Potentially Threatening

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, May 1, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Counseling with 8th grader (and single mom). He just found out he is "flunking" and will have to repeat a year. Surly, uncommunicative, angry. Hates school.

    So just trying to get him to "open up" a bit, asked him what he would REALLY like to do.

    His answer? His eyes brightened and he said, "I have a list of eight people I would like to kill." No joke. Deadly serious. His mom went ballistic and nothing more accomplished.

    Will have another opportunity to talk more to him (and mom) but

    1) What would you say to boy?

    2) What about the mom?

    3) And what about the school - 3 of the 8 on the list were teachers - and with Columbine fresh in mind would you break confidentiality and let someone know?

    This is NOT fictitious or a quiz. This is real life in a little town.
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    Yes, Dr. Bob, I would notify the authorities immediately. They'll determine if this is a 'Credible Threat'. I can say... 'I'm going to rip your arm off and shove it down your ear til you can scratch your belly button' and it means nothing because it's not possible. BUT if I say 'I'm going to take my mother's gun and shoot your brains out', that's credible.

    I would also notify the school system.

    You know now that once you do the above, you're going to be number 9 on his list!

    Diane
     
  3. gb93433

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    Have you ever shown him any kind of physical touch or care? I would wonder what his reaction would be. If he cries then he is in serious need of a person who genuinely cares.

    The first thing I would do is to adderess the issue directly with him privately.

    I would tend to report it. Let the police do the investigation. That child needs to know that others will take his threats seriously.

    If his eyes brightened I would wonder why. My personal asssumption is that what lies underneath is not good.
     
  4. Plain Old Bill

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    This is to serious to let pass. Lives literally are at stake here. If he has announced himself he must be near some action.He does need to know that threats like that are taken seriously.

    So now the question is which is more important , confidentiallity or these 8 peoples lives?
     
  5. Jeff Weaver

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    Dr. Bob.

    Not really enough information to make an informed comment, so take this as uninformed comment.

    1st. Does Mom have a gun? Ask her, if you don't know. If she does, or if the child has access to one, via friend relative, etc. call it in, now.

    2nd. If he doesn't, then, see if Mom would be willing to have him evaluated for pschological disorders. Some begin manifesting about this age. Might have some learning disability (e.g. dyslexia) and these teachers are making his life miserable. Teachers are often so worried about this stupid "No Child left Behind" that they forget the child. Don't know about the other 5, since no comment was made. Making assumptions like GB above.

    3rd. See if you can get a positive male role model in his life -- fast. Big Brother type. Again Mom has to be willing.

    4th. Where is dad? Why isn't he in the picture? Was he abusive? Is Mom abusive?

    5th. Friends. Who are they, if there are any? What are they into? Drugs? Adolesent Rebellion?

    6th. What size is this boy? Is he very small or very large? He might be being bullied. He may be blaming teachers for not stopping it.

    Lots of questions, but not many answers here, Dr. Bob. Perhaps you have the answers to these already. Will respond to a PM if you care to share.

    Just had to deal with a couple of 11-year old boys this past week into vandalism, and arson, so sorta know where you are at. I am the librarian for a small town -- they tried to burn it down -- because I wouldn't let them ride their bikes in the building or photocopy money. But these two are no where near as bad as what it looks like you are facing.

    Jeff Weaver
     
  6. Shiloh

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    1. I would let the parents know that I am notifying the school authorities.
    2. I would question the parents on their discipline procedure, and tell them the Biblical way. The mother should have jerked the kid out of your office by the neck and flailed the tar out of him!
     
  7. Gina B

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    Yes you should notify the school immediately. How would you feel if you were on someone's hit list for murder, whether or not their parent or counselor thought it might not be for real? Every person on that list should be informed that they are on it. Considering that most of his waking hours are spent at the school, they MUST be completely informed for him to be properly supervised throughout this. If he has friends at school all of his friends should be interviewed to find out what he has said to them and if they are in any way involved in what he might be planning on doing. It might sound drastic now, but think of what may be being prevented.
    He needs constant supervision. Not his parents knowing where he is and when he'll be back, he needs to be with them or another trusted adult every minute of the day, his drawings gone through, his notes read, his phone conversations recorded. He's lost any privacy rights he or his parents think he should have with his failing grades and his hit list.
    Gina
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    Disagree Shiloh! You said: The mother should have jerked the kid out of your office by the neck and flailed the tar out of him!

    My thoughts:
    The mother should have been more involved a lot sooner, kept on top of his grades, shouldn't have to be a single mom, should have fostered an atmosphere at home where this boy could share his frustration long before it came to these words, should have been careful which type movies, songs and games he plays, kept an eye on his friends and found a 'Big Brother' or mentor father figure when he was a kid.

    Jerking an angry 12 year old won't work. It's too late now! He might even be bigger than her!

    Diane
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    I don't think I would notify anyone at this point. Make sure he doesn't have access to guns. Try to get a good male influence on him who he might open up and talk to ... someone to take him to baseball games, hiking, work on the car together, etc. IN many cases, people who talk about it don't really want to do it. They want attention. Not always ... but probably more often than not.
     
