Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Smart Judge Doesn't Buy Video Game Excuse for Teen Killer

Well, here's something you hardly ever get to say anymore these days, but kudos to a judge who refused to buy a teen's "defense" that addiction to video games prompted him to shoot his parents, killing his mother.

You can read the story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28623160/

Ohio teen Daniel Petric, 17, and his lawyers admitted he shot his parents back in October 2007, but they said his addiction to the violent video game "Halo 3" made him less responsible for the crime. The judge's reaction was pretty much what mine (and yours, probably) was - "WTF? How stupid do you think we are?"

Although I hate to venture into the realm of blaming the victim for a crime, in this case I can't help but think some blame falls on the parents of this kid. The report says he spent as much as 18 hours a day playing video games - violent ones like Halo. The dad was a minister and he didn't realize that violence is inappropriate - always, even in games? And who bought the games for the kid?

These games cost a lot of money, as any parent knows. Was the kid independently wealthy that he could afford to buy this stuff on his own? Probably not. Which means at some point the parents bought him his first video game and probably some of the violent ones that led to his being totally desensitized to violence.

This is a double tragedy. First that the mom died, and second that these parents created a situation in which their child would make the decision to kill his parents and waste his own life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Behind Every Teen Terror ... a Crappy Parent

Yes, here's another one that's getting media attention around the world. A bunch of Minnesota teens are facing charges that they abused -- including sexually -- some Alzheimer patients in a nursing home where the teens worked.

What elevates this disgusting story to the level of "teen terror?" Why, the public intervention of one of the fathers of the alleged teen terrors, of course.

Michael Larson, father of 18-year-old Ashton Larson, made a statement on the Today show blaming the media for "distorting" the charges against his daughter. Where have we heard THAT one before?

Like many parents of teen terrors, Larson seems to think that he's helping his daughter by blaming her bad behavior on someone else -- in this case the media for making it all up, apparently. OK, folks, for the record, being a good parent does NOT mean denying your kid's bad behavior. It means working with them to correct it and, if necessary, make amends for it.

His statement is especially stupid since his daughter ADMITTED to police several of the things she's charged with. Whatever happened to a healthy dose of parental shame? Bad enough the teen terrors have no shame, but when their parents don't either ... wait a minute. Come to think of it, maybe that's the problem in the first place. The parents have a warped sense of right and wrong, so what do you expect from the kids?

If Larson wanted to help his daughter, a better statement would have been "She knows what she did was wrong, she's sorry for it, and she's working to make amends." Now THAT would be responsible parenting.

You can read the story on Larson's Today show statement here: http://www.startribune.com/local/35533644.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUs

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby-stabbing Teen Claims She "Panicked"

I wasn't going to comment on this one since it's been widely reported everywhere, but the latest headline in this saga just chapped my ass SO much that I had to say something.

Minnesota teen Nicole Beecroft was recently convicted of stabbing her newborn baby girl 135 times in April 2007. She gave birth in her mother's home in the wee hours of the morning, stabbed her baby repeatedly then dumped the tiny, mangled body in the trash can outside the house. She waived her right to a jury trial and a judge found her guilty of murder. Last Monday (Dec. 1) a judge sentenced her to life in prison without parole.

Her excuse for stabbing her baby 135 times (can't repeat that number enough, can we)? She "just panicked." No, no, no. "Panick" is screaming like a fool, dropping the baby, dumping it alive in the trash, something like that.

Stabbing a tiny, helpless baby 135 times is evil. The kind of evil that I am sure has earned Nicole Beecroft a nice, warm spot in hell.

You can read the "I panicked" excuse and watch a video here: http://ksax.com/article/stories/S690325.shtml?cat=10230

Of course, her attorney, realizing the "I panicked" defense probably wouldn't cut it in court, went with the "she stabbed an already dead baby" defense. That's right folks, her attorney said the baby was already dead -- stillborn -- so it was OK for her to stab it 135 times.

Maybe I'm off base here, but I think anyone who could inflict that kind of damage on a newborn, even a dead one, is a seriously evil, sick individual who needs to be kept away from the rest of society forever.

Thankfully, it seems justice was served in this case. Beecroft, who'd made a list of more than 150 things she wanted to do when she got out of prison, including get her nails done, will never leave prison alive. It's that sense of entitlement to going free -- her assumption that she'd get off on a murder rap and go unpunished for this vile crime -- that raises Nicole Beecroft to the level of supreme teen terror in my book.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Teen Crashes Car, Kills 3 - Gets 30-day Slap on Wrist


File this one under how not to teach a kid to take responsibility for his actions.

Steven Badke, 18, of Smithtown on Long Island drove his car in excess of 80 mph on the Jericho Turnpike on Halloween in 2007. His car veered across the center lane and slammed into a minivan traveling in the opposite direction. A 13-year-old in the minivan and two passengers in Badke's car all died as a result of the crash.

You can read the Newsday story here: http://www.newsday.com/news/local/crime/ny-lihit045951676dec04,0,5154346.story

A judge gave this teen terror a slap on the wrist - 30 days in jail and a $900 fine. Meanwhile, the parents of the three other kids he killed get a life sentence of grief and emotional torture.

Badke's lawyer says his client is "extremely remorseful." Really? "Remorseful" in my book would mean ASKING the judge for a more just sentence, making repeated public statements apologizing to the victim's family, and agreeing to perform several thousand hours of community service.

So what's the lesson here for teen terrors? The price of a life on Long Island is apparently $900 and 30 days in the pokey.

He may be "remorseful," but at least he's still alive. More than you can say for his victims.