24
Sep
12

kids!

Today several readers sent me links to a story about a terrible, senseless crime which took place in Sheboygan WI, where two 13-year-old boys are accused of using a hatchet and a hammer to murder the great-grandmother of one of the suspects. The prosecutor is saying the murder was premeditated and carried out so the boys could ransack the grandmother’s house in search of money and valuables. He has charged the boys as adults with first-degree intentional homicide and set their bond at $1 million each—thus proving that he is probably as brain dead as the two suspects.

“It made it onto German TV today,” Wolfgang wrote. “If true, it’s one of the worst cases I have heard of. We don’t have such cases here in Germany—and we’re not as religious as citizens in the US. I wonder why this is happening only in the US? What’s happening with that society? What’s happening to American kids?”

I’m going to address the questions Wolfgang is raising, but I’ve got to warn you I’m in a very cranky mood. I’m late in publishing this post because I crashed and burned in the early evening from too little sleep and too much nonsense in my day, and I’ve just awakened in the middle of the night from a five hour nap in no mood to suffer fools—and I sense there are a lot of them in Sheboygan.

(So if you’re in no mood for attitude, just skip this post and come back tomorrow.)

Before any opinion, though, let’s first look at the basic facts.

The murder happened a week ago today, on Monday 17 September. The victim was 78-year-old Barbara Olsen. The suspects are Mrs. Olsen’s great-grandson Antonio Barbeau and his friend Nathan Paape, both age 13. Mrs. Olsen’s body was not discovered until Wednesday 19 September, when it was found by a relative in a pool of blood in the garage.

According to the criminal complaint, Paape told police that on Monday, Barbeau told him that they were going to his great-grandmother’s home to kill her and get some money. Paape armed himself with a hammer, while Barbeau had a hatchet, which they hid in their clothing. Paape’s mother gave the boys a ride to Olsen’s home.

Upon arrival, the teens entered the house through an unlocked door to the attached garage. What happened next is unclear, but when Olsen warned Barbeau that she was going to call his mother, Barbeau struck his great-grandmother in the head with the blunt end of the hatchet and knocked her to the floor. Barbeau then delivered several more blows as Olsen tried to cover her head, groaning and pleading for him to stop.

Paape then hit Olsen twice with the hammer, and Barbeau used the sharp end of his weapon to strike Olsen in the head, driving the blade into her skull with such force that it took both boys to pull it out

Once the teens realized Olsen was dead, they dragged her body to the car, leaving a trail of blood through the house. They tried to load Olsen into the trunk of the vehicle but failed, so they left her body in the garage. According to Paape, he and Barbeau then re-entered the house and stole several items, including a purse, loose change, and jewelry. Then they got into Olsen’s car and sped off. They eventually parked the vehicle in the parking lot of a local bowling alley and walked to a nearby eatery, where they shared a pizza and discussed what to do next.

The teens returned to the car and tried to wipe off their fingerprints. They left some of the stolen loot in plain sight, along with the car keys, hoping that someone would steal the vehicle and get blamed for Olsen’s murder. The murder weapons were locked in the trunk of the car, along with a bloody piece of cloth.

Olsen’s body was discovered in the garage of her home at around 1pm Wednesday 19 September.

Police executed search warrants and discovered blood-splattered clothes and shoes inside Barbeau’s locker at the juvenile detention center (where he had been placed on Tuesday on an unrelated matter). They also found quarters and a gold watch, along with clothing covered in gore, in Paape’s house. The police arrested Barbeau and Paape on Thursday morning, almost 12 hours after discovery of Olsen’s body.

Paape was apparently the first to spill the beans while under interrogation. Barbeau initially denied knowing anything about Olsen’s death, but eventually admitted to taking part in it. There have been no reports about whether the kids’ parents or attorneys were present. District Attorney Joe DeCecco said that neither boy showed any signs of remorse.

Obviously there is much more to the story than these bare-bones facts. There’s probably a fat one-legged man over there right now prowling in search of background (and more cash-gifting prospects). Sheboygan is only 147 miles from his home.