  10. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I am sorry Pastor Larry, I usually agree with you. But this time you are dead wrong and need to rethink your answer. Dr. Bob, check your PMs.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  11. wayward son

    wayward son
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    Sounds more like a cry for help. A cry for someone who cares and is willing to spend time with him. Calling the authorities? Come on. That's what you do after you have given up on a child. Counselling? Sure?

    Wayward Son
    It Does Finally Matter
     
  12. gb93433

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    After thinking awhile about this I would tend to agree with wayward son. If he is willing to talk it must be a cry for help. If he is sneaky and hidden I would gtend to think he is up to no good.

    Maybe take him to a prison and visit the inmates so he can see where poor actions would lead.
     
  13. Gina B

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    While it certainly is more likely that this child needs help than that he is actually going to attempt murder, would you want to be wrong?
    Think about not only the people who would be hurt if you were wrong, but about yourself. The parents and family of the victims, along with the investigators and other authorities, will dig up everything that had been going on.
    When they come to you and ask what was discussed in counseling, would you be comfortable with not having gone to great lengths to help avoid what happened? You are already unsure of what to do yourself or you wouldn't have asked, so it makes even more sense to involve others.
    This type of murder involved thought, planning, preparation, and finally the act itself. As the kid is already halfway through the process this isn't a vague threat, it is a half way completed act.
    Gina

    PS I know this forum is usually meant for pastors, but I've done enough work with teens to be confident in giving my opinion, along with being a parent and a concerned citizen.
    Gina
     
  14. TWade

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    If you remain silent about his "list," what would you say to the victim's families if he were to carry it out?
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    If you tell the authorities and the kid gets mad at you and further hardened, what will you tell the victim's families?? Oftentimes, going public exacerbates the situation and cuts off walls of communication. He has obviously trusted Bob (or whoever) enough to tell him this much. Build on that ... don't destroy it with an ill advised "tattletale move" that may threaten the boy and make him think he can't trust you.

    I am not suggesting to remain silent. The boy needs to be talked to and to be talked with. He needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. He needs to hear that his solution is no solution at all. But he might get totally shut off if the authorities are brought in at this stage. Close monitoring and regular contact is the best step at this stage. See what happens in teh next couple of week after meeting with him several times a week.
     
  16. TWade

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    So we protect the rebellious kid, possibly putting lives at stake. Ridiculous.
     
  17. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Pastor Larry,

    This almost sounds like something a Catholic leader would do. This kid has threatened to commit a crime by killing people. Turn it in. Protect those people. That kid can get the help he needs in juvenile detention. Share the Gospel with him, which, if I know Dr. Griffen, he has already done this. But tell the authoirities. If you don't, and the kid does what he said he will, IMO, you are an accomplice to murder.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  18. wayward son

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    I agree the problem is much more than I 60sec solution. The boy must be evaluated. But if you call the police and/or the intended victims parents, the boy will be labeled. As if he'd done the crime. Or be called crazy. This stigma can stay with him the rest of his life. He will then need counseling concerning this. First, you need to try to reach the boy. This will not be instantaneous. If you find yourself lost, try your closest prison. I only wish someone had taken me to prison and scared some sense in me with I was his age.

    Wayward Son
    IDFM
    Col. 3:20
     
  19. Joseph_Botwinick

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    You know what. If the kid goes and murders those people, he will have to go to prison for the rest of his life, or if I had my way, get the last injection of his life. I don't care about this kids stigma. I don't care about him needing more counseling. I would protect those people he has told me he is going to murder. As far as I am concerned, just as Cardinal Law knew about the criminal sexual molestation of young boys of his pedophile priests and allowed it, if you allow this boy to do what he said he would do without notifying the authoirities, you ought to be right next to him in the death chamber if you allow it. It is very simple for me.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  20. wayward son

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    *I don't care about this kids stigma. I don't care about him needing more counseling.*
    Maybe, you need to go to the streets and see for yourself. You see, I've been there. And I DO CARE. I am not saying cover up what this boy has said. I say, look into his eyes and his world.

    Now their more frequent than ever.
    The sounds of the little ones
    The crys by day, the screams at night
    In a hell all their own
    They just want to be loved, to feel safe
    They want it to end
    But the world they live in, these things don't exist
    They've been used and abused, shattered and torn
    Their souls cry out, for there is no end to their torment.
    Nothing but shame.
    We hear your silent screams oh little one.
    Someday we'll come for you and take you away
    We must go forward, we cannot stop
    The world will not help us, we're in this alone
    Look into the faces of the children and make things right.
    For someday it could be OURS, screaming in the night.

    Wayward Son
    It Does Finally Matter

    * Prisons are filled with people that had no one to care. Just kill that which you do not understand? Kill them all? That way, we don't have to deal with them? Cut off the head to cure the cancer? OUR sin killed Jesus. Maybe, we all should go to the "death chamber" now.
     

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