[THE FOUNTAIN]The Blame for Adolescent Crime

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[THE FOUNTAIN]The Blame for Adolescent Crime

In 1997, all of Japan was stirred. In Kobe, a small city south of Tokyo, an 11-year old elementary school boy was murdered and mutilated. The murderer displayed a part of the victim's body at a middle school front gate with a written note saying, Now, the game begins.

Police and the media first presumed that an adult committed the crime, because the murderer used difficult Chinese characters in his written challenge sent to a local
newspaper. However, the criminal was only playing a game.

After one month of searching,the police finally arrested a suspect based on a report by a citizen.The heinous crime had been comitted by a 14-year-old middle school student living in the same neighborhood as the victim. The police investigation revealed that the boy also murdered an elementary school girl. The Japanese were astonished by the news.

The boy did not have any trouble at school, but he reportedly favored horror movies and often read books and comics that dealt with cruel crimes. The psychiatric examination concluded that he was fully occupied with the urge to achieve abnormal pleasure. He was sent to a medical reformatory based on the court decision.

German psychiatrist Kurt Schneider introduced the term, iepsychopathln in 1920s. He defined psychopathic personalities as isthose abnormal personalities
who suffer from their abnormality or whose abnormality causes society to suffer.lp It is certainly different from those other mental illnesses that we commonly refer to. For a while, the term 'psychopath' was not common coinage because it could have been easily used to discriminate against certain people.
The term was reevaluated in the United States in 1970s. In his monograph, Mr. Schneider defined 10 forms of psychopathic personality. They include sexual excitement, fanaticism, self-revelation, tendency to explode, lethargy and lack of will power.

The young killer in Kobe could be labeled a psychopath if we look only at the crime.

However, it is important to realize that he was a young boy in his maturing stage at that time. If violent video movies influenced his actions, then it is definitely necessary to criticize the adults around him and society before making his personality an issue.

A few days ago, Koreans expressed similar astonishment at a 14-year old middle school boy who murdered his little brother. After being arrested by police,he reportedly said, iaI wanted to know how I would feel when murdering someone.ly He reportedly enjoyed Internet sites containing cruel and bizarre content. We have to survey our environment carefully if our children.s hearts are becoming devastated without our knowing.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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