an outward display of pent-up anger, rage, and
frustration. And a lot of young
persons are very angry these days; but so are many adults.
however, are often very impulsive and they're
capable of doing things without thinking of the consequences.
They're also not always good at problem solving and being able
to successfully fix complex social situations.
Thus acting out
physically seems much easier than trying to resolve their
problems and settle them peaceably.
the consequences for doing an act of
violence and committing a crime against someone may haunt a
young man for years to come. He
hurts himself as well as his victim.
teenagers need to be held responsible when
they act out violently. A person
who hurts or destroys
another's life must be held accountable.
Damaging the lives
and property of others cannot be allowed in a civilized
society. This needs to be emphasized.
also need to be taught to value life.
Life is something to cherish and respect.
I believe it is a gift from God, and it is sacred.
hurt upon another individual is terrible and abhorrent, and this applies even if the victim had dome
something to make the attacker angry.
no excuses for committing a crime against someone. Young
persons need to learn how to solve their problems--and everyone has problems--without bloodshed.
WHAT IS VIOLENCE?
selfishness in action. It is an attitude which says, "You hurt me,
so now I am going to hurt you,"
Other times it is random and
the result of pent-up anger and
aggression. Often violence becomes
a lame excuse to scapegoat
someone, to blame another person for your own problems and failures.
and hurting another person during the act of a crime are not signs of manhood and mataurity. Rather they
are acts of childishness and stupidity.
this before, but I wish that young persons could
see all the men who committed a violent crime and came to
prison when they were adolescents. These
guys were sixteen,
seventeen or eighteen years old when they got busted.
Let me tell
you---and I have heard the same stories again and again---they got no sympathy from the courts. Instead they
got slammed with long sentences. They've
thrown away their
lives when each of them made the decision to do violence.
one of the most horrible and unfortunate
things about doing violence and committing crimes is, as far as
you're concerned, after you got caught you realized that you
didn't have to do what you did. You
had a choice all along.
you must live with the knowledge that you
made the wrong choice. And you
will spend many years being
tormented by the reality of this fact.
It is an awful feeling.
I know this from experience.
heart has been heavy over the recent acts of
senseless violence involving young persons, and because of my
own experiences and mistakes at a time in my life when I was
younger, troubled and vulnerable, I have felt compelled to
write these pages on youth violence.
of course been a part of the American culture,
and we'd be deceiving ourselves if we said this was not so. I
grew up watching dozens of different war and cowboy movies.
But I do not believe the problem is with guns or any other
weapons that adolescents may get their hands on.
Our main problem
is with the human heart. The Bible says that the heart of a man
is desperately wicked." (Jeremiah 17:9)
This is not
a put-down on God's part. He is, however,
simply revealing a truth. And
it is not an easy truth for
anyone to accept that our heart may be bad and filled with sin.
But I believe what the Scripture says.
I believe this to be correct.
said that "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
(Matthew 4:4). Therefore,
man needs God, and our lives are
somehow incomplete without Him.
persons are, unfortunately, so caught up in the
materialism of this world, or in having to impress their peers
by trying to obtain a reputation for themselves, that they
spend much of their lives on what will ultimately prove to be
for respect and go to great lengths to get it, often to their own harm.
And in order
to get a reputation and earn respect, sadly,
many young men think they need a gun.
They think it's cool to
have one. They they're on better
footing if that steel piece is in their pocket.
But this is
foolishness and self-deception.
I believe, some of the reasons why young men carry guns:
1) curiosity, 2) Protection, 3) Self-respect 4) Power,
are obviously curious about firearms. Others
think that, since the "other dude" may be carrying a gun, he's
going to need one too. Such thinking
has led tmany deaths and
teenagers are quick to pull out their pistols in an attempt to shoot
is the delusion of self-respect. An insecure youngster
thinks that by carrying a gun his peers will fear and
respect him. That they would
stay off his path.
power. Multitudes of teens lack a sense of
identity. They believe no one
cares about them. Also, that
they have no control over things or events which happen around
them. Thus having lethal weapon
gives one a false and
obviously foolish idea that by packing a pistol he now has power.
there is old fashioned rebellion. Many teenagers
want to snub thier noses at the laws of the land, and I suppose
they think that carrying a gun is one way to do this.
No doubt there
are plenty of hard headed adolescents who
are willing to get down and dirty, and who think it's no big
deal to destroy someone's life. But
they have no idea, because
they're so impulsive and don't think things through, what
awaits them when they make that move to get violent.
the bottom line is this: Kids don't need
guns, they need God.
(c) 2005 David Berkowitz