Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another attack on a homeless victim for the heck of it-- but this time making kids do it.

Attacks against the homeless, just on a lark and for no reason at all, are nothing new (tragically), and I've discussed them before. But today there is a story out of Florida that brings this crime to a new low: ten year olds pushed into beating homeless man.

(CNN) -- Egged on by a 17-year-old, two 10-year-old boys joined in the attack of a homeless man, leaving him bruised and bloody Tuesday, Daytona Beach Police said.

The incident highlights an upswing in violent crime across the U.S. against the homeless.

In 2006, there were 142 attacks and 20 murders, several involving teenagers seeking a vicious thrill, according to the D.C.-based National Coalition for the Homeless.

The incident, which took place in Daytona Beach, Florida, may make history, said the non-profit's acting executive director Michael Stoops.

"If we're talking about 10-year-olds, that means we've hit an all-time low," said Stoops. "The youngest person to have ever been arrested for a crime like this is 13....

Daytona Police Sgt. Billy Walden said the teen and two boys were walking in their neighborhood around 9 p.m. when they saw 58-year-old John D'Amico. They began throwing rocks at the homeless man.

The 17-year-old, Jeremy Woods, punched D'Amico who then fell over a concrete wall. As he lay on the ground, one of the 10-year-olds - whose names are not being released - used parts of the concrete to bash D'Amico in the head, a police report shows.

D'Amico's eye was severely damaged in the attack. Woods and the two boys were charged with felony aggravated battery and are being held without bond at a juvenile detention center in Daytona Beach, Walden said.

There was one good piece of news in the story though. In one of several posts I've done on this topic, Kill some time, kill a man I wrote about the brutal January 2006 murder of Norris Gaynor who was beaten to death with baseball bats for 'sport'. In the story linked above, it says later on (after noting that apparently Florida has an unusually high number of these kinds of cases-- though as I wrote about the suspects in the Phoenix serial shooter cases random recreational violence, Arizona is hardly immune from this kind of stuff) that

One of those cases has garnered international attention and is expected to go to trial this fall after a surveillance camera captured two teens beating a homeless man with bats in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 12, 2006.

Prosecutors say 17-year-old skateboarder Tom Daugherty, 18-year-old Brian Hooks, a popular hockey team captain, and a [third] teen, Billy Ammons, a high school dropout, assaulted two more homeless men that night.

And that is a piece of good news, that they have caught and are prosecuting these monsters.

Murder is always a crime of unspeakable violence.

And there is no motive for murder that justifies the crime. However, the motives that there have been in the past, if wrong, could at least be understood as being motives for murder. Money, passion, jealousy, personal rivalry, revenge, rage, organized crime or gang feuds, turf battles, sadistic sexual desire, paranoia, misplaced patriotism, to send a message to someone else, even things like blind racial, ethnic or religious hatred, or homophobia, all of these motives, if inadequate for the crime, fit our frame of reference as motives for the ultimate crime.

But with the dehumanization of the homeless, we see more and more attacks, nearly always by juveniles, just for the heck of it. I don't understand it. In nearly all of these cases, the attackers have been white, and in nearly all of these cases they have come from middle or upper-middle class families. So why would they feel that they need to kill someone who has nothing?

It is no secret that some of the attackers have watched videos like 'bumfights,' a video in which 300,000 copies were distributed in which homeless people were paid to fight each other in front of a camera. Do they feel that these homeless people are only fodder for them to take out aggression on?

Or could it be perhaps that they have bought into the line that homeless people have earned their lot in life by themselves and are not deserving of any better fate?
That the homeless people are not as good as they are?

As I wrote in the Phoenix case (and which also appears to be true in the Gaynor case, and is true most of the time in these cases:

both suspects apparently came from families in which they never experienced poverty, and so apparently bought into the misconception of transients as all being that way by choice or because they were lazy.

And with that, can it be all that surprising that some disturbed people have taken homelessness as a license to murder human beings with no more compunction than most people might kill a garden pest?

1 comment:

Eli Blake said...


It looks as if they are going to charge the seventeen year old who pushed them into it as an adult.