Wolfi, you asked what is going on with American kids these days, and I offer this explanation only partially tongue-in-cheek: it’s the stupid wigger hats and everything that goes along with them.

On June 1 a writer named Michael (no last name) published an important story on a website at http://endoftheamericandream.com. The piece was titled “These Two Traps Are Absolutely Destroying The Next Generation Of Young Men In America,” and it describes two of the top five factors that are contributing to outrageous youth crimes in America.

“Have you ever noticed that our young girls seem to be far ahead of our young boys and that our young women seem to be much more ‘together’ than our young men are?” Michael asks. “Have you ever noticed how many young American men almost seem like zombies and find even the most basic human interactions extremely awkward?”  Well, this didn’t happen by accident.  “Researchers are finding that there are two traps in particular that are absolutely destroying the next generation of young men in America.  One is video game addiction and the other is pornography.”

The other key factors? Bad schooling, bad food and drugs, and bad parenting.

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Let’s briefly review these Top Five things which are destroying our kids:

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#1 Addiction to Video Games  Says Michael:In the old days, the parks and ball fields of America would be flooded with young boys after school was done for the day, but now our parks and our ball fields are very quiet.  So where did all the boys go?  Well, they are all sitting at home staring into computer screens.”

One study discovered that 88% of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that approximately four times as many boys are addicted to video games as girls are. The average American child spends 44 hours a week with television and other electronic media, which some child psychologists including John Rosemond say interferes with the proper development of neural connections and causes physical brain damage. The average boy today spends 13 hours every single week playing video games. The average girl spends 5. The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games by age 21. That’s twice the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.

I would put it another way: children are becoming alienated from the natural world and its healthful effects. Parents are keeping children indoors in order to keep them safe from danger, but they are “protecting” children to such an extent that it disrupts a child’s ability to connect to nature and is actually harming kids.

In his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv states that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors, which results in a wide range of behavioral and physical problems including ADHD, lower grades in school, and childhood obesity and diabetes. Louv proposes that “Nature Deficit Disorder” should be a recognized malady and addressed in our parenting, education, and health care practices.

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#2 Addiction to Pornography  “The Internet has improved our lives in a lot of ways,” Michael says, “but one of the very negative things that it has done is that it has unleashed a giant flood of filth into our homes. Our boys have more access to sexual content than ever before, and this is having some horrific consequences.”

Sadly, the United States is the pornography capital of the world.  An astounding 30% of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and the US produces more pornography than any other nation has in the history of the world. Many American men are so addicted to it that they cannot wait to get home to look at it.  One survey discovered that 25% of all employees that have Internet access in America visit sex websites while they are at work.

The average high school boy spends two hours every week watching porn. American men can’t escape porn: 13,500 full-length commercial porn films were released in 2011, compared with 600 Hollywood films. Researchers claim that Internet pornography is hurting young boys’ ability to form meaningful romantic relationships because they objectify their partner.

With the proliferation of camera phones, the potential danger of amateur pornography to teenagers and children has recently become apparent. Unaware of the consequences, a growing number of young people are using their phones to make “sexting” videos and images which are then shared with their friends. Images initially meant to be shared between couples can now be spread around the world. The result is now a growing amount of online amateur porn depicting underage models, created by the young people themselves. Websites featuring free user-uploaded amateur pornography have become the most visited pornography websites on the Internet.

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#3 Bad Schooling  I could write a whole book on this subject (which, in fact, is something I’m helping someone to do), but for our present purposes I’ll keep this super-short.

Since the inception of the public schools in the late 1840s, the purpose of the schools has not been education but social control. From the beginning they were based on the Prussian model, which was designed to turn out obedient workers, soldiers, and bureaucrats. With each successive wave of immigrants to the US, the public schools became more repressive as the Protestant power elite sought to suppress dangerous new ideas and shape the teeming masses into a cheap and compliant workforce—and later, into a “consumer” market that buys whatever it’s told.

Today the schools are governed by “zero-tolerance” policies and patrolled by police armed with pepper spray and Tasers. Nonconformists and other troublemakers discover that the schools are big intake drains in a school-to-prison pipeline that is creating a gigantic population of prison slave laborers who create a wide array of products for American corporations more cheaply than Chinese and Indonesian workers.

