Can we believe it when we hear about two fifth-graders, ages 10 and 11 plotted to rape and murder a female classmate?
This past February two fifth-grade boys concealed a semi-automatic handgun, a full ammunition clip and a knife in their backpacks as they rode their school bus headed to Fort Colville Elementary School in Washington State.
Fortunately, a fellow student saw one of the weapons and alerted school personnel.
When questioned by school authorities and the prosecutor, the boys admitted their detailed murder plot in a shocking handwritten note that included seven planned steps to carry out the killing — including one boy’s intention to rape and stab the female victim. According to one of the boys, he wanted his female classmate to die because “she’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends.” The plot also alleged the boys’ intention to harm or take the lives of several other students at Fort Colville Elementary School.
Both boys were subsequently arrested. Despite their ages, a judge deemed both boys fit to be tried as juveniles.
According to prosecutor Tim Rasmussen, the boy’s note indicated that he viewed rape not as a sexual act — but a display of strength and power.
Stevens County Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson determined during the hearing that the boys had the capacity to understand right and wrong.
The boys have been expelled from the school district indefinitely. A status hearing is set for April 8.
One must ask – where did these young boys learn how to plot such egregious acts?
Was this learned at home? Did they see it in a movie? Did they learn it from violent video games? Or did they simply hear about it in the media?
No matter how children learn this behavior and actually plot to harm and kill others, we have seen an empathy and compassion deficit among our youth, particularly amongst our middle-schoolers.
Empathy and compassion deficit is a pervasive and overlooked condition which has profound consequences for the mental health of both individuals and society …especially our children.
Do these boys suffer from this deficit? We don’t know.
We do know that crimes committed by children have increased in our country. Whether kids have the capacity to understand right from wrong, they are sadly being failed by many.
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Ross Ellis is also the Examiner for:
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