As a kid, I grew up in Alabama. It is the stuff that legends are made of....when you say the word "crazy" and "Alabama" together in one sentence. At one point in the 1920s and 1930s....if you got two relatives to write and sign a request letter to the county judge....that you could probably put away some close relative who was a nut-case. The judge would review the letter....have to deputies round up the crazy relative and have a brief interview to determine that the guy or gal was crazy. Then the judge would either send them off to a private facility or a public facility, and ensure the public was not endangered in anyway. It's safe to say that folks eventually decided in the 1960s that this was not a fair deal, and halted the practice. So these days....when you finally do enough crazy stuff to threaten folks....they just send you off to prison.
I am reminded of this "way of life" this week when the Ludwigshafen Xmas bomber kid story comes up.
Back in late November, some 12-year-old Iraqi-German kid (he was born in Germany, so he's 100-percent German as far as citizenship is concerned)....got into the mindset of conducting jihad operations. Little is said over how this occurred....German journalists aren't asking, and the authorities don't appear to want to lay out all this info.
What the kid would do....is get some fireworks material and construct a simplified and unsophisticated pipe-bomb situation. Based on the description, the kid had some instructions but no real science knowledge and certainly didn't experiment to ensure quality.
So bomb number one was built and put into the Christmas-market, and it failed. Bad construction, wet conditions....no one says the reason how it failed.
So the kid moves on and build bomb number two. This one is seen by some guy who was suspicious and it does not go off. The guy ID's the kid, and the authorities step in to take possession of him.
If the kid had been 16 years old, or 19 years old.....they'd have some proper method of dealing with him. If he'd bee nineteen.....we'd be talking about prison. But being 12 years old.....there's not really a system to handle this.
So, they made this decision....he'd be sent off to Wiesbaden to some private facility that handles troubled youths, and be examined. They'd come to recommend some treatment. One gets the impression (there is very little written on this segment of the story) that the kid arrives and in less than a week....they've come to conclude that he's way past their capabilities and needs something that they can't offer. One can only speculate on this part of the story and what tendencies he displayed.
Weeks pass while in a juvenile facility, and the authorities are looking for some way of handling this. The mental health folks came to conclude in the last month that it'd be best to just send the kid home....to his parent's house in the Ludwigshafen region. Course, two issues came up. The authorities had spent the last two months looking for educational facilities (schools) to put the kid back into the system (he's now 13 years old). A hundred schools contacted....ALL of them said 'NO'. The second problem is that the authorities disagreed in total form about putting the kid back into the home. Based on various news commentary, there's very little trust in that the kid is safe in a public environment.
The court system has gotten into this episode a second time now.....ordering the release back to the home NOT to occur, and ordering the regional folks to find another solution.
Presently, other than a full-time monitor, and a full-time private tutor....my perceived solutions....there's just not much more that you can do with the kid.
School for this entire period? Wiped out.
The state is sitting there now with some kid who could cost them a quarter-million Euro a year in total costs to guard, mentor, educate, and keep under control. He's a German citizen, so they can't export him like the Tunisian 'problem' folks.
In some remarkable way, the kid has become a threat to society and there's no program built to handle young people like this. Typically....most German kids fall into the category of alcoholics or drug-users, and there are programs built from the extra-lite to extra-extreme....to reestablish control over German youths in this situation. In this case....I doubt if they have any program existing in the country that would handle this.
In some way, I think that the authorities will find some half-measure which gets the kid up to nineteen years old, and then have the jail system ready for him because he's finally 'of age' and has threatened enough people. Yeah, it's more or less like what you see in Alabama....someone with major issues but you don't do anything until they reach the adult stage and threatened enough people.
The thing about this whole story that bothers me....is that we are simply looking at one single kid (12 years old). What if you have forty or fifty kids like this? Would you end up shuffling them off to some youth 'charm-school' and guard them around the clock?