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The insane way child killers are treated and sentenced knows no national boundries sadly. This kind of result is too often handed out all over the world. If I had my way they would feel the short drop of the hangmans scaffold. Regardless of where it took place.

What the hell these cops were thinking is just beyopnd me? It usually is and I have had government law enforcement training. Why it's news worthy in a German publication is certain, it fits a pattern. What else can one say?

Those particular American cops could learn much from Germans, who, instead of handcuffing children, give them free showers in concrete bunkers.

You ask, "Why are SPIEGEL's authors and readers so keenly interested in the US story?"

Because they are addicted to their hatred of America and need another fix.

I hadn't heard the story about Karolina. It literally breaks my heart when I hear about things like that happening to children. There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with any justice system (anywhere) that doesn't force people like "Mehmet A" to spend the rest of their earthly lives rotting in a prison cell and thinking about what they've done.

I disagree about this handcuffing being so "absurd". If anything, such an experience at that sort of age is what can have a positive effect on future beahviour. But, of course, Spiegel does not even contemplate such thoughts. Indeed, the whole article is exemplary of the quasi-dogmatic idiocy that characterises the German MSM.

The cuffing story got big play in the states, at least on the net, so it should not be a surprise to see it played that way overseas. It's got stupid authority written all over it and is good for some humor. No doubt there will be lessons learned by the school and cops. The Karolina story is simply tragedy. That lessons wil be learned seems much less likely given the play the story seems to (not) have received. Obviously people can go that bonkers. What I don't understand is being so permanently bonkers that one could live with oneself thereafter. Three years for that? I'm not sure the German legal system has yet learned the lessons of Spandau and Auschwitz.

Sorry, I meant Landsberg, not Spandau. Got my Nazis mixed up.

DER SPIEGEL and similar German publications live in constant fear that their particular brand of Socialist politics might become old fashioned and subsequently moribound.

The thought of an American capitalist/religious lifestyle being possibly copied by German citizens (like everything else American) fills the heart of German Leftists with true horror.

That is why such a ridiculously minor and rare incident amongst 300,000 American citizens, like the handcuffing of a child, is being blown up by the German media to show "deep defects" in the American way of life.

Fortunately, this constant sniping at the U.S. has not yet been noticed by most Americans. We have a plate full of other things to worry about. But when the day comes that we actually do notice this German hostility (or treachery, if you will), the reaction from here will neither be pretty in form nor beneficial for their country .....

Peter P. Haase

Correction: "300,000 American citizen" should read 300 Million American citizens.

The problem is that these outrageous stories are being used to indoctrinate the masses of German population. Even the media in the US often concentrates on these types of stories. But we know that wild events are just that; and don't represent the vast majority of Americans. I guess the Germans get all of their information about us from their media, which is understandable.

I believe is does represent a sick Anti-Americanism by SPON to focus on "ugly Americana." Why is it neccessary to run these stories in German media in order to sell newspapers? And what does this say about what the Germans find marketable? American media does not use stories about the German cannabal to sell newspapers!

So Spiegel Online featured an article about this incident...

a) ...despite the fact that there are children who have been (and are) victims of horrible atrocities in Germany. Karolina as an example. And the delinquents have not been "adequately punished" in these cases.

b) ...despite the fact that Germany admits that children, especially from immigrant families, are discriminated every day.

c) ...despite the fact that children are starving in Africa.

d) ...despite the fact that there were children among the victions of the holocaust. (PacRim Jim)

So what are you suggesting? If all reporting had to be proportional to the importance of the object of that reporting, each news article in Germany would have to be initiated by a several page long description of the crimes commited by Germany in its history. Or few news could be longer than one or two sentences. That is absurd.

The SPON article is anti-American. I do not contest that. It does not expressly state that such incidents as the one describes are not commonplace in the US. Quite the contrary: Charges for sexual harassment are called "not rare" (implying: frequent) where "not singular" would have been correct.

But this is - unfortunately - only a part of your argumentation. To me it seems that you are suggesting that the German media has no right to report negatively about the US at all. Not about the living-conditions there because things are far worse here and not about US political actions (Iraq, camps like Guantanamo...) because in significant parts of German history its own political actions can only be considered as criminal.

I think it would be better to concentrate on German reporting that is unfair and unbalanced. But news do not become unbalanced per se just because one can imagine an incident that dwarves the one reported about.