The schools are so bad that on virtually every international assessment of academic proficiency, American secondary school students’ performance varies from mediocre to poor. American students are dropping out of school in numbers so great that no one really knows the dimensions of the dropout epidemic (though it’s at least 1.3 million students a year).

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#4 Bad Food and Drugs  A growing body of evidence indicates that there’s a reason it’s so hard for so many kids to stop eating junk food—it’s just as addictive as street drugs. Researchers have studied the effects of highly processed, mostly artificial foods on the brains of humans and animals and have found that consuming high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated oils, refined salt, and various other chemical preservatives found in processed junk food does the same thing to a person’s brain as cocaine does.

One study found that lab rats high on frosting were more likely to choose sugar than cocaine, if given the option. Another study conducted by researchers at both the University of Texas in Austin and the Oregon Research Institute found that prolonged consumption of junk foods results in reduced activity in the striatum, a section of the forebrain that registers reward. In other words, just like with illicit drugs, those addicted to junk food require ever-increasing amounts of it to get the same “high.”

Since processed foods are loaded with synthetic chemical additives, they are technically drugs themselves—and as we know from the study of drugs that come in pill form, all drugs have side effects.

Researchers in Holland have discovered that restricting the diets of children diagnosed with ADHD can reduce symptoms such as “oppositional defiant disorder” in as many as two-thirds of the cases. In a study of 100 kids aged 4 to 8 years, researchers at Radboud University restricted the children’s diet to rice, water, white meat such as turkey, and some fruits and vegetables that are generally considered as unlikely to cause allergies. (Foods such as wheat, tomatoes, oranges, eggs and dairy products were kept out of the diet as they are often linked with allergies or food intolerances.) After five weeks, children who reacted well to the restricted diet went into a second phase in which different groups of foods were gradually added to their diet and their symptoms monitored to see if they worsened. The foods were different for each child, based on blood results.

Many pediatricians and child psychologists who are in the thrall of Big Pharma have resisted these findings, believing that it is too much effort to get at the cause of ADHD. They prefer instead to expose children to the often disastrous side-effects of psychotropic medications, which include violence.

(Shooter Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox at the time he and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves. At least one public report exists of a friend of Klebold who witnessed Klebold taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft. Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed.)

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#5 Bad Parenting  God knows, bad parents come in every stripe.

Overly protective parents can create as much harm as neglectful parents. Parents who physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse kids can create as much harm as parents who spoil and coddle their kids. On one hand we see that 1.3 million kids run away from home every year, and on the other hand we see that we are raising a generation of young people who do not have the capability of handling adult responsibilities and still live with their parents. Among males aged 25 to 34, 19% live with their parents today, a 5 percentage point increase from 2005. Meanwhile, 10% of women in that age group live at home, up from 8% in 2005.

Finding the “sweet spot” of parental responsibility takes a level of attention, wisdom, and self-responsibility which too few parents exercise or exhibit.

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Folks, we need to be doing a lot better by our kids in so many respects. But if we can do something about these five factors, everything else will fall into place. Let’s face it, parents. There’s an even chance your kids are smarter than you are. It will take a little more effort to keep up with them and provide what they need to turn out straight.

I’ll bet Mrs. Paape is feeling a little slow on the uptake about now for chauffeuring the boys to the crime scene. I would have acted sooner, cut off the Mountain Dew, and knocked that stupid gang-banger hat off my son’s head.

Wiggers in Sheboygan. How ridiculous. It makes me cranky as hell.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Paul Lynde, Marijane Maricle in Bye Bye Birdie performing “Kids!”

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(postscript)

Please be sure to read Frank Manning’s insightful comment to this post.

(post-postscript)

On August 12, 2013, 14-year-old Antonio Barbeau was sentenced to life in prison for killing his great-grandmother 78-year-old Barbara Olsen. Barbeau will be eligible for parole in 36 years when he’ll be 50 years old.

