In the seeming senselessness of the killing of Kimberly Cates – hacked to death in her bed last week in Mont Vernon, N.H., allegedly by teenagers who chose her at random and didn't know who she was – criminologists tell the Boston Globe there may be a kind of twisted logic. Similar homicides elsewhere have been committed by teenage males who are sad and lonely, who bond over feelings of alienation and draw strength and feelings of inclusion by separating themselves from the outside world.
Often in those crimes, there has been one leader, the most disaffected youth, who hatches a plot to take revenge on the world, and the others go along willingly for fear of rejection. “They'd rather get the death penalty than be an outsider,'' said criminologist Jack Levin of Northeastern University. Said Ted Kirkpatrick of Justiceworks at the University of New Hampshire: “Boys will feed off each other – feeling like everyone hates us, we're a band of brothers, wild and dangerous, that does ruthless things. Then it becomes a whirlpool that increases in intensity and speed and aggression.”