A child picks up a gun and shoots another kid, everyone is horrified that a child could be so callous. A teenager joins in with his buddy and helps him kill. A bunch of high schoolers gang rape a girl and everyone is shocked at the sociopath glee of those in volved. The courts declare they are monsters who should be tried as adults because they did adult crimes. They are seriously screwed up.
It's the adults who are screwed up. When will we learn that children and adolescents don't process social behavior like mature adults. That's why they are called immature. A child points a gun at another and kills them and we all cry in shock. But to the kid it's just a toy, they don't understand how they did something wrong.
Some kid wants to impress another at how cool he is but he doesn't see the moral consequences of doing so. Children are used as soldiers for the same reason. They lack the subtle understanding that comes with maturity as an adult.
Putting kids in juvenile detention until they turn eighteen isn’t the solution but locking them up in an adult penitentiary for most of their life isn’t the solution either. What is needed is new kind of place where young offenders transition from child to adult while gaining a moral compass to guide them.