Barbeau’s friend Nathan Paape was convicted of murder on June 20 for helping in this attack. He was sentenced on August 13, a day after Barbeau. Like Barbeau, 14-year-old Nathan Paape was sentenced to life in prison; however his eligibility for parole is five years earlier than Barbeau, on December 2, 2043, his 45th birthday.

“Mr. Paape is the follower in this case,” Judge Timothy van Akkeren said. “I do find there is less culpability.”

Paape and Barbeau were  convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, but they can’t be sentenced to life in prison without parole because of their ages.


12 Responses to “kids!”


  1. 1 James T. Snead
    September 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    It’s a terrible sign of the times. I agree 100% on the factors leading up to this. It is just so sad to see anyone let alone children make such cold blooded decisions simply because they were desensitised by media. I know the outcome won’t be very well for these two but I hope and pray they wise up and see the error of their ways.

  2. 2 Wolfgang
    September 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the great post,

    I can’t say that the children are much different over here, here is mostly all the same regarding PC games (maybe here it’s a bit more restricted), but if the kids will get a restricted game they will find a way to get it. But I don’t know about any case that a child below 15 murders someone here in Germany.

    About those boys they wasted their live for nothing! For a stupid senseless nothing! I can’t say how angry I am about those boys because I had three great grandmothers and one great grandfather, I loved them all, I can’t understand how a kid gets the Idea to murder one of them.

    They should be punished of course! But how much sense made it to punish the boys in adult court?

    I think a lot of people like to satisfy their vengeance feelings. I’m shocked again and again when I read comments about the kids who murdered at the news sites when such a case appears.

    The question is, shouldn’t we as a society not try to do everything to get those kids back instead of throw them into adult prisons for life? We as adults are responsible for the kids, we grow them, we guide them, and each kid is the product of those who are around them. The crime they did is horrible, no doubt, but I hope both of them can be rehabilitated, but in my opinion that wouldn’t work in any adult system!

  3. 3 Wolfgang
    September 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    About the cross, I hope that God will guide the boys and their families through the next years!

  4. 6 Ann W
    September 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    As a parent of a teenage boy, and a middle school girl I have some insight into this. But first, I will start with the statement I use frequently: please don’t use sweeping generalizations about children, adults, countries, etc. American children are not all screwing up their lives in a porn-filled, sugar-addicted haze. Not all schools are bad, and not all video games are bad.

    Just like most countries, America has its share of bad parents. Take a look around. I’ve spent time living in other countries and have seen bad parenting of a different sort. Here we can be overly indulgent (oftentimes), in some other countries you will see much more rigid parenting styles. Is cold/rigid better than warm/indulgent? I have no idea, but I hope most parents are finding a nice compromise.

    While I am certainly no fan of porn, I’d rather have seen these boys sitting at their computers playing video games and looking at porn than killing people for money. We are a consumer-driven society and if you follow the Republican ideals it’s all about what I have and what you don’t that matters. Sharing and caring is called “socialism” and the programs this country has to support and help the elderly, the poor, the disabled, are called “entitlements”, and are roundly looked at by half the population as the “have nots” taking from the “haves”. Compassion is seen as weak, as shown during the Republican debate when Rick Perry was asked whether he slept well at night even if he executed an innocent person. He answered yes and was roundly applauded.

    The murder rate is down, but we are seeing more heartless people, more selfish people, more greedy people.

    We need to teach our children love and compassion. We need to teach them to be good and loving people. The rest will fall into place. Sadly, we worry too much about “the rest” and hope they will grow up into loving and good kids.

    The proliferation of guns in our country also sets us apart from the rest of the world.

    • 7 Connor L
      September 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      Well, i am from Canada and we don’t have theese types of crimes commited by children, even thow we have the same amount of acess to video games as the U.S. I whould also like to add that there is no scientific evidence linking video games to “bad” behaviours in youth.

      Of course video games can be addicting, but so can prety much evrything we come in contact with.
      do you remember when the media was saying that “Dongeons and Dragons” was devil worship? well, that turned out to be false and now adays your practically encouraged to play d&d.

