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Why DO Young People
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Why DO Young People "Go Bad"?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

How does a parent detect symptoms of juvenile delinquency in his child? What are the causes of delinquency? Who is to blame for the tremendous rise in child crime? Does delinquency occur in more well-to-do families? Is corporal punishment dangerous? Millions want to know! Here are the REAL answers!

   "YOU'VE killed me! You've killed me!" screamed the mother of a 16-year-old boy, as she leapt out of bed from a sound sleep, a.22 caliber bullet in her heart. Moments later she died another victim of a blind, unreasoning, useless, seemingly insane killing by a mere youth her own son.
   The boy explained. He had wanted $35 for a used car. His mother refused to give it to him. So he killed her.

And Around the World

   In Sydney, Australia, recently, four youths spotted 55-year-old William Henry Hill sleeping on a public bus. They poured alcohol on his clothes and threw matches incinerating him where he sat!
   A dance at Folly Beach, South Carolina, erupted into a chair-smashing, fist-slinging, screaming melee among 5000 persons when the bandleader failed to make a scheduled appearance.
   In San Francisco, California, one high school student was killed and another was wounded by a hail of bullets fired from a car into a crowded drive-in restaurant.
   Police said the shooting may have erupted among a few Balboa High School students from two neighborhoods representing markedly different economic levels. Rodney Garcia, 17, was killed. John Santiago, 16, was shot in the thigh with a.22 derringer-type pistol. He was taken to a hospital where he told police: "This car... drove up and opened fire... wild fire... they were shooting at random, at anybody. I never saw any of the six before."
   When police chased a late model sedan, halting it within minutes of the shooting, they found six boys, ages 15 to 20 all of Berkeley. A sawed-off shotgun was found in the trunk of the car and at least a dozen spent pistol or rifle shells were found inside.
   At almost the same moment, police said two youths who became angered when they couldn't listen to their favorite records at a party, rode up and down the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, firing at "everything that moved." Five persons were wounded. Police arrested and charged them with assault with intent to murder. Authorities said the two had a shotgun and a rifle in their possession when they were arrested. A detective said the two youths had left a party following a dispute over what records to play, went home for guns, and "came back and just started shooting." All the victims were innocent bystanders having had nothing to do with the selection of the records at the party!
   But WHY? Why is everyone so on edge today? Why are so many thousands so prone to eruptive violence with little or no provocation? Why do mere youths so often go berserk? Why the summer "beach parties"? The panty raids? The "Filthy Speech Movement" on Berkeley's U.C. campus?
   Can any sane, sensible, logical answer to these hideous acts of depraved bestiality be given?
   Is there any really simple answer to the causes of juvenile crime and violence? Or are the answers ascertainable only at the end of an intricate maze of tangled and complex psychological problems?
   Can you, as the average working man, housewife, white collar worker, educator, or teenager get the REAL ANSWERS to the mounting violence among youths today? Or are the answers reserved for those who are specialists in the field of child criminology social workers, teachers and psychologists.
   Too many people are eager to believe there are no concrete answers to anything. You're living in the age of an eager sharing of "opinions," but an almost pathological fear of being positive or absolute about anything!
   Currently, educators are telling students there ARE no absolutes! Indoctrination for various classes in colleges and universities usually include a lot of mind conditioning about the utter inaccessibility of anything called real TRUTH! Students are conditioned to failure before they start. They are told there simply ARE no concrete answers to the big questions in life no absolutes no positive TRUTHS!
   Armed with this little bit of insanity, the average student of law, sociology, science or history finds himself lost in a maze of complex, interwoven, intricate and difficult-to-research problems convinced before he begins that he will never find anything that is absolutely true, or decisive!
   Most parents find themselves bewildered by the continuing din and screech from child psychologists and sociologists, criminologists and law enforcement agents about juvenile delinquency.
   Most seem convinced it is something as difficult to diagnose as a strange Oriental disease.
   The reason? Simply because too many people have swallowed the idea of German rationalism adopting the fanciful notion no one can really be SURE of anything!
   But you can be SURE of this! The philosophers are absolutely sure there are no absolutes!

A Source of Truth

   "Thy word is truth," said Jesus Christ (John 17:17). The Bible is the very FOUNDATION of all knowledge! It tells you what you are, why you are on this earth, and the real purpose in your life. It is a book that explains, and explains thoroughly about juvenile delinquency.
   It tells you the exact NATURE that is at work in every child, how that nature must be corrected, taught, trained, altered and shaped to become acceptable to a right kind of society. It tells you what pressures will form and shape that nature, and what pressures ought to be avoided by it!
   The Bible is the book for children the book about children. Where they come from, why they are, how to teach and train them!

What Is a Delinquent?

