Troubling behavior by teens

Vicious teenagers have been in the news from both Duncan, Okla., and Spokane, Wash.

In Oklahoma, three boys, ages 15, 16 and 17, allegedly shot an Australian college student to death “for fun.”

In Spokane, two 16-year-old boys are charged with beating an 88-year-old World War II veteran to death during a robbery.

Both situations are troubling, to say the least. But information from Spokane police makes that case even more disturbing and disappointing than it was at first glance.

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said both the suspects in that murder have criminal records – for assault, among other things.

We wonder: How on earth is it that two 16-year-old boys, apparently guilty of assault, were roaming the streets of Spokane in the first place? Why were they not in custody?

Juveniles should not be treated the same as adult criminals, of course, except in extreme situations. But those guilty of violent crimes, even teens, cannot merely be slapped on the wrists and released. Well, actually we take that statement back:?Juveniles convicted of assault and other crimes certainly can be slapped on the wrist and released, but then situations like the beating death of an 88-year-old man happen and the shooting death of a college student happen. And that’s simply unacceptable.