Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Blood Lust for Venables

The case of Jon Venables' rearrest, and the reaction to it by the media and many of the public, expose an ugly side of the British psyche. From listening to radio phone ins and watching daytime TV (while off work sick this week), I've seen that public opinion is polorised between the "try him first" and "hang him now" positions. But the "hang him now" brigade seem to be the most prevalent and, for many of them, hanging him now is not good enough. They wish he'd been hung when he committed the crime, along with his accomplice Robert Thompson, both aged 10 years.

I hate what those kids did. I hate that they were brought up in an environment that warped their young minds to such an extent that they didn't have sufficient empathy for their victim to stop them in their tracks. They were sick individuals. If they'd be adults I'd have written them off and wanted them jailed for life (and I mean life). As it was, they were children, and I think it was right to imprison them, treat them and release them with new identities before they could be permanently recruited into the criminal fraternity in an adult prison.

Whatever Venables has done now, he should have been arrested and tried under his new identity. The court needs to know his history as he is in breach of his life sentence licence. But there was no need for the public leak of his arrest. All it has achieved is to cause great hurt and anger to Jamie Bulger's parents - who's reaction I completely understand. But justice can't be based on emotion and all these other people baying for Venables' new identity to be revealed are just after some kind of proxy vengeance. They know that, once identified, he'd be dead within weeks. As a society, we are better than that.

What is depressing is that not more has been done to understand what leads to these terrible crimes being committed by, what should be, innocent young children. The recent Edlington case case shows us that this "evil" is still amongst us. But instead of trying to understand why it happens, many would rather vent their anger against these sick minded children than work out what made them they way they are.

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