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Dr Jekyll
22nd Jun 2001, 20:24
BBC News reports that the killers of James Bulger are to be released on parole after only serving 8 years!

Grainger
22nd Jun 2001, 20:37
88 years would be more like it.

Anyone wanna have a sweepstake on how long they last once out ?

RW-1
22nd Jun 2001, 21:02
Tony, two more young friends for you to play with, but in this case you can be as rough as you want ....

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Marc

tony draper
22nd Jun 2001, 21:05
Joking aside.
I don't think judges should be allowed to say "You will go to prison for life", thats just a big lie, life is eight years now.
Lot to be admired about the American system fifty years to life means just that.
Its probably cost something close to half a million to set them up with new ID'S safe houses support systems ect,
makes me puke.
One good thing, I agree the newspaper's won't do anything illegal to find them themselves,they'll just pass the word around and once they are outed on the net, they'll be fair game.
Doesn't seem to be any price to pay for crime, there's no cost attached to it.

[This message has been edited by tony draper (edited 22 June 2001).]

gul dukat
22nd Jun 2001, 21:28
I know this is controversial but does anyone think that perhaps they have been changed by the prison experience and that that is the purpose of prison ? They did after all go into the prison system as young kids .It is unpleasant to think that in certain parts of these islands there are ADULTS who have been released under a spurious peace process and they have most certainly NOT learnt anything other than violence pays !

[This message has been edited by gul dukat (edited 22 June 2001).]

fireflybob
22nd Jun 2001, 22:18
I hesistate to venture into this debate but here goes!

Whether they should have been released now or later is a debatable issue but what worries me is the "lynch mob" mentality and trial by media etc.

I fully appreciate that feelings will run high and I am not condoning the terrible acts that these boys committed but should people be taking the law into their own hands after the due process of law has been followed?

If, as a nation, we think the law is an ass then we should vote and lobby to get the law changed.

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HugMonster
22nd Jun 2001, 22:38
Two excellent posts there by gul and firefly.

If we pride ourselves on the level of civilisation we enjoy, we have to allow those bodies we invest with powers and authority to conduct part of our affairs on our behalf to do that job.

It amazes me that some people feel free to convict on the basis of no knowladge at all of any of the facts of a matter. Has anyone here sat in on their parole hearings? Interviewed them? Know what has happened to them since the killing? Does anyone have any background at all in criminal psychology, paediatric psychology, criminology or penal theory? I doubt it.

Yes, it was a horrible crime, and one that deprives a family forever of their son, whom nothing will bring back. Nothing can condone their actions.

That does not mean, however, that the principal function of imprisonment has to be revenge. Yes, it has a part to play. So does rehabilitation, protection of others, discouragement of other offenders, etc. etc. etc.

Mention has been made of the cost of establishing them somewhere that they will be safe from the lynch mobs. Ever thought how much it would cost to keep them in jail for the rest of their lives instead?

Whirlybird
22nd Jun 2001, 23:01
Huggy,

I was just wondering how to respond to this thread, but you put it perfectly. I agree with every word, and really have nothing to add.

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Whirly

To fly is human, to hover, divine.

Grainger
23rd Jun 2001, 00:24
Amazing.

Let's give the little darlings a merit badge while we're at it.

Another thing that bothers me. What about the parents of Venables and Thompson. Where are they? Have they nothing to say ?

Velvet
23rd Jun 2001, 01:46
The only comment I have is that 8 years is hardly justice for the brutal murder of a young boy, no matter who perpetrated it.

That said, and it is now academic, how many adults get that or less for just as horrific and brutal crimes. The parents and guardians of young children inflict the most appalling injuries, how many people remember Anna Climbie, Chelsea Brown, Sarah Payne or the scores of other young kiddies abused and tortured over a period of months or years. Systematically brutalised by those who should have been caring and loving them.

A considerable number of children are murdered by their parents every year. An even greater number are abused, mistreated and injured by their parents, foster parents, carers and in childrens' homes and is there the same outcry - only if it becomes a media story.