   Just what is a juvenile "delinquent"? A "delinquent" is a child who has been stigmatized or labeled by society as "delinquent" simply because he has committed some act or acts which have been deemed unacceptable to normal society a violation of existing laws.
   However, EVERY child has the very same NATURE, be he delinquent or "model citizen"!
   Your Bible reveals that all babies are BORN delinquent! Think about it. See if it appeals to your "reasoning" and your sense of "logic." Babies are born utterly helpless. Among all creatures, there is no infant that is any more helpless than a human baby. Paradoxically, there is no little creature which is capable of any more greatness, any more refined and higher development than the human baby.
   Left to himself, the human baby would literally starve to death, only inches away from his mother! But a little baby is born knowing absolutely nothing! His mind is a blank, he cannot focus his eyes, has no control over his bodily functions or even his bodily motions. A little baby is born needing a bath. He is born filled with self. He is born emotionally unstable, and with a nature that drives him blindly onward in a manner that completely shatters any normal and carefully followed patterns of trained and schooled adults.
   Can we get the point?
   A baby is born a collection of completely undisciplined and unbridled emotions!
   Babies are BORN to be reared, to be trained OUT OF a condition OF UTTER DELINQUENCY!
   Let's understand it. Because humanity has lost sight of its God thrown aside as being useless and of no worth the very FOUNDATION of ALL knowledge, sociologists, criminologists, philosophers and child psychologists have utterly failed to understand what an infant human really Is!
   As a result, a whole new school of utter permissiveness in education has been ushered in.
   From the puritanical discipline of a few generations ago, educators and sociologists have swung to the opposite extreme of utter permissiveness and lack of discipline.
   Think about it for a moment. Human babies are creatures of habits. Everything we learn becomes second nature or habitual to us after a period of time. Yet philosophers and educators today are openly advocating a doctrine of NO PUNISHMENT whatsoever for emotional outbursts in mere infants and tiny children.
   Most fathers and mothers are given strict WARNINGS that any number of terrible psychological kickbacks such as neuroses, psychoses and various complexes could develop if they so much as lay a hand on their struggling little infants when they are lost in the sheer vicious venom of a hate-filled tantrum!
   The child psychologists sternly warn parents punishment is "old-fashioned" and utterly "out of date." They say "punishment" should only appear in our dictionaries as an obsolete word! The result?
   The result is a growing number of youngsters who have NOT been reared out of delinquency but have been allowed to REMAIN delinquent in every aspect of their development, from the time they were little babies.
   They have never been taught and trained to CONTROL their emotional outbursts! They have never had the kind of discipline they so urgently and desperately need. They have never been CONTROLLED or GOVERNED by their parents. Their parents have allowed any type of filth and swill to enter their unsuspecting little minds from the time they were mere youths in the form of comic books, television, evil companions, or adventuresome experiences with other boys and girls of the same age.
   Probably, the children have known little if any discipline or, if the parents believed in discipline, it may well have been administered through ignorance and in blind passion and rage the parent himself being guilty of emotional instability!
   How do you answer the question "why?" when asking yourself about the mere youth who shot his mother in the chest? How do you answer the question "WHY?" when you try to ascertain the "reason" the four boys set the 55-yearold man on fire? Unless you THOROUGHLY understand what human nature is understand how it ought to be controlled and for what purpose, you will never find any concrete answers!
   Take the mother who leapt out of bed with a bullet in her heart. Apparently, her child was given over to blind rage when he was denied something he wanted.
   But let's go back into the lives of the two of them. Do you suppose the child was ALWAYS punished when he gave in to his rage and passions? Was he disciplined, dealt with firmly whenever he had a tantrum as an infant? When he was denied sugar, candy, a trip to the store, a new toy he wanted was he allowed to show venomous hatred? Was he allowed to throw a tantrum, to spit his abuse at his mother, to show plenty of signs of keen disappointment by pouting, crying, screaming or kicking? It is very likely, he was.
   Normally disciplined, thoroughly trained and conscientious youngsters do not suddenly seize a pistol and blast the life out of their own mothers while they lie sleeping in their beds!
   No, the murder of the mother was the final outgrowth of a long series of unrestrained emotional outbursts on the part of that boy!
   What about the four youths in Sydney? Probably, for YEARS, the boys had been allowed to view over television hundreds if not thousands of knifings, strangulation, incinerations, cases of arson, burglary, robbery. They had witnessed hundreds if not thousands of murders in all forms, westerns with flunkies falling off horses by the dozens, war movies or science-fiction thrillers. Probably, they had fed their minds on weird comics, pornographic literature and dirty books, with plenty of gangland type teenage violence thrown in.
   What is it that grips the minds of four boys on a public conveyance to the extent they think it would be literally "fun" to set a sleeping human being on fire?
   If you were able to ask them certain questions, you would find and you might as well be willing to ADMIT you would find a long HISTORY of brutality to animals, total disregard towards the feelings of others, unbridled and unrestrained vent to passion and emotion!
   What about youngsters who are filled with RAGE, and begin shooting at anything in sight simply because they cannot hear a record of their choice? Look back for years into their lives and you will find parents who fought; who were committing adultery cheating on one another; who themselves were given to blind passion and emotional rage; and who NEVER disciplined their children in a right and a correct manner, teaching them to CONTROL their emotions!
   Don't kid yourselves that the answers to these atrocious crimes are only at the bottom of years of research of thousands of case histories of teenage crime! They are not. They are right on the surface obvious and evident for anyone who has the wit to look. A simple understanding of human nature as it is revealed in the Bible would give you the concrete answers as to the causes of juvenile crime and delinquency.
   Again, what are the causes of juvenile delinquency? Stubbornness, emotional instability, destructiveness, defiance, for example.
   But these are the "symptoms" of HUMAN NATURE!
   You were BORN stubborn, rebellious, emotionally unstable, defiant and destructive! Unless or until you have deliberately and carefully with calculated aforethought by wise and discerning parents been reared out of such blind and uncontrolled passion you may STILL be filled with stubbornness, resentment, rebellion, and emotional instability!

