The Origins of America’s Vicious War on Its Own Kids

Criminalizing Youth

Still from Straight Outta Compton.

Ours is not the first era in which adults have persecuted the young and criminalized them. But in this country it’s not been done before with such methodical zeal, ever since that salesman of the virtues, Bill Bennett, co-chaired the Council on Crime in America and issued a 1996 report titled The State of Violent Crime in America containing these ominous words and utterly inaccurate predictions: “America is a ticking violent crime bomb. Rates of violent juvenile crime and weapons offenses have been increasing dramatically and by the year 2000 could spiral out of control.”

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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