facts simply do not support this view. Teenage criminal behavior has its roots in habitual deprivation of parental love and affection going back to early infancy, according to the Heritage Foundation. A father’s attention to his son has enormous positive effects on a boy’s emotional and social development.
Deloach 2 But a boy abandoned by his father is deprived of a deep sense of personal security. In a well-functioning family the very presence of the father embodies authority and this paternal authority is critical to the prevention of psychopathology and delinquency. “The overwhelming common factor that can be isolated in determining whether young people will be criminal in their behavior is moral poverty,” Parker says (Parker 1996). Psychologists can predict by the age of 6 who’ll be the super-predators.
According to experts, child abuse and parents addicted to alcohol ruins these children’s lives. Each generation of crime-prone boys has been about three times as dangerous as the one before it. Psychologists believe the downhill slide into utter moral bankruptcy is about to speed up because each generation of youth criminals is growing up in more extreme conditions of “moral poverty” than the one before it. Moral poverty is defined as “growing up surrounded by deviant, delinquent, and criminal adults in abusive, violence-ridden, fatherless, godless, and jobless settings.
The “super-predator” is a breed of criminal so dangerous that even the older inmates working their way through life sentences complain that their youthful counterparts are out of control. Super predators are raised in homes void of loving, capable, responsible adults who teach you right from wrong. It is the poverty of being without parents, guardians, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, clergy and others who habituate you to feel joy at others’ joy, pain at others’ pain, happiness when you do right, remorse when you do wrong.
It is the poverty of growing up in the virtual absence of people who teach these lessons by their own everyday example, and who insist that you follow suit and behave accordingly (Zoglin 1996). “The need to rebuild and resurrect the civil society (families, churches, community groups) of high-crime, drug-plagued urban neighborhoods is not an intellectual or research hypothesis that requires testing. It’s a moral and social imperative that requires doing – and doing now (Duin 1996). ” A super predator is actually a young psychopath or psychotic, almost completely without Deloach 3 ambition, and are often of below average intelligence.
They do not recognize, intellectually or otherwise, any rules of society. While psychopaths and the super-predator both share the inability to feel emotion, the psychopath can feign it to achieve a result. The super predator seems completely incapable of even that. More interestingly, the super predator is remarkably candid. They will more often than not admit not only to their crimes, but also as to the why. They feel as if nothing wrong was done and would do it again if placed in the same situation.
When asked what was triggering the explosion of violence among today’s young street criminals, a group of life-term New Jersey prisoners did not voice the conventional explanations such as economic poverty or joblessness. Instead, these hardened men cited the absence of people – family, adults, teachers, preachers, coaches who would care enough about young males to nurture and discipline them (Zoglin 1996). Even more shocking than the sheer volume of violent juvenile crime is the brutality of the crime committed for trivial motives: a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a real or imagined insult, and a momentary cheap thrill.
For example: a 59-year-old man out on a morning stroll in Lake Tahoe was fatally shot four times by teenagers “looking for someone to scare. ” The police say the four teenagers, just 15 and 16 years old, were “thrill shooting. ” Another example can be the case of a 12-year-old and two other youths were charged with kidnapping a 57-year-old man and taking a joy ride in his Toyota. As the man pleaded for his life, the juveniles shot him to death (Duin 1996).