Why are crimes committed by the elderly such "shocking" news?

Man and woman are dating. They’ve been romantically involved for a year. Man dumps woman for another. Woman shoots man in the head four times in a jealous rage.

Not a significant story - it’s the kind of thing that happens every day, sadly. When does it get even a little nationwide attention? When the woman is 78 and the man is 85.

What is it about these kinds of stories that get our attention? Surely we ALL can’t have grown up with sweet, elderly, doddering grandparents? Surely people like the recently convicted ex-KKK’er show that people who are criminally inclined when young don’t suddenly become harmless when they’re old? Elderly people have passions and anger like everyone else - the stereotypical “get off my lawn!” neighbor proves that. So why are we always so surprised?

Isn’t violent behavior rare in the elderly? If this woman doesn’t have a history, maybe there’s a physiological cause.

I guess I’m surprised because I expect seniors to react better to bad times. By the time we’re 78 (if we’re that lucky), we’ve had our share of tragedy and disappointment and we should have learned how to deal with it. This lady didn’t, which makes me think there’s more going on than anger at being jilted.

I work in a nursing home. Let me tell you a thing or two about ederly people; they can be the meanest, cruelest people you’ll ever meet. Here’s why, they sometime feel that they are beyond consequence and certainly beyond punishment. I don’t mean this as in a selfish way, but in a tired, I’ved lived long enough to do what I want kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, those people are my life, but I have (as well as my co-workers) have gotten the phooey beaten out of me for trying to help them. Sometimes it is demntia, and sometimes they are just old enough not to give a flying flip anymore, they just want to do what they want to do. Can you really blame them?

I guess I’m always amazed by it because, if I live that long, I don’t expect to give enough of a shit about it to get that angry. It seems to take more and more to really get me angry these days. Things that would have made me angry when I was younger are now greeted with a sad shake of the head and an “oh, you again?”

Then again, I’ve know some awfully stubborn older people. Many of them were/are related to me.

mraldjenn, thanks for your geriatic work. It is demanding, often heartbreaking and sometimes dangerous, but so very necessary.

It surprises me somewhat because you’d think most people with very violent tendencies, dangerously foolish, or whatever, would either get wise or would have been weeded out. Darwin Award winners, life sentences, that sort of thing.

Then there’s situations like mraldjenn mentioned. Senile dementia made my grandmother a very mean woman. Thank goodness for the people at the nursing home who worked hard to get her correct medication and had such patience when she was confused and unreasonable. It made my grandparents’ last years much better.

I appreciate that. But, as sad as it is sometimes to see these people so out of their own heads, you have to have a sense of humour. Once this lady grabbed my necklace and had me like and inch from her face and bit my nose. Luckily she didn’t have her teeth in, but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t see. At least in the twilight of their lives they get to have a little revenge. haven’t you ever wanted to bite a (insert nemisis here) person on the nose, and et away with it?