Maybe this could work to my advantage. For a while now I've had trouble getting the town to fix a pot hole in the road near my apartment. City maintanence won't do anything until there is sufficient public pressure brought on by media coverage. The local paper won't cover it and there is little chance that state and national media will either. But now it might be possible to have Speigel do an expose on this road hazard.

@ Illic:

You write:

"To me it seems that you are suggesting that the German media has no right to report negatively about the US at all."

That simply isn't true and we have never said that in this blog. We at Davids Medienkritik believe that fair and balanced criticism is healthy and necessary in any society. The German media has every right to level criticism against any and every aspect of the United States and American politics and culture.

The fundamental problem with the German media in this regard is that it is NOT fair and balanced when it comes to reporting on the United States. In other words, there is a fundamental negative BIAS. That was the point of this posting and has been the point of virtually every posting on this site.

"I think it would be better to concentrate on German reporting that is unfair and unbalanced."

That is what we are trying to do.

---Ray D.

German media unbalanced? Hah! The entire Euro-Left is unbalanced.

"MORE AMERICANS CLAIM TO HAVE GERMAN HERITAGE THAN ANY OTHER NATIONAL ANCESTRY, according to the report for 2000 released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 43 million Americans — about 15% of respondents — listed German as their primary cultural heritage in 2000. The numbers highlight the strong sense of tradition among descendants of German immigrants who left their homeland to make a new life for their families in the United States."

I am only 25% German (my Grandmother) so I would not be included in that statistic. If those of us who are 1/4 or 1/2 are also include, I wonder how much those statistics would increase.


While I find the article about the handcuffed kids mildly amusing I don't think this is the Anti-Americanism that is we should worry about. What is a lot worse is that prominent ex-politcians of a conservative party call 'capitalism just as wrond as communism' and liken capitalists to drugdealers and mafia-bosses. This is the Anti-Americanism that is properly dangerous, not the amusement or mockery of child-education in the US.


@ commenters:

Please be sure to read the "UPDATE" just added to the end of the posting.

---Ray D.

Many years ago, I had the misfortune to be arrested. I had somehow forgotten to pay a parking ticket, so an arrest warrant was put out on me. A couple of years later, I was stopped for another traffic violation. When they ran my name through the computer, the outstanding warrant came up and I was arrested, handcuffed with my hands behind my back, and take directly to jail. I asked the arresting officer why I was handcuffed for such a minor, non-violent matter, and he said the policy was to handcuff anyone who was arrested for any reason. Clearly, it is silly to handcuff a 5-year-old child, but it is likely he was following some internal regulation of his department.

When I was a child it was a common practice to spank misbehaving students. I lived in North Carolina at the time. Today the child can't be touched by anyone who is in an official capacity. Given this restriction it makes sense to handcuff a child who won't cease aggressive activities. As a side note, I got it twice, once from the principle, and again from my father who had explained to me previously that I should behave in school. My response would have been to get the paddle and apply some corrective action. ;-)

Illic is using the rhetorical trick that used to be called "Starving Chinese" - how can you raise Problem X when all those Chinese are starving?

In fact it's entirely appropriate to raise issues that you can actually _do_ something about. Hopefully, the German people _can_ do something about people who torture & murder children in Germany and they can change the behavior of German judges who give lenient sentences to child killers.

In contrast, the handcuffing of American kids at the behest of lefty teachers belongs in the Trivia section - possibly worthy of censure, but there's nothing Germans can do about it. And anyway, as you point out, it pales into insignificance next to the killing of the child.

Keep on holding Spiegel's fat feet to the fire!

It seems like a kid has to be beaten into a coma before the German Child Protective Services will step in. I have heard that they are more likely to believe the parents' excuses than actually investigate.

Mike H.

the child can't be touched by anyone who is in an official capacity. Given this restriction it makes sense to handcuff a child who won't cease aggressive activities.


One can imagine the critical reactions had the camera captured that cop applying the force necessary to continually restrain her and a bruising or even a break had occured.

I saw the video and it was clear that the kid was in full "freak-out" mode in a small room full of pencils, scissors and the like. She was a danger to herself and those around her.

I can see why various media ran with the story though. Cheap thrills coupled with an oppurtunity to build one self up by pointing out the suppossed failings of others.

Oh well.

I can suggest an alternate explanation for the German paper treating both issues equally. I haven't seen it, but I understand that the Florida episode was on videotape. Unfortunately, in alot of cases nowadays, the issues that get the most attention are the ones with the video clips to accompany them.

