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Morally Handicapped

The haunting story of fourteen-year-old Rod Matthews serves as a warning to a culture gone adrift. Rod was not interested in the things that normally interest teenagers. Neither sports nor books were enough to quench his insatiable boredom. Only one thing excited him: death. He spent hours watching the video Faces of Death, a collection of film clips of people dying violently. Rod’s curiosity about death led him to want to see death personally, not just on the television or movie screen.

Eventually, he found a way to satisfy his curiosity. One winter afternoon he lured a friend out into the woods and proceeded to beat him to death with a baseball bat. During his trial for murder, the most telling remark was made by a child psychiatrist who was asked to give a clinical evaluation of Rod’s condition. The doctor’s assessment was that Rod was not insane in the conventional sense but that he simply didn’t “know right from wrong. … He [was] morally handicapped” (emphasis mine)”

Mark DeVries, Family-Based Youth Ministry, (Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 53

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