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James Garborino, Ph.D.

Featured In: Volume 7: "Children who Kill"

Cornell University Family Life Development Center Martha Van Rensselaer Hall Ithaca, NY 14850-4401


Understanding why children kill has become the professional calling of James Garborino, director of Cornell University’s Family Life Development Center in Ithaca, NY. Author of Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment, Dr. Garborino has interviewed 24 young killers with his wife and fellow researcher, Clare Bedard for his forthcoming book, Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them. According to Dr. Garborino, one-third of all 8 year olds nationwide have access to a gun. Either there’s one in their house or in a friend’s house and they know how to get hold of it. He stated, in an interview in People magazine, that "What’s surprising is that we don’t have more such incidents" as the killings in Oregon and Jonesboro. In our interview he discusses the lethality of our culture, and he also states that the decline in adult supervision plays a great part. One study he cites found that the number of hours per week that adults spend in direct interaction with their kids declined by half from 1960 to 1980, so increasingly, adolescents are taking cues from peers rather than adults. Dr. Garbarino served as President of the Erickson Institute for Advance Study in Child Development before returning to Cornell University. He has served as consultant or advisor to a wide range of organizations, and in 1991 he undertook missions for UNICEF to assess the impact of the Gulf War upon children in Kuwait and Iraq. Recipients of many national awards for his work on behalf of abused and neglected children and for nationally significant contributions to child protection, he has authored or edited 16 books and received the Silver Award at the 1981 International Film and Television Festival of New York for co-authoring "Don’t Get Stuck There: A Film on Adolescent Abuse."

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