I would imagine that the story about this poor girl in Germany would have been covered internationally if some of these atrocities were caught on tape.

What does this say about our media-obsessed culture?

Hmmm, Spiegel must be monitoring Fox News, that's where I've seen the video tape. The girl was acting like an out of control brat in the Vice Principal's office. The root cause of this situation is that our public schools have been run by the liberals for 40 years. The schools are run according the principles set out in lawsuits by the ACLU. So, neither the teacher, who gave up and called in the Vice Principal, nor the VP could physically restrain or spank the girl. That means the 5 year old is running the show and she knows it. Of course, when the mother shows up, she blames the VP, who she says pushes all of her little girl's buttons.

Solution: separate school and state. Make that mother solely responsible for her little girls education, so she can't hand off responsibility. She wouldn't stand for her daughter's crap anymore.

If you're not allowed to physically restrain a 5 year old child in your charge, what alternative do you have to calling the police. The police of course could have picked up the girl and taken her our, but they have to follow regulations imposed on them by the liberals and the ACLU.

Who're gonna blame, now you know.

@ Kevin,

Outstanding point. I think the camera footage was a major factor at play here. In that respect, it is another example of asymmetric journalism.

---Ray D.

Would it be okay with Germany if they just spanked the kid?

When I was in high school in California decades ago, the boys swam nude in the pool and the gym coaches popped nude kids with towels. Don't think I want to return to those days. (No, it wasn't in SF.)

>>Why does a child living in Germany have to be brutally beaten, burned and tortured into a coma to get the same coverage as an American kindergartner handcuffed by police for a violent temper tantrum?

I find six articles alone about Karolina at the SPON homepage (panorama section) since april 4th and one article concerning the handcuffed girl in florida - that is the same coverage?

>>Why are SPIEGEL's authors and readers so keenly interested in the US story?

i wonder how you know that the readers are interested in the story? do you have access to the SPON weblogs?

>>Is the arrest of an American kindergartner more significant than, say, the fact that thousands of children are starving to death in Africa every week?

no - but that makes one story about the arrested kid compared to how many stories about starving children in africa? do you think there are not more than one story about starving children in africa? look i found one:

While I agree with you, that the German court might have been to lenient in its sentence, you fail to see how the two cases differ.

One case is about the treatment of a perpetrator by the German court system and the American case is about the treatment of a child by American authorities.

Karolina was not beaten and killed by the German authorities, but by a criminal. Your indignation at the German authorities aka the Court system is directed against the treatment of this criminal by said Court system. The American child -as far as I understand- was handcuffed not by a criminal but by a police officer. The authorities and the child were in direct contact, there was no criminal perpetrator.

How authorities act towards the private citizen should of course be under severe scrutiny by the press. As it should be under severe scrutiny how the authorities react towards a criminal who has hurt a private citizen.

There is however a difference between the actions of a police officer, who represents the law and a criminal. Do you really hold the police officer to the low standard of a criminal? These two cases are not really comparable.

Some people are under the impression that the police handcuffed the child as a form of intimidation or police overkill. In fact the 5 year old girl was completly out of control and was restrained so she wouldn'r hurt herself while struggling with the adults.

Handcuffing people is a simple way for the police
to control a situation before it escalates. Hey just think what would have happened if they had tasered the little snot... Bwahahaha. We would have heard the Bush is Hitler comparision for sure.

as a German I can only follow what "PacRim Jim" says. I did not hear about the case of the handcuffed kid, but I definitely heard serveral times about Karolina.

So we don't have to ask ourselves why SPON give the same coverage to theese stories, because THAT IS NOT THE FACT!

You write:
>According to the Hamburger Abendblatt, the sadistic child killer "has already been convicted on >multiple charges of assault and battery and has 16 unsuccessful therapy attempts behind him." >Obviously, he has been let back out onto the streets time and time again by the German justice >system, and, for now at least, it would seem that he will likely be let out of jail again at some >time in the future. So much for the rights of the child...

I could not find ANY word in the mentioned article saying that the guy had been convicted for beating a child. Do you have other informations? If not you are misleading your readers by saying "So much for the rights of the child..." because there has been no child abusing/violence against children in his criminal record.

Don't blame anybody if you don't stay with the facts. Only stupid people do that.


@ Matthias,

Ummm, I am talking about the fact that he only got a ten year sentence for beating Karolina to death and since he is only in his 30s, he will likely get out of jail again after his sentence is over in ten years. Is there any way I can make that more clear? So much for the rights of the child...

