The murder of 54-year-old Charles Weiss in Granite City was the kind of random violence that strikes fear in the hearts of most of us. So, too, does the fact that three of the four teens accused of his death aren't even old enough to have a driver's license.
The suspects are 16, 15, 15 and 14. Their combined ages are only slightly greater than the age of their victim. How is it that kids so young could already have such darkness in their hearts that they would set out to rob someone at gunpoint? Even if they wanted his money, they didn't have to take his life. Where did they even get the gun?
Their disregard for life is breath-taking -- not just the disregard for a stranger's life but for their own also. When they fatally shot him they likely killed their own futures also. Three of the teens will be tried as adults and, if convicted, could spend most, if not all, of their lives in prison. The 14-year-old may also if he is certified to stand trial as an adult.
It seems that we are increasingly reading about murders committed by young people. In St. Louis, a 17-year-old is charged with killing an Imo's Pizza driver earlier this month. If he's convicted, he will have thrown away his life and the driver's over three pizzas and a cell phone.
As a society we have to figure out a way to get kids to think about more than the moment. Their whole lives lie ahead of them; they shouldn't want to spend their lives behind prison walls.