What about the "Good Boy"?

   Acts of violence are not limited to youths who have been reared in tenement districts, or who have come from underprivileged or broken homes.
   For example, recently in California, a 16-year-old boy sat on a bluff over U.S. Highway 101, and began pumping high-powered rifle bullets into cars passing below.
   An hour and a half later, two persons were dead, several injured. One of the injured died later, bringing the death count to three. The mother of the 16-year-old was quoted as saying, "I just can't understand it. I'd like to talk to those poor people who were shot at. But what can I say?"
   Police Captain Robert D. Sudlow said the parents described their son as "a good boy, a good student, with no mental problems."
   They did, however, indicate they had "an argument" with the boy the previous day, but that "it wasn't anything important."
   Friends in his home area of Long Beach described the 16-year-old as a "quiet, serious-minded boy" who played saxophone in the high school band and tinkered with boats and autos for a hobby. A schoolmate said, "No one can believe it, it doesn't make sense!"
   The father was quick to state, "Our family is very tightly-knit, we do almost everything together."
   According to the family, there was absolutely no reason for the crime. The father claimed "the gun is a tremendous puzzlement to us," adding "we are not a gun family."
   Then WHY did a 16-year-old boy steal money from his mother's purse, taking the keys to the family car, hide himself on a grassy slope, and begin shooting murderously at innocent victims on the road below? A 5-year-old passer-by was shot in the head. Another tiny boy, age 3, was shot in the head but not seriously hurt. Police, finally closing in on the sniper, saw him rise to his feet and yell something, then heard a shot. As they cautiously advanced on the scene, they found the sniper lying on the grassy slope from which he had murdered three and injured ten, having put an end to his inexplicable outburst of violence by putting a bullet between his own eyes.
   His father finally said, "Obviously something snapped I wish someone would write an article about the pressures society puts on these young people."
   But WAS the boy really a "model son"? WERE they REALLY a "tightly-knit family"?
   Had the father directly supervised the boy in all his activities? Was he reared to be quiet, polite, well-disciplined, always answering immediately and obeying instinctively his parents' commands?
   Was he taught the tremendous value of human life? Did he literally fear, with a healthy sense of respect and awe, law enforcement agencies, his teachers, adult leaders in his community?
   When his father bought the deer rifle, was the boy trained and taught by the father about gun safety? Were his personal activities among his playmates completely supervised by the parents? Reading between the lines, from what was not said in the newspaper articles, the answer becomes rather obvious.
   Increasingly today, hair-raising atrocities are being committed by "studious, quiet, serious-minded boys." Yes, it is time someone wrote articles about the "pressures" society puts on these boys but it is also time someone wrote an article expressing to PARENTS that society puts only as much pressure on their children as they, the parents, allow!
   It's time you took a few minutes of your day to read our booklet on The Plain Truth About Child Rearing. It's time you found how, in a single generation, all of our public school systems jumped the tracks of sanity and went off into the new school of permissiveness advocated by William James and other philosophers.
   It's time you found out who the REAL culprits are behind the scenes of juvenile crime. And, more important, it's time you found out WHAT to do about it in your own home and what your Bible says is SURE to happen in the future. So write for our booklets on child rearing, and the article How To Have A Happy Marriage immediately.
   Make no mistake! We have allowed a generation of headstrong, rebellious, volatile, hostile, emotionally unstable, permissive youths to grow up in our midst and we shall pay the piper!

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Plain Truth MagazineMay 1965Vol XXX, No.5
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