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It could always be worse...couldn't it?

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CMSV18-USA-FRP__Canada_USA_Friendship_patch[1].jpg There's no doubt we have a major youth crime problem in our own backyard. I've seen that first-hand this week with two stories I've penned that have generated plenty of anger.Our "Killer Kids" piece on Wednesday revealed a record number of Manitoba teens have been charged with homicides in the past 18 months.And my "Teen Rampage" story in Friday's paper has plenty of people fuming because the 17-year-old who randomly selected nine innocent, vulnerable victims to brutalize was spared an adult sentence.However, as bad as things might seem here in Canada, a quick glance at our neighbours to the south is always good for some perspective.There were three separate stories out of the United States on Friday alone which blew me away. Here's a summary:13623998[1].jpg 1. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Two teenagers were accused of gang raping a woman and forcing her 12-year-old son to join in the attack, then beating him and pouring cleaning solution into his eyes.Authorities allege Avion Lawson and Nathan Walker, 16, were among a group of about 10 masked suspects who forced their way into the woman’s apartment in a crime-ridden housing project.The two were being held without bail Friday on suspicion of armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators, sexual performance by a child, armed home invasion and aggravated battery. Both were arrested this week, but formal charges had not been filed. Authorities said the two would be charged as adults.“Any rape case is horrible but this takes it to another level, something you can’t think of even in your worst dreams,” police spokesman Ted White said.READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***623t[1].jpg 2. ENID, Oklahoma (AP) — Detectives arrested a 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister for allegedly abducting their neighbor’s 1-year-old son and demanding $200,000 for his return.Brandon Wells was back at home Thursday night, hours after intruders broke into his family’s residence and took him while his mother, Sheila Wells, slept, police said.“I’ve been doing this 18 1/2 years, and this is the first time I know of when a 10- and a 12-year-old kidnapped a 1-year-old,” said police Capt. Dean Grassino. “It definitely ranks up there with the unusual crimes.”The siblings, who were not identified because of their ages, are accused of sneaking into Wells’ home at about 5:30 a.m., taking Brandon and leaving a ransom note.“If you want to see your son again then you won’t call police and report him missing and you will leave $200,000 on the sofa tonight and we will return your son back safe,” the note read, according to police.The note was signed, “the kidnappers.”READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***13636624[1].jpg 3. ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Police who chased a car along a highway at speeds up to 160 km/h said the driver was drunk, hardly a rarity in this resort town. But there was more: When they looked inside the flipped vehicle with guns drawn, they found an 11-year-old girl at the wheel.“You go up there thinking it’s a felon you’re dealing with,” assistant police Chief Greg Duck said.The girl, who was slightly injured in the crash, is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.Duck said she sideswiped another vehicle during the 13-kilometre chase.The chase began around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when a patrol officer near the Florida line saw the car speeding west along a beach highway, Duck said. When the officer flicked on his lights, the driver sped up. The girl rolled the car just inside the Gulf Shores city limit.READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***So, do these horror stories change your views at all about youth crime in Canada? Or do they simply show that kids are out of control on both sides of the border?Post your thoughts below - and join me this Sunday night, 7-9 p.m. CST, for my national "Crime and Punishment" radio show across the Corus and Rawlco radio networks where we'll be talking about all these cases and plenty more.www.mikeoncrime.com

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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