@ Anni,

I agree, the German authorities did not directly kill Karolina, that is clear to everyone. But what does it tell you about the rights of children in Germany when a child-killer like this only gets 10 years? I remember another story where a mother who murdered several of her own babies got only 5 years.

@ Michael,

You make a fair point and a valid criticism. Thank you.

Actually, I found 5 articles about Karolina since April 4th. When I said equal level of coverage for these stories, I was referring to the two articles that I had brought up in my post. But you are absolutely right, my choice of words at this specific point was poor and there have been more articles about Karolina than this handcuffing incident by SPON. In that respect and in all fairness to SPIEGEL, it was not entirely correct for me to say that there was "the same coverage."

However, in my defense, I must say that the handcuffing incident story was left up at the top of SPIEGEL ONLINE's homepage for at least two days with its original title: "Super Nanny US-Style: Police Lead Child Away in Handcuffs." So just because SPON did more articles on Karolina, doesn't necessarily tell us which story received more or less exposure in terms of the number of readers. Remember, as Niko has pointed out, the handcuffing was also reported on Germany's two major state television networks as well: ARD and ZDF. So, by all estimates it reached an enormous German audience.

I guess my main point is that, in my opinion, the handcuffing story does not belong on the front page of a major publication or on major networks along-side stories like those involving Karolina. My feeling is that SPON (and others) chose this story and gave it the original title that it did to be able to run something anti-US. The fact that they responded to that charge by changing the title is very telling. I think the references to past cases of handcuffing and the sexual harassment references are further evidence that SPON wanted to use this article to catalog past US wrongs.

I also agree with another commenter that the taping of the handcuffing incident (unfortunately) made this story much more attractive to viewers and thus to media outlets.

Anyway, I appreciate the comments, constructive criticism is always welcome.

---Ray D.

I think that the way the articles are written weighs much more heavily on the issue of "equal coverage" (rather: very different coverage, "very double" standards) than exactly how many stories about each the German public is SPON-fed.

The US article mentions just the slightest bit of outrage at the situation (by the family's lawyer), suggests that things like this happen rather often - and most importantly, that nobody else in the US finds it even the slightest bit odd.

(SPON of course fails to mention the fairly reasonable reasons for the handcuffing (nobody but the police have handcuffs - and handcuffing is in fact the only way to restrain such a person (particularly at this age!) without opening whoever orders the restraint, as well as the executor of such restraint, to lawsuits. That's really the silly part - that kid-gloves-laws left them no other option.) But that's nearly expected - it wouldn't be interestign otherwise, I guess.)

On the other hand, the Karolina article's writer wouldn't have been amiss in editorializing that between the previous unsuccessful therapy attempts and the current crime, the punishment may just be a *little bit lenient.* Instead he opines rather the reverse: "Langjährige Haftstrafen". Why that obviously untrue title?

A question about the "Super-Nanny" title, which may be confusing other readers from the US that are aware only of the US show: In the US TV series of this name, the Super-Nanny conquers out-of-control children by some strictness (more stubbornness, than draconian punishment), as well as by not falling for the manipulations by the kids that the parents have utterly succumbed to. I'm aware that there is a German version of this show, and can only guess that it may be a little different. How would you characterize the German Super-Nanny (which the SPON writer doubtlessly was referrign t)?

All in all a good post, but bringing up Karolina doesn't bolster your point. You commit the same mistake you criticize. Germany looks to the US to ridicule as a distraction from there own problems, true, but showing German problems to distract or to counter their examination of ours is similarly avoiding the point.
The Karolina story is disturbing. The handcuff story opens an interesting debate about how to treat violent children, one that germany has every right participate in. The two stories are different beasts. Your post is good because it proves that the stories in the german news are sensationalizing at america's expense and therefore dispicable, but Karolina could and should have been left out of this.


The Karolina story was local and it should have recieved a lot of attention in Germany, but why did a story local to the US recieve as much. The real comparison is not how much coverage both stories got in Germany, but how much a German news item recieved in the US compared to how much a US item (in which no child was injured) recieved in Germany.

Actually, the handcuffing story created a stir here in the US as well. This is not the only small American child recently that has been taken away by police in handcuffs. Quite honestly, one doesn't know what to think. It seems preposterous to have a small child so out of control and adults so helpless that teachers cannot deal with the child. But then one views the tape of the child. When you see it, you want to do much more to this horrible child than just handcuff her. This child should be home-schooled. Let her mother reap the faulty parenting she has sowed. Obviously, this child rules her home as well as attempting to rule the school room.

