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How to raise a generation of feral barbarians.

By Friendly Bear  |  April 19, 2023

For awhile when I was a kid, my best friend lived three houses down the street. I'll call him "Dan."

Dan's father had been a small town boy who fell in love with a hippie girl. So, Dan's father had to live the hippie life for a few years until he could convince the hippie girl to get married, settle down, and make Dan and his siblings.

Dan's father retained a few of the hippie habits that he had acquired, but Dan's mom was an unrepentant hippie.

It was during the Vietnam War and Dan's mom kept a large poster on the refrigerator that read, "War is unhealthy for children and other living things." It featured a little girl with a daisy. Dan's mom made drinking glasses out of the bottoms of old wine bottles and "Ho Chi Minh" sandals out of old tires.

For Dan's mom, it was not really about recycling, but during her crafting she often expressed her anger at the "establishment," specifically: conservatives, Richard Nixon, the US Army soldiers in Vietnam, the USAF, upper class Americans, middle class Americans, and so forth. The candles and sandals seemed to be her venting.

I found Dan's parents amusing and got along well with Dan's dad. Over the years since, I came to regard Dan's dad as my friend and immensely respected him.

On the other hand, Dan's mom thought that I epitomized everything that was wrong with patriotism and playing with little plastic warships. She banned me from their house on occasions, once because I had a tiny plastic WWII airplane toy in my hand.

One Sunday night around 8:30, Dan's father was in the bathroom when he realized that someone had broken into their house. A minute or so later, Dan's father was holding the arm of the teenage burglar with one hand and his own trousers with the other hand.

The teenager was a 17 year old neighbor who lived in the house behind Dan's family's house. Let's call the teenage burglar Rob (sorry, I couldn't resist). After consulting with Dan's mother, Dan's father quickly telephoned Rob's family and spoke to Rob's older sister, Susan, who apologized and promised that her family would work with Rob. Susan was well-liked and very in demand as a babysitter in the neighborhood, so, she had credibility.

Dan's parents wanted to help Rob; they wanted to steer him to the right path without leaving the mark of a criminal record. But very soon after, Dan's family learned some relevant facts.

First, Rob had burglarized their home on at least five occasions. He was entering through a window in Dan's parent's bedroom and stealing small amounts of cash, but not all of it, thus avoiding detection.

In addition, Rob frequently visited his sister, Susan, while she babysat. Likely Rob was using the opportunity to scout for future breaking-and-entering. Also, Rob was probably unlocking a window to facilitate an easy entry later - he had a marijuana habit that he wanted to fund.

Rob's family really didn't care what crimes Rob was committing, they just said whatever they had to say to get Rob "off the hook" that night. Later that month, Susan replied to Dan's family's follow-up saying, "What break-in?" Rob was determined to achieve and went on to commit bigger and better crimes.

In many ways, Rob was a harbinger of the soon-to-be American approach to juvenile crime. If a person under 18 commits a crime and enters the juvenile justice system, colloquially known as juvie, they are released before they are 18, their identity is not revealed to the public, and their criminal records are sealed. Humorously, juvenile offenders themselves are frequently called  "juvies" by those annoyed with the juvenile justice system.

Juvie is perhaps no better illustrated than an event which occurred years after Rob was caught in Dan's family's home. Let's call the juvie in question, "Brutus," for his massive size.

Brutus had repeatedly been held back in school due to his poor scholastic performance. As an extremely large and muscular 17 year old with an ample supply of paranoia, Brutus had been terrorizing his 13 year old classmates in 8th grade. Brutus had openly declared that he intended to rape a specific girl in the classroom and had announced threats of severe bodily harm to other classmates. The principal had promised, or more accurately, lied to worried parents that the school system was trying to work with Brutus.

By chance, the mother of one of the students was a nurse who frequently had treated Brutus' mother. Brutus mother was a recipient of welfare and other similar programs, Brutus being just one of many children she had.

One evening, at a "street party" unrelated to school, Brutus viciously stabbed someone to death. There were gobs of witnesses and the police promptly arrested Brutus. Upon hearing the news, Brutus' frightened classmates cheered, as they now expected to live to reach 9th grade.

Brutus was charged and tried as a  juvenile, although he already was a "frequent flyer" in the juvenile justice system. The judge gave Brutus a long sentence, but therein lies a problem - Brutus turned 18 a few months later and was immediately released with an expunged record. He returned to the classroom before the end of the school year.

The juvenile justice system has evolved into a type of farm, albeit a farm that grows criminals. Juvies can enter the system, meet other juvies, learn how to be better at their chosen profession, and get out by the time they are 18, kind of like graduation.

Certainly, the juvenile justice system must have turned around some of their "customers," but what percentage? How many of juvenile offenders commit crimes after their release?

Consider "Amy," who was first arrested as a juvenile offender at 15 years old and amassed approximately 4 dozen arrests until she was in her 40s, when her criminal career came to a premature close. Amy had just finished beating a man at a gas station and was crossing the street against the light when a Toyota cut short her surely great contributions to society.

Defenders of the juvenile justice system argue that criminals under 18, and especially criminals as young as 10 or 12, do not understand the seriousness of their crimes, including murder. Have you ever noticed that these same people claim a child of 10 or 12 can "determine their own gender" or attend a drag queen strip show?

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to addressing the problems of the juvenile justice system are ignorant idealists. Trust me, I know, because I'm surrounded by them, not just in my wildly Liberal neighborhood, but in my Blue city.

Recently, when a teenager was caught on camera trying to break into a house in a nearby neighborhood, the instant response was, "The homeowners need to contact the local high schools so they can identify him and notify his parents!" (Sigh) Odds are that it's "parent" (mother), with no father to be found, not "parents" (mother and father), and I seriously doubt that she cares. No one commented that he should be seriously punished. What's more, something tells me that the juvenile justice system already has his photo on file.

At some point, the rights of the public to be safe from habitual offenders exceeds the rights of the juvies.

If America excels at anything, it's farming, and the juvenile justice system continues to produce a bumper crop of criminals.