Monday, 27 June 2011

Day 268

I'm sorry, but what's going on with James Bulger.

I was only five years old when he died, but in the years that followed I remember his case being used as a jackhammer for the issue of violence in film and the effect it has on children. Children aren't developed enough to understand film violence in the same manner as adults do, and this, alongside other factors including, all importantly, mental disorder, caused the two 10-year-olds to do what they did, obviously unable to apply their actions to a moral compass we all take for granted.

It was an enormous case because of the children and the motivations, and of course the incident encompasses perhaps the two biggest nightmares a parent could ever have -- your child being killed, or your child being the one responsible.

We call him "Jamie", just as we call Madeleine McCann "Maddy". I find this unsettling.

And I believe that James Bulger has not felt any pain, of any kind, for over eighteen years. Imagining what he could have been does absolutely nothing but cause masochistic pain for those he left behind. I know that if a parent loses their child there's no healing to be had -- after all, a dead child is unnatural, so we're not really equipped for it -- and talking about it can be helpful, but if you talk about it all the time, on Twitter of all places, and eighteen years have passed, then it's time to find a new approach. I wonder if Mrs Fergus has tried avoiding the news for a while, blocking out all mention of Jon Venables and refusing to give her comments on it. It's certainly impossible to avenge James Bulger's death; the worst that can be done to Venables is arrest and detainment, both of which have been done to him already. She is obviously an intelligent and good person, but if I were her I would be concerned that I was simply waiting for Jon Venables to die.

Bringing it all to another level, ticking off boxes of moral squalor as he goes, Venables was recently denied parole having been charged with possessing indecent images of children. Despite the high profile status of the crime he committed as a boy, obviously what money that could have been spent on rehabilitation has been spent on media coverage instead. Jon Venables is as damaged as his victim. And he's not harmless; for someone you'd think people would be keeping a hellishly sharp eye on, his list of further crimes and misdemeanours is long. Why isn't he the project of criminal psychologists across the world? Why is there no stopping the eighteen year long shadowy drawl of this entire case?

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