I'm not going to comment on the responsibility of Social Services and their failure to act in such cases.

This is purely about how the media and sections of the public seem to fixate on one or two high profile cases.

Now, of course, we are going to get people looking for them - to mete out their own brand of punishment. Any young man who happens to move into a new area, and who may be seen to visit the local probation office will be a potential target for that section of the populace who take the law into their own hands (all in the interests of justice you understand).

I remember the mob who screamed abuse at a young boy who was the first one thought to have committed this crime - he turned out to be innocent - didn't stop the protestors, he was subjected to a barrage of insults and intimidation.

Wasn’t so long ago that a paediatrician’s home was vandalised because these upstanding citizens couldn’t spell paedophile, or were ignorant of the difference.

Luke SkyToddler
23rd Jun 2001, 02:10
Eight years, what a piss take. If they had any brains they'd be pleading to be kept inside right now, at least they'd have a chance of living the full length of their natural lives that way. The tabloid press will whip up such a vengeful hysteria that it's virtually inevitable, some hot head vigilante will recognize them and top them before long. I only hope that another innocent person doesn't die at the hands of a lynch mob as the result of mistaken identity ...

To slightly misquote Howard Marks, it seems bizarre that people who torture and murder small children can be treated less harshly than people who transport herbs across borders :rolleyes:

Big Red ' L '
23rd Jun 2001, 02:54
Some good posts to this but, just imagine if it was your child they killed....

Iceolareanic
23rd Jun 2001, 04:15
We are meant to be a civilised society. If someone (in this case two young children) commit a crime, they are punished and reformed in a manner which society has previously deemed suitable.

These two boys have spent nearly half their life in custody. It has not been a 'hard' custody they have faced, if is was, we would have condemmed them to a 'punishment and a low quality lifestyle' forever. These two are facing heavy difficulties ahead i.e. Integrating and becomming a normal part of society. They will never be able to talk about their childhood, never be able to forget what they have done, they can never relax and lead a normal life. They will have to lie to people for the next 70 years about how they spent their childhood.

While they have been in custody, they have been through the most significant changes in their lives, and they will have matured.

Ask the question, 'is prison for punishment or reform'? It has to be both. They have been denied a normal childhood. They have not experienced any of the fun or freedom that a normal child would enjoy. They will not be mentally the same as a normal child as a result. The have been punished for life, and hopefully reformed too.

What happens next. The people we voted for to lead us have decided that they have done their time. We need to honour that decision.

If someone you loved was murdered, you would most likely want to see them hang. No doubt you would not be so enthusiastic to see a murderer hang, if you personally weren't affected by their crime. That is basially selfishness. You don't always get what you want. Someone else has to decide what is right for you, that is why we elect government. We will not all individually like their decisions, but we need to respect them.

What has been suggested by Luke SkyToddler and others is murder, mob rule and a total break down of the justice system. Are you really indicating that you would like to see these two boys murdered?

Awful crimes are committed every day. Some obvious, some not so obvious. Do not poison your mind with the desire for revenge.

Roofus
23rd Jun 2001, 04:46
*Soapbox Warning!*

Why should we, the tax payer, fork out the dough to keep these people secret??

For that matter why do prisons have TV etc? Why should we pay to make criminals comfy??

I'm sorry but crimes of this nature are dispicable! No they should not be let out! No they should not have secret identities! What they did was premeditated murder!

Each to their own view, I do accept that!

Question.... If we are a civilised society...why do they need secret identities?

Too much do gooding in the world! Make the penalties harsher....much harsher! Then maybe crime rates will fall! But no.....we must hug the criminals! & love them! WHAT??

I'm sorry to say........they should never be allowed out! & if the cost of keeping them in is too high...take away Sky TV, take away all the other creature comforts. A cell, a bed & a bucket! That don't cost much!

