Monster In the Making
DEAR EXENE: I'm a 17-year old who became aware of my 8-year-old cousin's tendency to torture animals in his parents' back yard. The first time I babysat him, I left him alone for about an hour to play out back, and I walked up on him kicking and stomping a wounded rabbit. I stopped him and put him in time-out, but I was pretty concerned. The second time, we were walking toward a park when he saw a lizard and stomped it to death as I screamed at him to stop. Don't they say most serial killers start out that way? I brought it up to his parents, who said they'd "have a talk with him." They both seem either clueless or in denial about my cousin's behavior. A few weeks have gone by, and though I've only been over there twice, the kid has acted really creepy and angry toward me both times; so far, it seems his parents aren't doing anything about the behavior I witnessed. I'm wondering if there's something I can do, despite being a kid myself, that would be an appropriate course of action to get him some psychiatric attention. Or do you think at the first sign of something as serious as animal torture, it's okay to go a little overboard?
DEAR FARRAH: The first time you babysat him, you "left him alone for about an hour to play out back"? Was that because you had texting to do or a meaningless TV show to watch? That is unbelievably irresponsible. Does anybody pay attention to this kid? Obviously not his parents. Why do people have children, and then ignore them and just hand them over to the failing educational system to raise? His parents didn't notice him torturing and murdering animals? They didn't notice his creepy, angry behavior? Probably too busy watching TV as well. Yes, find a competent mental-health professional. Do some research online, get some references, talk to someone on this boy's (and innocent creatures of Earth's) behalf as soon as you can—like now. C'mon, people, we can do better with our kids than this. Please. Or just keep blaming it on guns. It's up to you.
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