Why some children may be able to kill?
José Rabadán, was 16 years old and he killed his parents and his sister, mentally handicapped, with a katana, because he thought that in that way he could make his life peaceful. Raquel and Iria, aged 17 and 16, killed a classmate because they wanted to discover what it felt like to kill and become known.
Javier Rosado, 21, together with a friend of 17, killed a randomly selected passer-by. "El Nano", 13 years old, killed a friend of 10 with a stone, because the latter had insulted him. Antonio Molina, 14, threw her 6-year-old stepsister down a water distribution pipe where she died asphyxiated, because she was jealous of her. Enrique Cornejo and Antonio Aguilar, 16 years old both, raped and stabbed a child of 11.
Killer children: data and explanation from the Psychology
Although each case is unique and each author had different reasons to carry them out, they all have common elements: the crimes were committed by minors and took place in Spain .
Of course, those mentioned are not the only cases of murders carried out by minors that have occurred in the country, there are more, although these have gone down in history due to the violence exercised and the motivations of the perpetrators.
Why does a minor commit a crime of this magnitude?
It is chilling to think that from such an early age, children can commit acts of such violence, as manifested in the cases described above and the question we ask ourselves before these facts is: How can a child get to experience such acts? of violence?
You may be interested: "Psychopathic children: 5 cases of underage murderers"
Scientific evidence: from personality to emotional conflicts
The experts who study these violent phenomena allege various causes. Echeburúa relates two possible hypotheses in this regard, one of them defends an extreme impulsivity caused by a brain damage that affects the mechanisms that regulate the behavior and, the other, refers to a biological or psychological vulnerability.
For his part, the professor of the University of Barcelona Antonio Andrés Pueyo alludes to personality and opportunity factors . This author argues that in certain emotional situations are triggered a series of violent acts that can end in a homicide without the desire to kill previously mediated. Other theories affirm that the predictors that explain violence in general, are also explanatory for cases in which murder or homicide is reached.
Some of these factors would be: perinatal factors, very rigid or permissive education and parenting styles, not having developed a good attachment in early childhood, under self-control, low academic performance, living in conflict zones, having antisocial attitudes, having been victims of abuse or sexual abuse in childhood, alcohol and drug use and problems or psychological disorders, such as: antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy.
Psychological background disorders
In the latter, the psychological problems are supported by other theoretical currents that affirm that psychological disorders are the factors that make the difference between those who kill and those who do not despite being exposed to the same risk factors (Farrington, 2012).
Other factors that have also been observed are the temperament of minors, moral development, self-esteem, and the absence of empathy, although it should not be forgotten, that an adequate and correct education can minimize the harmful effects that the environment and the genetic predisposition may have in the child and thereby reduce the predisposition to commit violent acts.
Fact: 54% of homicidal children suffer a personality disorder
A study carried out in Spain with children and adolescents convicted of homicide, reveals very revealing data regarding this issue: 54% of those who had committed a homicide suffered a personality disorder or antisocial behavior , 4% had committed the murder under the effects of a psychotic outbreak and the remaining 42% were normal boys and girls living in apparently normalized families.
The conclusion to this phenomenon, as can be seen, is not clear and the literature that we find in this regard is varied and alludes to several factors that converge and trigger in an act of extreme violence, such as homicide. So we can not talk in isolation of opportunity for crime, psychological, genetic or environmental factors, but the confluence of them. And always keep in mind, just as Heide concluded that Minor assassins tend to have a prior history of crimes or antisocial behavior .
- Farrington, D., Loeber, R. and Berg, M. (2012). Young men who kill: A prospective Longitudinal Examination from Childhood. SAGE publicacions.
- Pérez Oliva, M. (2008). Why can a child kill? The weekly country.
- Minors and murderers. List of crimes recorded in the last 18 years. (2010). The world. Retrieved from: //www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/04/04/espana/1270373512.html
- Young assassins, the most shocking cases in Spain (2013). Teinteresa.es. Recovered from: //www.teinteresa.es/espana/Jovenes-asesinos-casos-estremecedores-Espana_0_958105162.html