I'm really not surprised at all the German media have used this incident to depict American society in a bad light. I often read small news articles about such odd situations in foreign countries. The implication is always that these foreigners are very odd indeed and we American readers all feel very smug that we live in such a sensible society. I think the German canibal is the best example, however extreme. I read recently that there is an attempt underway to retry him with a harsher charge.

At any rate, I forgive Spiegle for making fun of us. In this case, we deserve it.

The sad fact is, that beaten and killed children are a normality and therefore nobody reports about something like this happening in a foreign country, but a handcuffed child is so absurd that it is worth mentioning it in the „vermischtes“ section (alongside with the elephant-man and the „Prügel-Prinz“). Since we all know that spiegel online is the Bild-Zeitung of the web, it is hardly surprising that they picked it up.

Jabba is right. Place the blame for handcuffing that little girl soley on the left-wingers in this country, particularly the tort lawyers.

My wife is a teacher in a public school. She was horrified by the videotape, but she understands why it happened. All schools have rotten, misbehaving kids, but in the US teachers have to be VERY VERY CAREFUL about what they say and do when dealing with bad kids. Thanks to the lefty trial lawyers, parents will SUE at the drop of a dime and/or will try to prosecute the teacher because the parent knows "my little darling angel would never be naughty in school!" It's never the parent's fault, it's always the teacher's fault.

So you have a violent, mentally-disturbed kid thrashing around trying to hit people. The teachers cannot touch the child. The parents are at work or cannot be reached. School administrators cannot physically restrain the child. What is the only remaining option? Call in a cop. What is a cop gonna do to restrain such a kid? Cuff him/her so the child doesn't hurt himself/herself or anyone else.

School administrators SHOULD be allowed to restrain children when they are violent, but they cannot. Even when it would be the sensible thing to do, they won't take that risk, and I cannot blame them.

I too saw the video the kid who was handcuffed. What is wrong with her parents? That kid was on a rampage, as far as 5 yr olds go. Honestly, they should have tazered her. Then there'd be something to complain about.

Ray, you wrote:"

"Ummm, I am talking about the fact that he only got a ten year sentence for beating Karolina to death and since he is only in his 30s, he will likely get out of jail again after his sentence is over in ten years. Is there any way I can make that more clear? So much for the rights of the child..."


In the Article of Hamburger Abendblatt which you mention in your original posting (http://www.abendblatt.de/daten/2005/04/22/424839.html ) it says:
"Zehn Jahre und drei Monate muß Mehmet A. hinter Gitter und auf unbestimmte Zeit in die Psychiatrie [..]so lange, bis er geheilt ist. Der Richter: 'Es besteht die Gefahr, daß er weiter für die Allgemeinheit gefährlich ist.'"
In English (excuse my poor translation): "Mehmet A. was sentenced to 10 years and 3 months of jail and for an indefinite time in psychiatry [...] as long as he is healed. The judge: There is the danger, that he is threat for the public."

So, nobody at this point can says today when it is likely that we will get out. Maybe never!


Most willing to accept your appology!


@ Matthias:

"unbestimmt" is also be defined as undetermined. So we don't know how long Mehmet A will or will not be in a clinic. If the other 16 previous "therapy attempts" are any indication, I am not very hopeful. If you want to engage in wishful thinking about how long this child murderer will be in jail, that is your good right. Just don't expect me to, I've seen too many criminals get out of jail too early to make that mistake.

Again, my main point is that it is an outrage that this person did not receive a CLEAR life-sentence from the court for a crime this terrible. Someone like this should never have the slightest possibility to threaten another innocent child or anyone else again outside the confines of a jail.

Actually, I was incorrect on one point in my last comment, he won't get out of jail in ten years, he gets out of jail in three years to go to the clinic, where he will be in the process of "healing" for at least another seven years. Then he could get out whenever the "experts" determine he is "healed" or "rehabilitated."

Once again: A ten year sentence is a ten year sentence and a life sentence is a life sentence. There is simply no question: Mehment A. should have received a LIFE SENTENCE. Just the possibility that he will see the light of day again when he is supposedly "healed" is a travesty of justice and an insult to Karolina's memory.

So, what Matthias, you want an apology? Forget about it. I won't EVER apologize or ever back down from demanding a proper sentence for child murderers. The German judge who made this outrageous decision is the one who should apologize.


---Ray D.

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