Baldybeak, one of our regular commenters, has pointed me to this report on a subject that may well drive tomorrow's budget from the front pages of the downmarket tabloids.
Just leave aside Venables' crime for a moment, hard as that may be. Let us tuck away the pity that anyone must feel for poor Jamie Bulger, although that pity is right and proper.
Now look at what Venables did, and then what happened to him. He committed his dreadful crime at the point in his childhood where he was already terribly damaged. He was then flooded with interventions from police lawyers social workers, psychiatrists, the lot. They did their best, I am sure. But Venables' teenage years were spent in institutions with other troubled adolescents, looked after by dedicated trained professionals who for all their efforts could never hope to emulate a home.
There were, I presume no girls. No clumsy teenage yearnings and fumblings, none of the growth of trust in and liking for another that most of us experienced.
So, approaching thirty, he may have developed an unhealthy sexual interest in young children, an interest that was facilitated by the omnipresence of pornography on the Web. Anyone reading this is no more than a few clicks away from graphic depictions of extreme sexual activities.
I am as revolted as anyone by what he did as a child. I am also saddened by the inability of all those people and all that money to keep him away from the swamp that he has now stumbled into.
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