Kevin Rexroad, M.D., a psychiatrist in Albuquerque, stressed that the pain of divorce should not be underestimated when considering its impact on children or whether it can be factored in as a precipitant to violence. "When under stress, especially of a prolonged nature (as are most separations and divorces), the child's fragile psyche will split into two parts: a part that feels helpless (longing to have a positive parent-child relationship) and a part that identifies with the aggressor (essentiallyStockholm Syndrome; accepting a negative parent-child relationship).What the child is attempting to avoid at all costs is having a nebulous/neutral parent-child relationship.The undeveloped psyche has no resources to tolerate nothingness. (Ital. mine.)"
As Dr. Rexroad explains it, the exploding rage is partially the result of a terror so deep it is inarticulate. And it is the terror that is at the source of their behavior, the sense of being utterly alone, toes dangling over the edge of the abyss with a wind at their backs. Nothingness" Is that what it was like for the little boy in Belen?
With insights as poignant and compelling as that, it is easy to stop right there and say, "Well, that's it. That's the answer." But is it? Does that explain it all for every kid who kills?
Can children be self-interested sociopaths? Will they shoot just because they want to? Or because of some perceived gain?
The courts thought they'd seen a true psychopath when they found Jasmine Richardson--a 12-year-old girl--guilty of brutally murdering her parents and younger brother in Alberta. She had run off with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy, whom her parents disliked. She was given the maximum penalty for a child under 14: ten years.
And then there was 14-year-old Michael Hernandez, who was convicted of the premeditated murder of a classmate. He'd lured him into a bathroom then stabbed him and slit his throat. While he had appeared "so normal" to his friends and "so polite" to his teachers, his journals revealed a youngster fixated on violence and committed to plans of mass murder.
And there's the Bulger Boy Murder in Northern England in 1993, which I personally remember quite well. I still feel a physical revulsion in writing about it. Two otherwise ordinary 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, abducted two-year-old James Bulger from a local shopping area, wandered with him for hours before they beat him to death and left him on railroad tracks. They covered his head with rocks. No explanation was offered. None was ever found.
And as of November 3rd, 2009, the District Attorney has formally charged the little boy in Belen with first degree murder.
This article will continue tomorrow with Just Another Kid Losing It With A Gun: PART II