Jason M. Fuller


Were such a killing to occur in the U.S., the popular reaction would have been, “How can we prevent this from happening again?” In Sweden, however, youth violence and aggression has gotten so out-of control that the reaction was, “Shoot another [one].” Sadly, many policymakers fail to realize how Swedish laws have contributed to growing youth violence, and consequently, to public resentment of Swedish youths.

In 1979, Sweden started an international trend by becoming the first country to ban spanking. Since then, twenty-three more countries have outlawed it. The European Committee of Social Rights currently is urging all forty-five of its member nations to ban corporal punishment. In 2007 alone, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain, and Chile each enacted laws forbidding parents from using physical discipline. In that same year, California and Massachusetts also introduced legislation to ban spanking. Anti-spanking laws are proposed and passed with the hope that they will create a “cultural spillover” of non-violence, and a society that does not need correction. For instance, when Italy’s Supreme Court declared spanking unlawful, it said the very expression “correction of children” was both “culturally anachronistic and historically outdated.”