Should a 12-year-old be tried as an adult?
Has the Slender Man incident caused parents you know to reevaluate their children’s time on the Internet?
It was at a family event when I first heard of Slender Man. My preteen family member was telling me about him, about how kids made videos of him and told stories. That was months ago and truth be told, I really had no idea what this preteen was talking about. Now I do.
A Planned Event
It was a planned event, months in the making when two twelve-year-old girls attempted to kill their “best friend”. In the upscale Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, the girls were having a birthday sleepover where they aimed to carry out their plan. The night and first possible kill site was at a roller rink. Then the girls went to one of the accused’s homes and had a sleepover. The next morning they went to the park to play.
It was at the park when the two girls stabbed their friend 19 times. It was during a game of hide and seek. The girls later told the police that they “encouraged” each other saying “go ballistic, go crazy”.
The victim was left within a millimeter of death.
Prior to the girls leaving for the park, they had packed their backpacks with granola bars, water, clothes and pictures of family members. They left the park and started walking to the location where they believe Slender Man lived.
The two girls were found walking by police. They each told the police everything in disturbing details. The weapons were discovered in one of the girls bags.
The victim was found after having dragged herself out of the wooded area by a bicyclist. Her injuries were everywhere from her chest to her abdomen to her legs. According to the New York Times the medical authorities reported that she was “one millimeter away from certain death”.
Who is Slender Man?
Slender Man is a fictional character. His first appearances started in 2009 on an Internet site about fake paranormal pictures. The creator’s name is Eric Knudsen. He created Slender Man to be a tall, faceless character, who dressed in all black and was always seen hiding behind children.
Slender Man popularity only grew. People would draw pictures, write stories, make short films about him and even an app was created.
Like my family member, many preteens have heard of this now infamous character. The two twelve-year-old girls believe this character to be real and that they needed to kill to prove themselves to him.
The Mental Health Question
According to an article by the Huffington Post, Slender Man is being compared to the “Bloody Mary” rhyme of yesteryear” and that 12-year-olds while not adults have the ability to distinguish reality from fiction. In fact the article says that children as young as 3 can distinguish reality from fiction.
“A 12-year-old believing in and attempting to carry out a murder for a fictional character is not developmentally normal.”
It is being reported that one of the girls may be suffering from a mental illness. Likely a court-ordered evaluation will be done to determine if that is true.
While the girls did at times express remorse, at other times they did not.
“It was weird that I didn’t feel remorse,” one commented to the police. The other girl said: “The bad part of me wanted her to die. The good part of me wanted her to live.” – reported by the New York Times.
12-Year-Olds Tried as Adults
Due to the nature of the crime, the girls are currently set to be tried as adults. They face 65 year in prison each of attempted first-degree intentional homicide according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
What Do You Think?
Should the girls be tried as adults? How will this crime affect parenting controls on the Internet, play dates and sleepovers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.