Tag Archives: teen

About That “Satanic” “Teen” “Craigslist Killer” …

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Pretend, for a moment, that you were programming a website that auto-generated sensationalistic headlines. What kinds of words would you plug into it? “Teen?” “Satanic?” “Serial killer?” The name of some kind of tech company? (Trust me on this one; headlines that include the word “Google,” “Apple,” or “Facebook” get tons of hits). On Sunday, nobody needed a fake headline generator to come up with a story that included all these phrases. After all, Miranda Barbour basically handed the story to them.

I won’t recount the details, not only because they’ve been splashed across news sites around the world already, but because right now there’s no evidence for almost anything she claims, except for the murder of one man she allegedly killed after luring him with a Craigslist ad in which she may have offered to exchange sex for money.

Instead, I want to look more closely at what she says, and how she says it:

“I remember everything … It is like watching a movie.”

Whether or not this girl is a legitimate killer, she’s indicating a sense of being disconnected from her actions. Is she delusional? Or possibly sociopathic?

Barbour claimed she began killing when she was 13 and involved in a satanic cult.

Invariably, young women who claim they belonged to “Satanic cults” were actually brainwashed into believing this by psychotherapists. They enter therapy for a variety of reasons, including childhood abuse.

At one point, she planned to let LaFerrara out of her Honda CRV. “He said the wrong things,” she said. “And then things got out of control.”

… She said she felt no remorse for her victims and said she killed only “bad people.”

Was her alleged victim a “bad person” for “saying the wrong things,” or was it more complicated than that? It’s hard to tell, taken through the filter of a news article. But if this is truly how she feels about the situation, it’s worrisome to consider what constitutes a “bad person” in her mind.

She said she was sexually molested at age 4.

Aha, now we’re getting somewhere.

“By no means is this a way to glorify it or get attention. I’m telling you because it is time for me to be honest and I feel I need to be honest.”

The way to not publicize and glorify your actions is to avoid talking to the press. You talk to the police. You cooperate with an investigation of your claims. You don’t talk to reporters.

What I’m saying, I don’t think this adds up. I’ll be interested, in the weeks and months to come, to see how much of her story holds up.

Did Diablo III kill marathon gamer?

Recently, there was a media uproar after a Taiwanese teen died while playing video games — Diablo III, to be precise.

Apparently, the 18-year-old booked a private game room at the Tainan cafe the afternoon of July 13. He played for 40 hours straight without stopping to eat. (No word on whether he stopped to drink anything, or to use the bathroom.) Two days later, an attendant went in to check on the boy, who was resting on the table. He woke up, stood, took a few steps, and collapsed.

Some have speculated that he died of a blood clot that formed because he was sitting still for so many hours. Just like you should get up and walk around while you’re traveling by plane, the same is true on the ground.

I’m surprised more people haven’t come out claiming that video games, or video game addiction, killed this Taiwanese teen. After all, there aren’t any other activities so engrossing that people are willing to sit for many hours, right?

Video-game cafes are still a huge segment of the video-game market, particularly in Asia. I don’t know nearly enough about how they are regulated. But these kinds of deaths do happen from time to time; in February, another gamer had a heart attack after playing more than 20 hours straight. Would he have had the heart attack anyway? Tough to say. But perhaps it’s time for better regulation of these cafes — at the least, so attendants are checking on players every few hours, rather than every few days.

Horrorcore didn’t swing the hammer: teen’s music blamed for violent attack on sister

A 16-year-old UK boy has been sentenced to prison after hitting his sister in the head with a hammer. Some say his interest in horrorcore rap and the occult led him to attack. Photo by Flickr user bitzcelt.

A UK teenager will spend the next 4 and a half years behind bars after attacking his 18-year-old sister with a hammer, hitting her in the head 13 times. She was knocked unconscious, but made a full recovery.

To make matters worse, his sister’s name was first on the list of many people the teen planned to kill, including other members of his family, schoolmates, and people he knew through his family’s church.

In court, the jury heard how this teen calmly attacked his sister, “in a … manner which was chilling,” while their parents watched television downstairs. He meticulously planned other attacks, particularly on classmates. The judge would not release his name to the public, claiming the “publicity would increase his narcissism.”

Once again, we have a violent teen with all of the hallmarks of sociopathy. Shouldn’t that be enough? It wasn’t. The court also had to hear about the boy’s interests, as though they were relevant to the case:

The court was told that the boy was brought up as a strong Christian by his family but rebelled against the faith and developed an interest in the occult through listening to “horrorcore” music, a type of hip hop with lyrics on horror-influenced topics.

It’s true that horrorcore rap is influenced by horror fiction. There are songs inspired by films such as Child’s Play and Halloween, among others. For the most part, horrorcore is not a popular genre, but some acts — the Insane Clown Posse and Eminem included — have made big names for themselves. These guys are the Alice Coopers and GWARs of the rap world. The genre unwittingly linked itself to real-life violence when one horrorcore musician, Syko Sam, allegedly bludgeoned four people to death in Farmville, Virginia in 2009.

Horrorcore rap is meant to be fun in the same way watching a scary movie is meant to be fun. All of us like a little thrill now and again — even teens. And there’s not a shred of evidence that this music makes people murderous. There’s not even any evidence that horrorcore would lead someone to be interested in the occult — not that there’s anything wrong with being interested in the occult, either.

Prosecuting attorneys do their best to cast doubt on a defendant, if they think doing so will secure a conviction and prison time for that defendant. Anything to make an attempted killer look bad — including music or spiritual practice — is fair game. But that doesn’t make it relevant to the crime. All it is is character assassination, particularly once the press picks up on it. And, since this particular teen’s name is not associated with the accusations, the effect is to cast doubt on every other teen who listens to horrorcore or explores the occult. Nevermind that 99% of them will never pick up a weapon with the intent to harm another person. It’s no wonder we don’t trust our teens.

What do you think, readers? Should attorneys be barred from questioning the character of a teen accused of violence? Why or why not?