Is There an Epidemic of Teen Violence?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, as you may know, 18-year-old David Ludwig has been charged with murdering Cathryn and Michael Borden in Pennsylvania and then kidnapping his girlfriend, their daughter, 14-year-old Kara Beth Borden.

Apparently Ludwig was angry that Mr. Borden scolded him for keeping out Kara all night. Right now, authorities are still trying to figure out if the girl had any involvement with the terrible crime.

The situation raises an ugly issue in America — teen violence against parents. Joining us now from Phoenix is Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, the author of the book, "Murder is No Accident: Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence in America."

You know, doctor, one of the most troubling aspects of your research and the problem in general are single moms. And when a boy, for example, gets to be 12, 13, 14, physically, the mom can't control what the boy does. And in many of these situations or some, let's say, there's violence toward the woman. And a woman is left there, do I call the cops? I mean, what — family services? What are they supposed to do?

DEBORAH PROTHROW-STITH, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK "MURDER IS NO ACCIDENT": Well, I would first start by saying that this is a horrible tragedy. And my heart really goes out to the family and the communities.

And you're right. It is very difficult for parents in society generally. And then when children have learned to be violent and are showing violence toward the parents, that's probably the most difficult situation.

And in most instances, parents do have to reach out beyond the family resources and get the professional community involved. And whether that's physicians, teachers, clergy, often you need that kind of support.

We have a saying. It takes a village to raise a family. And what we're really saying is parents need help, too.

O'REILLY: Well, they do. But what do you do? Do you call the police if you're assaulted by a teenage child? You know, and there's a lot of grandparents now minding kids. What do you do?

PROTHROW-STITH: Sure. You do in the instance of violence need to call help. And often that is the police. But most of these behaviors have a history.

And what I think is important for parents to appreciate is that early on, when a child of 5 or 6 or 7 is still hitting at the need to want something or anger or displaying that kind of aggression, that is the time to begin to respond to that behavior.

O'REILLY: All right, so if you see a 5, 6, 7-year-old still physically, you know, hitting their siblings or hitting you or hitting their friends, that's a tip-off of what is likely to come?

PROTHROW-STITH: Especially if that child is unable to handle difficult situations without that hitting.

O'REILLY: Right. Anger management, with frustration, things like that.

PROTHROW-STITH: Right, exactly.

O'REILLY: Now this kid in Pennsylvania allegedly was a Christian kid. No rap sheet. Everybody says he was, you know, obviously, he's a little weird dating a 14-year-old and keeping her out all night. So we're not buying the hype that this was just a kid who was, you know, a regular guy. We're not buying that.

But there doesn't seem to be any flash signals that the police know about. But this kid, according to cops, didn't like the way the father talked to him, went home, got a gun, came back, killed the parents.

Can you protect yourself as a parent against that kind of violence? Is there anything you can do there?

PROTHROW-STITH: Well, I mean, in those kinds of situations, you are dealing with the extreme. And it's hard to say. But what's clear is that these — both families were invested, it seems. They both were home schooled. So the parents were doing the job that they thought they should be doing.

I'm pretty sure there were some signs of trouble well before this event.

O'REILLY: Yes, there would be.

PROTHROW-STITH: And I think that's the thing that parents have to really appreciate is that they have to break the isolation.

O'REILLY: Right.


O'REILLY: And there has to be an early intervention.


O'REILLY: And I agree with you. I agree with you. You've got to bring in outside people because you're too emotionally involved sometimes.


O'REILLY: So you got to bring in people to analyze exactly where the emotional disturbance is coming from. Check out the doctor's book. We appreciate you talking with us, Madam.

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