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Too many kids

Why are some societies more violent than others? Because they're too young

By David Willetts   October 2003

The brutalised boy soldiers in Liberia, racing around in trucks firing their Kalashnikovs, provided some of the most shocking pictures of the summer. The images are so appalling that it is difficult to think clearly about what lies behind them. But I believe they contain a crucial clue to the problem of violence and disorder, not just around the world but also closer to home.

The clue is there in front of us on the television-these are societies with crowds of youngsters and few adults. The boy soldiers of Liberia are living in an extraordinarily youthful society. In Liberia, the…

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