Are Teenage Boys Just Stupid?
The bell rings again this morning at Central High School, a day after the shooting that killed a sophomore, panicked more than a thousand Knox County students and their parents, and left a freshman student charged with murder.
Classes hadn't begun Thursday morning when a single shot struck 15-year-old Ryan McDonald in the chest as students gathered in the cafeteria just after 8 a.m. Doctors pronounced him dead less than an hour later at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville Police Department Deputy Chief Bill Roehl said.
Police said the bullet came from a gun in the hand of Jamar B. Siler, a 15-year-old with a troubled past. He faces a charge of first-degree murder.
Katie Allison Granju, a blogger at KnoxNews has a post on the shooting with the title, "Teenage boys are stupid" (Hat tip: Instapundit). Here is what Ms. Granju had to say:
By the time a male is about 16 years old, he has the body of an adult male, an adult male with a brain under assault by a dramatic rush of hormones the likes of which he'll never again see during any other period of his lifetime. Teenage boys are more impulsive and aggressive than any other group. WItness their penchant for crashing cars, diving headfirst into rock quarries, experimenting with drugs, and deciding to "play chicken" by draping themselves across dark country roads in an attempt to prove something to their similarly stupid peers.They are driven by sexual curiosity to the point of insanity, and they hold a misguided sense of immortality.
Yes, I'm generalizing. Many teenage boys are polite, respectful, accomplished individuals, but those of them who are are pulling this off are doing so by fighting the natural impulses to be idiots that threaten to overtake them every day.
Having dealt with numerous violent teens in my career and understanding the complexities that go into the making of a killer, I have to say that I find the sweeping generalization that teen boys are stupid about as helpful as a band-aid on a gunshot wound. What I find interesting is that this boy's own sister is on the run for allegedly killing a woman and yet, where is the similar story with the headline, "Teenage girls are stupid" by Granju? We don't know why this particular boy took another teen's life at this point. But one thing I do know, saying that "boys are stupid" is not the answer to the very complex and emotional problem of teen murder. It is merely a sexist and ineffective response to a very troubling and complicated issue.
You can read more about the complexities of teen murder in my book, The Scarred Heart : Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill at Amazon.com or download it for free here.
Labels: violent teens