Violent crimes can be as baffling as they are repelling. In England, two 10-year-old boys lured a 2-year-old away from his mother at a shopping mall; they took him down to the local railroad tracks, where they beat him to death and left his body to be run over by a train. In the United States, a group of teenagers shot and killed a man whose car they were stealing—even though the man had willingly handed over his car keys and was not resisting the theft in any way. In Massachusetts, a group of young teenage schoolgirls planned to murder their English teacher because she was too strict:

After the final bets were in, Okiki, a 13-year-old honor student, sat stone-faced at her desk in English class, silently preparing to collect a couple of hundred dollars on a dare. She had settled on a simple plan. Just wait for the bell to ring, reach into her book bag, grab the 12-inch fillet knife she had brought from home and stab the teacher in the chest. … But there is something that troubles [Sergeant] Cambarere even more [than this plan]: his first glimpse of the girls when they were brought into the police department. “They were giggling.” (Hull, 1993, p. 37)