As the book "At a Tender Age" implies, today's youth are not like the youth of previous generations. Instead of just being restless and mischievous and pulling a neighborhood prank or a petty theft, the pervading influence of gangs has created a generation of youth who are callous, hardened, cold-blooded criminals who would shoot and kill at the slightest provocation without a hint of remorse or conscience.
We should no longer view such youth as poor, unfortunate, misdirected victims of society who just need a little rehabilitation to become productive members, and for once see them for what they really are: vicious, violent, unrepentant thugs who brutally victimize children, senior citizens and other decent, law-abiding citizens through a wide range of illegal activities, including armed robbery, rape, extortion, drug dealing, assault and murder, and who are well beyond the hope of rehabilitation.
The only thing they respect is force, and therefore the only way to effectively deal with them is through long-term sentences in heavy-security prisons. If necessary, special full-security youth-oriented prisons could be constructed to house them.
KENNETH L. ZIMMERMAN