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Word Count: 2,414
Social reaction to school massacres and inexplicable acts of violence among the teenage population in the late twentieth century flooded television news programs and media broadcasting almost on a monthly basis Many Americans questioned why such seemingly healthy and established children would want to harm themselves and others around them Several psychological and moral issues arise from this question Despite legal efforts to differentiate between adult and adolescent crimes many argue that children who commit such heinous mass murders should be tried as adults and put to death for their inexcusable and fatal acts of violence In 1924 the murder trial of two Chicago teenagers sparked an equal amount of public outcry For no apparent reason except for pleasure and curiosity Nathan F Leopold Jr age nineteen and long-time friend Richard A Loeb age eighteen brutally murdered fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks by beating him to death with a chisel In the state of Illinois at that time there were two crimes punishable by deathmurder and kidnapping for ransom Leopold and Loeb committed both of these offenses but despite the law Leopold and Loeb were sentenced to life in prison The principal reason why Leopold and Loeb were not executed was primarily due to the fact that they had a very influential defense attorney Clarence Darrow who was able to convince the judge that capital punishment was morally wrong Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb first met at the University of Chicago Leopold was fifteen years old and Loeb was one year younger The relationship between the two was unusual They argued often At one point in their relationship they each threatened to kill one another Despite their quarrels and hostile bickering they somehow never lost their friendship In time Nathan and Richard involved themselves with petty crimes such as throwing stones through car and house windows and turning in false reports to the police Eventually the boys had more serious intentions Leopold and Loeb began planning
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