Today, I read an article about a convicted murderer who supposedly was mentally ill because he witnessed his brother being killed by two cruel teenagers over nothing when he was a kid. Their victim was a 5 year-old boy who refused to steal for the two thugs. But is it not more complicated than that? The author of the article suggests that this story alone and the survivor him being left alone with this experience was the trigger for his later conviction. But where does it start?
The two thugs supposedly had an IQ significantly below average, which is stated to be an important fact, but how do you measure a person’s intelligence? What did they experience in their early life to become selfish and cruel? They probably grew up in the street and who tells their story?
In life, we are faced with choices every day, choices between good and bad. What makes the 8-year-old who when he was 24 tried to murder a human being the victim and the two thugs who killed a boy when they were 11 and 12, kids, half as old as the recently convicted murderer, the criminals?
What gives the author the right to select this person as good and others as bad? Are some people born bad and some good? Are some people drawn to crime whereas others are good from the beginning? The author suggests that by telling us the story of the good 5-year-olf that dies and his by relation also good brother. But if this was true, how could this one act make that boy bad? Why where there no relatives that took care of him so that this incident could be processed?
Are we born to be good or bad?
Genetics can determine our characteristics to an extent, e.g. perseverance, intelligence, drive and what our prominent senses are, but it comes down to the relations we have, this is what determines if we are good or bad, the first 6-8 years of our life are when our brain grows most. Permanent structures and behavioral patterns also form during this period. This article suggests that those two pre-teenage thugs are bad because they are homeless ghetto kids, but what happened to them during their first years? The most unstable financial and social situations are found with single mothers in ethnic areas. Yet those single mothers are the main source for new lives in this country where those kids grow up unsupported, on the street with their mothers incapable of providing financial and emotional support. Now when we read that article we identify with the 5-year old victim and say that those are bad people but what did we do to prevent any of this? What do we do to prevent things like this from happening in the future?
We read this article, shake our heads and move on, but then what did this young boy die for? He lived in the same neighborhood as those thugs and his brother, he was five years old and when he was threatened and had to be scared for his life he refused to give in. Was this boy better than most of us, was he better than you at five years of age and being raised in a poor area? What does that tell you about yourself?
Every day we are faced with choices and most of the time we chose to look away or do what we are told. Maybe this would have been the right thing to do for the kid, maybe it would have kept him alive and his brother sane.
But what kind of world does that define?
How does this picture reflect on yourself?
Read it. Make up your mind: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/03/13/greene.boy.murder/index.html