The boy attended school, enjoyed sports, went hunting with his dad, andplayed video games incessantly. No doubt he had lots of free time, games, toys, and food and little responsibility to handle. So why does an impoverished, deprived, and overworked little girl become a kind and loving human being while a boy with relative comfort turns into a vicious killer? What is it that makes this boy and the twenty-one other American children between five eight years who committed homicides (from 1994-2004) different from Quamar?
Some experts believe thatchildren kill because of physical or sexual abuse. I can buy that possibility but then why is Quamar still a lovely child? She admits to being abused, both physically and emotionally. But I am pretty sure she is not going to get up tomorrow morning and hack her parents to death.
Four variables come to mind when I am searching for differences in these two children: disaffection, narcissism, responsibility, and violent inputs. The first three can be narrowed down to one: caring about others. Many parents allow children to become very selfish and self-centered, letting them think about no one but themselves. They are catered to and are not given any true responsibility for others; they aren't expected to care for younger brothers and sisters, help their parents with household tasks or earning a money, and they aren't asked to do anything for grandparents or neighbors either. They grow up narcissistic, and, oddly, alone.
It is true that many child killers come from broken homes and dysfunctional families, but I believe the disaffection comes not so much from parental discord or the child's separation from either father or mother, but from the poor parenting that causes the child to disconnect emotionally from everyone else. He ends up living in a secluded world where others really do not matter. "Others" become tools (for what the child wants) or burdens (when they prevent a child from getting what he wants).
Quamar clearly does not view her family as either tools or burdens. She feels she is part of the family and they are part of her. Everyone is in the struggle together, even if some suffer more than others. Quamar knows she is needed and she worries about her parents and her siblings. She works to make sure they eat.
The Arizona boy, on the other hand, probably couldn't care less about anyone else. Perhaps his dad was general okay and useful, but the day that the boy shot him (and the boarder), dad must have gotten in his way - perhaps refusing to let him trick-or-treat (as some have suggested was the motive for the shooting) - and that was unacceptable to the son. Maybe if the boy hadn't played so many violent video games and been taught to shoot prairie dogs for fun, the idea of gunning down irritating adults might not have crossed his mind; but, unfortunately, the child did have the concept of killing implanted in his head and he acted out this violent ideation.
So my advice to parents is this: Don't give your kids weapons and unlimited violent video time if you haven't worked hard to make your child one who feels responsible for the health and welfare of others. Otherwise, they just might put their gun skills to good use . . . on you.