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12-Year-Olds Are Stabbing 12-Year-Olds: Are We Paying Attention Yet?

06/05/2014 08:33 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:59 EDT
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I read about a story early yesterday morning. And I thought about it often throughout the day, just shaking my head.

I seem to be doing that a lot lately -- and I don't like it.

But I have to admit, it took me a while before sitting down to write about this because I kept thinking to myself, "Should I write another piece that deals with the hideous violence we keep experiencing and hearing about day after day? What difference will it make if I do?"

Now, the last thing I want is to become jaded -- as a therapist, I often hear stories from clients about what has happened to them, about the post-traumatic stress they deal with on a daily basis -- and there are times when it makes my hair stand on end as I witness the viciousness they have endured in their lives. Sometimes that cruelty has come from their parents, sometimes from others who have been in positions of trust, sometimes from cyber-bullying that fuels their already shameful feelings about themselves.

Life has not been easy for so many of us -- and this is just our reality, I suppose. I do often wonder whether it really has to be this way, and how it can change. Sometimes I wonder if anything I do really helps anyone I'm trying to help. When I do see that I can contribute to the world in positive ways -- that people feel even a little better after talking with me -- I feel glad and grateful.

And then I read a story like this one, about two 12-year-old girls who -- with deliberate premeditation -- decided to repeatedly stab another 12-year-old girl they knew, with the intention of killing her.

And truly, I don't know what to think -- or even how to express my feelings about it.

Apparently, these girls were heavily influenced by a website they were into -- one that I don't even want to name here, just like I don't want to keep naming the other killers who have betrayed us as a society in recent years, months, weeks, and days. This information is available if you want to Google it yourself -- it's not something I wish to perpetuate.

But I will say this: there is something really sick and twisted about the people who put up websites like this, and something very neglectful about parents who don't take the time to know where their 12-year-old children are spending their time, both online and off. And yes, there are likely some mental health issues with these two girls -- or maybe they are just by-products of a society that has become so full of these kinds of lurid influences that our children can so easily get their hands on.

Two 12-year-old girls wanted to kill another 12-year-old girl! Are we no longer shocked by this?

Will it just be that girl's parents who will try -- probably in vain like all the other parents whose children have been wounded and murdered -- to get something done about this, to try to change something, somehow, so that no other children have to experience the misery their daughter is now going through?

I'm thankful that this girl didn't die, but instead lived to name her attackers so that they could be brought to justice. But where is the real justice for the culture that enables these kids and contributes to them turning out like this? And even though the victim lived to tell about it -- this time -- I can't even imagine what her life will be like going forward from something like this. I deeply hope she can get the ongoing help she will undoubtedly need, probably for a long time, to be able to recover from this both physically and emotionally, as fully as she possibly can.

I, for one, am totally enraged and sick of this ongoing violence. I wish I had answers for us about what to do about it. Maybe we need to revisit 'freedom of expression' on the Internet. But if I start talking about that, will I be the lone voice in the throngs of millions who will pooh-pooh what's happened here as just a fluke, something that doesn't happen very often?

But really, think about it. Isn't one time too often?

It could have just as easily been your 12-year-old -- daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, friend, neighbour, student. I wonder what violent travesty we'll be hearing about next.

Aren't you as scared and sick of it as I am?

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