      However, i do agree with you that bad parenting is a huge factor in why youth commit crimes, it reallly get’s to me when i see parents neglecting/publicly beratting thier children.

      Just thought id share my opinion, and it is just my opinion.

      • September 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm

        Connor, thank you for speaking up in defense of video games. I am not against many things that can be harmful, as long as they’re used in moderation. I love the taste of McDonalds food, but it is a very good thing the nearest drive through is more than 60 miles away. If I happen to be in a room where a television is on, I can’t take my eyes off the damned thing, no matter what crap is being aired. That’s why I don’t have a satellite dish, otherwise I would be poisoning my brain each and every day and not writing the blog. Life is a matter of choices, but free choice is hard in the outer world.

  5. 9 Connor L
    September 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    thanks, and your right, free choices are hard to come by, even in our two countries that proclaim proudly that there free.

  6. 10 MichaelT
    September 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Uh, what a horrible situation. More thrown away kids. If you do the math, each generation from the great grandmother down to the kid averaged just over 20 years, not promising if you expect great parenting.

    That DA looks like a real piece of work. Another one who somehow thinks 13 year old kids are adults. It’s interesting that they have been charged with 1st degree homicide, and not murder 1. Surely the recent SCOTUS ruling would take away the life without parole option in this case?

  7. 11 Frank Manning
    September 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I have volunteered with incarcerated juvenile delinquents for 10 years now. Interacting with these kids has given me some insights into how they think and why they have done the sometimes terrible things they have done.

    Contemporary American society is an extreme example of a consumerist society with few ethical or moral constraints on the accumulation of wealth and the acquisition of material goods. Advertisements in the mass media encourage kids to want such things as sneakers and jeans that cost $200 a pair. From an early age the kids are indoctrinated into believing that they are entitled to have such things. At school, kids who don’t have the coolest and most expensive clothes, shoes, cellphones, etc. are mercilessly teased and humiliated by the kids whose parents can afford to buy them these items. Many of these “have-not” kids grow to resent the more affluent kids, and also their own parents for not providing them with these luxury items that they think everybody else has.

    Many of the delinquents I have come to know and love never received consistent upbringing in ethics and morals. Yes, they have been taught such things as the Ten Commandments and other basics of morality, but they have observed that the adults in their lives rarely practice what they preach. They see the adults who are their role models assault and steal from each other, and learn from them that it’s all right to take from others, to lie and cheat, to use physical violence to impose their will on another person. The negative lessons they’ve learned from the adults around them are often reinforced by popular culture, especially movies they see and the music they listen to. So many of the kids I’ve worked with have one or both parents either in prison or engaging in criminal activities such as drug dealing or store theft.

    These kids need positive people in their lives to turn them around. One of my stepsons, who is now 25 yrs old, served 9 months in a juvenile prison here in Washington for almost beating another boy to death when he was 14. He had a lot of repressed anger from some early childhood incidents, and when he got drunk he would take it out violently on people who crossed him. I met him for the first time when he was released, and worked with him on many of his issues. One day I asked him if he would beat up someone who stole from him, and he said “No, I have a conscience now.” See, they can be turned around!

    I don’t know how or why those boys in Sheboygan decided to kill and rob the great-grandmother. Maybe they felt they were deprived of “cool” stuff and were entitled to steal money and valuables from the old lady to satisfy their need for material goods. Maybe one or both of them have some sociopathic tendencies. These cases are not common, and are not confined to the United States. We all remember the two 11-year-old English boys who kidnapped, tortured, and murdered 3-year-old James Bulger. Many cases of kids killing other kids in the old USSR are now coming to light.

    So, a consumerist society that encourages kids to acquire things by any means necessary is part of the explanation. Observing the adults in their lives engaging in immoral and criminal activity is another part. Desensitizing kids to the suffering of others through violent video games and rap lyrics and teaching them to objectify other people through pornography are more ingredients in this witches’ brew. Part of the antidote is to show kids by concrete example that the acquisition of more and more material goods is not the ultimate goal of human existence. Another part is to teach kids empathy for others, again by concrete example. It’s not enough to preach this stuff to them; we must practice what we preach.

  8. October 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

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