If only we knew, we could perhaps stop it from happening again.
As we hear about the guilty verdicts in the Nia Glassie case, Britain has been gripped by the Baby P case.
Both cases being too barbaric to detail at length.
But they seem to have common backgrounds: Dysfunctional families, marital breakdown, people generally branded an 'underclass.'
The New Zealand media have just passed on the Nia Glassie case as just yet another poor kid dying after getting the bash. There have been so many such cases, we almost seem immune to them.
Because the victims here are largely Maori, does political correctness prevent a proper debate of the causes of such violence?
What about 'Rogernomics'? Unemployment? Drink? Drugs? The welfare state? poverty? or what?
What is the role of government in such crimes? And I don't just mean any failings in social services.
The issue is seen in moralistic terms, and the case became a political football involving PM Gordon Brown and his opponent David Cameron.
I doubt we will see such debate here in New Zealand, with questions raised in parliament.
But we should. How else are we to move towards the means we hope can prevent further barbaric murders.