The following is a transcript of an interview between Russ Morley, host of 850 WFTL radio and Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert, Patrick Wanis Ph.D. about the five Florida teens who allegedly doused a 15-year-old boy with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire as an act of revenge. The teen was set on fire over a $40 video game. Police said, “I’ll be honest, a couple of them were laughing about it last night. [Only] one of them seemed genuinely sorry for what he did,”
Good Morning on the WFTL Morning News. Now here’s your host, Russ Morley.
(Quotes from various speakers)
“The victim’s gonna carry a lifelong scars if he survives. It’s just a horrible, horrible case. “
“Michael Brewer reported somebody for stealing his dad’s bike. That’s what this comes down to. It’s retaliation”.
“Nearly two-thirds of his body is burned in mixed second and third-degree burns”.
“They have good grades, no problems in school. Wrong place, wrong people”.
“The State Attorney’s office will make a decision whether to keep the case in juvenile court or whether to transfer to the adult system.”
“It’s almost a cliché to say, you know, that this crime has shocked the community but in this case it really is true.”
Russ Morley: Sherriff Allen Burty, before that Corey Hill public defender, Sharon Jarvis’ mother and 15-year-old Michael Brewer’s mom. Michael Brewer, 15 years of age, is being treated this morning at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Burn Unit in Miami. Two-thirds of his body burned. BSO say 5 boys surrounded him Monday afternoon outside a Deerfield Beach Apartment Complex, splashed him with rubbing alcohol, and then set him a fire. The boys have been charged with aggravated assault. One of them was also charged with attempted second-degree murder. He is the one that actually torched Michael. What kind of disconnect would teenagers have to have to be able to do something like this? Joining us this morning is Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert, Dr. Patrick Wanis, out of Miami this morning. Dr. Wanis, good morning.
Patrick Wanis: Good morning, Russ.
Russ: All right. Yesterday, we were talking and you were mentioning two words, sociopath and psychopath. Which are applicable here?
Patrick: Well, unfortunately, sometimes the terms become interchanged but let me talk about common characteristics because some people believe that to become a sociopath means learned behavior where a psychopathic behavior maybe the result of a neurological dysfunction. But they are also intertwined. Those two words also interchanged with antisocial disorder. But the symptoms or the behavioral symptoms are deep-seated rage, impulsiveness, lack of remorse, lack of guilt or shame, the incapacity to love, superficial charm, fake or shallow emotions, extreme narcissism, promiscuity, pathological lying, a lack of empathy (that’s inability to empathize with the pain of victim as was exemplified by the reaction of some of these kids), blaming others, secretiveness, paranoia, manipulative and swindling behavior. Now, I know that’s very, very broad but basically what it comes down to is the inability to feel the pain of someone else. Sometimes it includes violent behavior, violent action, and often just extreme antisocial behavior.
Russ: That’s a lot to build up in a short period of time. The oldest was 19, the youngest was being 13 in this group of 5. How does that happen at that age? I mean how do you build up all that rage, all the traits you just described?
Patrick: Well, there’s two things. First we need to understand that the human brain does not fully develop until the second decade – that means until your 20s. So, until the human brain is fully developed, we don’t have a 100% capacity and ability to know, to be able to differentiate between right and wrong as well as the full ability to express empathy and make judgment. Having said that, let me share a story with you.
Patrick: Henry Lee Lucas was born in Blacksburg, Virginia. At 10 years of age, he watched his mother’s live-in boyfriend stab a calf in the neck and have sex with it while it was dying. At age 13, that means 3 years later.
Russ: You said calf, right?
Patrick: Yeah, calf.
Russ: The Australian accent throws me off sometimes.
Patrick: Sorry about that.
Russ: Calf, okay.
Patrick: So, 3 years later, Henry Lee Lucas, age 13, begins catching small animals and skinning them alive for fun. After stabbing, mutilating, and murdering women for over 30 years, at age 47 Lucas is now serving a life sentence in prison. The point being here that a child learns by copying what his or her parents do. But there are also other elements here – where are the parents here? You know, I would take a very good guess to say that, in my opinion, most likely, the father of each of these kid’s lives is not involved in their lives. He’s not around; he doesn’t know what they are doing; he doesn’t have a good healthy relationship with them; he’s not teaching them manhood as well as whatever other problems they have at home that lead to deep-seated anger, deep-seated rage but then gets expressed onto other people. And unless each father takes hold of his boy, his son and guides him and takes him from being a kid into manhood, then these sort of behaviors will occur, and I don’t mean that every kids is going to naturally be cruel and burn someone almost to the point of death. But the whole challenge here we have is that fathers are not playing the role of fathers. They’re not teaching their kids about right and wrong. They’re not teaching them how to get in touch with their own anger or how to get in touch with their maturation and evolution. And then we have the dangerous problem in society that both parents are often too busy with their own lives and too busy getting caught up in the pursuit of materialism, wanting bigger cars, bigger houses, you know, more, more more, trying to hold down two or three jobs. Thus, they’re not even connecting with their children, so they have no relationship with their kids. That’s why you see so much violence and so much anger in kids at such a young age throughout the entire country.
Russ: The gang leader, it seems to be, is 19 in this group, the other ones are 15, 13, another 15-year-old, a 16, and a 15-year-old. So at this point in time, can you rehab these kids? Can you get them into counseling? Can you turn them around or they just lock them up and throw away the key?
Patrick: Without speaking to each one individually, I’m of the personal opinion that you can always help someone if they want to change. Age 13 is still very young, age 15 is still very young. But also take a look at these kids. The authorities haven’t told you the full story. A lot of these kids have juvenile records that have been sealed which means they have been in a lot of trouble before, so no one has intervened to help them. Is it too late? I don’t think it’s too late.
Russ: All right. How do you feel personally being a counselor and behavioral expert about these kids being tried as adult? Should a 13-year-old be tried as an adult in a case like this?
Patrick: You know that’s not 100% my expertise but here’s what I would say to that. I’d say that age 15 is too young to be tried as an adult. The law says that at age 14 for certain serious crimes, you can be tried as an adult. But the brain hasn’t fully developed. The brain hasn’t fully developed, especially a boy’s brain, until they are early to mid 20s. Girls develop faster. So these kids haven’t even fully developed and I don’t know if that’s the right way to go about it because what’s going to basically happen is the will end up in an adult system, they are going to end up in an adult prison where they are just going to be exposed to other crimes, to other adult criminals who are going to teach them more of the same bad, wrong things rather than helping them to get on the right path.
Russ: Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert, Dr. Patrick Wanis. We are gonna get some more tips from Patrick and there’s always great writings on his website at PatrickWanis.com. W-A-N-I-S.
Russ: PatrickWanis.com, News talk 850 WFTL. 8:19 is our time today. 90’s going to be your high on this Thursday, October 15.
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.