Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Evil for Ever

Born evil, always evil, evil without the possibility of change.

Is that true? Certainly many people feel that way about Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, murderers of three-year-old James Bulger in 1993. They abducted him from a shopping centre, you remember, and took him on a two and a half mile walk, torturing him on the way, before killing him.

They served eight years in young offenders’ institutions before being released on licence with new identities when they were eighteen.

What they did was horrific and the internet is full of stories about them. Who knows whether or not the stories are true?

Today I was sent an email – which has clearly been doing the rounds for several years, amassing signatures as it goes – objecting to their release.

“They disgustingly and violently took Jamie’s life away and in return they each get a new life!”

Surely it’s not as simple as that. The horror of what they did cannot be overstated – but they were ten years old at the time. If, as a society, we cannot see any possibility of hope of change in such young children, and can consider nothing but eternal punishment for them, then I think we should look carefully at ourselves.

What I thought was really wrong was the content of the email. I’m a fast reader so I had read it before I realised I didn’t want to. It described in great detail what the two boys had done to James Bulger. I don’t know whether or not it was true, but I didn’t want those images in my head, and now they’re there and they won’t go away.

Very irresponsible of whoever started it – and including, I think, a most unpleasant, intended shock-horror-tear-jerking enjoyment of it all. I think this parody of the news coverage at the time sums it all up rather well. I won’t be forwarding the email to anyone.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ailbhe said...

I never understood why their siblings weren't taken into care. Clearly those boys had real, real problems.

9:32 pm  
Blogger AmyTree said...

Thank you for not forwarding it... I got it a while back and it still haunts me.

x A.

9:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you feel about the "rehabilitation" now that Venables downloaded the very worst level of child pornography? Sometimes a spade is just a spade and bleeding hearts can't change that fact. An innocent toddler was murdered by two children who definitely knew (according to top psychologists) exactly what they were doing. James and justice for him should be the focus-not misplaced compassion for people incapable of rehabilitation-which most sensible folks knew in advance would be the case. Robert will do something next. It's just a matter of time.

5:16 am  

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