Senseless Youth Violence In Seattle

Sigourney Weaver blows a kiss as she arrives for the premiere of the film "Snow Cake" at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland on Aug. 15, 2006.
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It was a vicious act caught on videotape. A 44-year-old man beaten by teenagers in the heart of Seattle. Luckily, the victim's injuries were minor, and the attackers were later arrested.

But as CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports, the savagery was shocking. That beating was one of almost a dozen in downtown Seattle in recent weeks, yet it was almost mild compared with the brutal killing of man in nearby Tacoma.

He was attacked by a pack of kids as young as 11.

The War On Violence
Several organizations are fighting violence in the U.S.
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  • The town of Cicero, Ill., finds itself battling gang violence that claims innocent young lives.
  • A host of organizations offer anti-violence studies and tips.
  • Friday, eight boys ages 19 to 11 were charged with first-degree murder for fatally beating 30-year-old Eric Toews on a Tacoma street last month.

    "He took 20-some blows to the head after they had him down on the ground," Tacoma Police Officer Jim Mattheis said.

    The attack provoked outrage.

    "This isn't a war zone. This isn't a battleground. This is my neighborhood and I'm not going to take it," said Jason Brown, who was a friend of Toews'.

    The public memorials after the murder and the angry public meetings revealed that it had happened often, with several people speaking up to say that they had been attacked. One woman claimed she was attacked eight months ago.

    The youth violence has residents frightened and angry, but they only want what they're owed, said Tacoma Police Oficer Eric Kothstien.

    "It's not like they're calling for people's heads here or anything but they want them (youthful criminals) prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

    Yet relatives of the accused say the boys deserve a chance. Martha Rose, an aunt of one of the accused, described the youths as little boys who don't know right from wrong.

    Angela Mullins, mother of the 11-year-old facing murder charges, said she would like to think her son still has some things going for him. She wasn't sure where he was the night of the attack and said she doesn't feel guilty about what he is charged with doing.

    "I don't think that I could feel guilty for something that I was unaware of," she said.

    Sociologist Karil Klingbiel says the series of attacks by kids are a disturbing trend that is more about young rage than about robbery.

    "What we have here is kids wanting to hurt somebody and getting into a frenzied attack," he said.

    Now for many residents there is a sense that Tacoma is not what it used to be. That a town once afraid for its children, may be growing afraid of them.

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