Thursday, July 04, 2013

Demonised

Our modern, largely secular, society still has a primitive need for demons and monsters to loathe and fear. The Parole Board appears to have taken the inevitable decision to free a deeply troubled man who committed a terrible crime when he was a young boy, and has spent the rest of his still-young life paying for it. Tomorrow's strident tabloids will not be a pretty sight.

14 comments:

  1. Several tabloids and some of their readers (expressing customary "Fury") no doubt regret the decision taken in 1868 to end the practice of public hanging.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No amount of time can assuage the grief of the families in this case. But there does come a time when forgiveness has to come about. After all they were kids when they did those awful acts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Venables was an adult when he committed the child porn related offences. At this point, some would like to start mentioning leopards and spots.

      I wouldn't go that far, but the opinions of Anon at 20:01 are nonsense. Whilst Venables and Thompson may or may not have fully grasped the consequences of their actions in an adult sense, they knew perfectly well what they were doing, and that it was wrong. I have no problem at all with either their murder convictions or the sentences. Nor do I have a problem with his release now, assuming the parole board did its job. The idea suggested by the article - that the release of Venables should depend on how Jamie Bulger's parents feel, is complete nonsense.

      Yes, the tabloid lynch mobs are unhelpful, but I suspect that Venables's self-perception is less distorted by the screechings of outraged editorial writers, and more distorted by the fact that he knows that he brutalized and murdered a baby. I don't know how anyone could live a normal life whilst concealing that kind of secret.

      Delete
  3. It's not an easy one. Society will have to hope that he has changed and given this next chance will lead a useful and productive life. Something which I doubt his victim's family will ever agree and they have views too that should be respected.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I see that at least one MP has questioned the cost to the public purse of setting up a new identity and other precautions against this person being attacked. Common sense suggests that this is unavoidable and absolutely necessary, but it won't stop the tabloids (plus one or two publicity-hungry MPs who can be relied upon to jump on any passing bandwagon) whingeing about it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a similar age to Venables and Thompson. At the time I recall thinking the adult world had taken leave of it's senses. The treatment of Venables and Thompson frightened me far more than their treatment of Bulger. Children do bad without understanding what they are doing: they are children. The decision by _adults_ to ruin the lives of these deeply damaged children was a medievalist outrage. They should never have been prosecuted. Children do not have adult moral autonomy. The judge and prosecutors and politicians responsable for this disgusting debacle are not stupid, they knew that, so one has to ask why they chose to pursue the charade. There is a good article on the topic here

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/8290

    I have substantial sympathy for Venables. He has been subjected by the state and media to a witch hunt of the vilest kind. It's not difficult to believe that his second crime may never have occurred if he'd not had been made the subject of national demonisation throughout his adolescence. This must have distorted his self perception.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If, as appears to be the case, the great British public and the media which supply their information, take the view that Parole Boards should never release anyone at any time, perhaps the Home Office could contribute to the next Spending Review by scrapping them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It seems that for many people in this supposedly civilised country, justice would only have been done if those children had been hanged, drawn and quartered and their ten-year-old heads put on pikes for the rejoicing populace to dance around. Much is being made of Venables' second offence. It seems that the images were borderline only, and that he flashed them about ostentatiously so that his probation officer could see them. Not facts that our esteemed tabloids chose to publicise in their self-righteous quest for "justice".

    ReplyDelete
  8. Issue no.1. One cannot imagine the situation that the family of the victim found themselves in, through no fault of their own. Neither can the law really do anything about that. Victims rarely count these days and that needs changing. But as things stand, that is the situation. Arguably, killing Venables would not have changed that terrible situation for the victim's family much, either.

    Issue no. 2: Is Venables still a threat to the public ? Presumably the parole board thinks not. They should be publically named now (because it is their decision that is, among other things, supposed to protect the public now). They also should be held personally accountable and criminally liable if their judgement proves to be wrong.

    Issue no.3: Is the public a threat to Venables ? Probably yes, and he needs some sequestered place of safety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. > Victims rarely count these days and that needs changing.

      In civilised jurisdictions crimes are violations against society as a whole, not against individuals.

      Victims should be supported and compensated by the state but there is no place for victims in the justice system. Furthermore, that is the traditional position of the system. Unfortunately you are wrong to suggests that victims views count less now. The reverse is the case. They can now make impact statements in court before sentencing. That is wrong: punishment should not depend on the personality of the victim.

      Delete
  9. In my humble opinion, the Old Testament ... "an eye for an eye" ... has much to recommend it.

    Venables did not care for Jamie Bulger, so why should we care about him.

    I know that the New Testament tells us to turn the other cheek, but it does not tell us how many times to do so. I imagine once, as we only have two cheeks.

    Venables has already had a chance, and thrown it away.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bluntly - he has paid the price for his wrongdoing. His life has already been ruined. Get over it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bystander - the catcha is in part sometimes completely indecipherable. The one that is a real problem is the first one. The photographic image.

    ReplyDelete

Posts are pre-moderated. Please bear with us if this takes a little time, but the number of bores and obsessives was getting out of hand, as were the fake comments advertising rubbish.