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A disturbing trend is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States. Teenagers are beating the homeless “for fun”—sometimes fatally.
CNN explained these attacks: “Criminologists call these wilding sprees ‘sport killing’—largely middle-class teens, with no criminal records, assaulting the homeless with bats, golf clubs, paintball guns.”
According to a report issued by the National Coalition for the Homeless, there were 120 attacks on homeless people, resulting in 20 murders in 2006. This is the highest number of attacks against the homeless in eight years. Of these, 79 were committed by those under the age of 24.
This violent fad is affecting most areas of the country. In 2006, six of these attacks occurred in Florida and three in Michigan.
In the same report, the coalition states, “Many of these hate crimes and/or violent acts go unpublicized and/or unreported, thereby making it difficult to assess the true magnitude of the problem.”
But who or what is to blame for this spreading violence?
One attacker told the police that killing a homeless man was like playing a violent video game. Others were spurred on by videos they had seen of similar crimes. Still others were pressured by their peers or were influenced by a mob mentality.
Referring to these senseless crimes, Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said, “For some teens this passes as amusement” (CNN).
What has happened to the conscience that once stopped youths from committing such crimes? In the minds of the perpetrators, the attacks seem to be the same as skipping stones across a pond, or playing basketball—a sad commentary of the cheapening of human life in a once-great nation.