*Right I'll climb off my soapbox now!*

Secret Squirrel
23rd Jun 2001, 05:31
Difficult subject this one, eh. I just want to add my particular brand of moderation here. I have to agree with Huggy in that we are not experts in any of the important fields that matter when passing judgement. Neither have we really taken into consideration the blame that should be aportioned to their environment; be it parental or otherwise.

Kids are cruel in the extreme, they often don't realise how cruel they can be until much later in life when they shudder at the thought of what they have done. Often though, because we don't realise at the time the pain we inflict we don't actually get to the stage of remorse unless an adult actually catches us and teaches us that it is wrong. However, being on the receiving end certainly does stay with you and often it is easy to recall that pain.

As an aside to Huggy's post, I don't actually agree with Lynch Mobs either because most of the people who partake are ignorant fools, and as has been said, more often than not they get it wrong. On the other hand, I would not raise a finger in judgement against the family if they took the law into their own hands IN THIS CASE. Bear in mind that it is a cut and dried case where the perpetrators have been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. An eye for an eye; a child for a child.

Yes, if it was my kid I would seek to execute but I wouldn't make that judgement for anybody else.

[This message has been edited by Secret Squirrel (edited 23 June 2001).]

tom775257
23rd Jun 2001, 05:39
The thing about it that bothers me is that if they mudered at that young age, what type of upbringing did they have to cause this. I am afraid that I think to murder at that age, their parents must be somewhat to blame in giving them a 'bad' upbringing.
I guess the thing you have to question is that if you were one of the killers, and bought up in the same way, is it at all possible you would have done the same. I guess it comes down to the nature/ nurture argument slightly. Genetics doesn't make you kill (unless possibly argued polysomy of the y chromasome leads to violence i.e. xyy)...
Were the killers at all mentally retarded? Did they have particulary bad births, with possible brain damage??
Perhaps as they were young when they went to prison, they could be reformed.
It was a horrible crime, and they deserved to be punished. However if they are reformed, and have served their punishment, I guess I can't be too against that. Mind you not having children I guess I could not see it from the same point of view as parents..

Rollingthunder
23rd Jun 2001, 05:41
"Kids are cruel in the extreme, they often don't realise how cruel they can be until much later in life when they shudder at the thought of what they have done. Often though,
because we don't realise at the time the pain we inflict we don't actually get to the stage
of remorse unless an adult actually catches us and teaches us that it is wrong."

SS, This was seriously disturbed, warped behaviour on the part of these two not just schoolyard hijinks. Did you or I even remotely consider doing this type of thing when WE WERE 10?

HugMonster
23rd Jun 2001, 10:51
Nobody is talking about giving them merit badges. Nobody who really thinks about it would believe that they will have an easy life from now on, nor that they will be able to forget and ignore what they did.

I suspect that they are being released because it is considered that no useful function will be served by keeping them incarcerated, and their release now will most easily facilitate them becoming good, useful members of society rather than being institutionalised and dependent to the greatest degree on the state.

Why do they have TV in prison? Why have any comforts? Because one of the things prison is supposed to do is avoid brutalising prisoners and turning them out at the end of their stay even more hardened mentally and with a huge chip on their shoulders. You would prefer them to be on bread and water for 10 years, with no hope of parole, and no comforts at all? How do you think they'll turn out?

Luke SkyToddler
23rd Jun 2001, 12:01
I'm sorry Iceolareanic, I didn't make myself clear. I don't condone vigilante justice (or even the death penalty) at all. No one has the right to take a life, and anyone who goes and kills Thompson or Venables deserves to have the full weight of the law thrown at them, and to spend the rest of their life in prison . Which is what those two young murderers were sentenced to, and what they should be doing now. Can you imagine what the uproar would have been if the sentencing judge had given them '8 years' at the time!

My point is, that it's a two way street: if the general public is to respect the rule of law, then the rule of law must respect the wish of the public. It's pretty obvious that the public doesn't actually want them back, so why are we getting them?

If the more liberal people out there feel that those guys deserve a chance to contribute something to society, I couldn't agree more, how about letting them work 9 to 5 breaking rocks or assembling teddy bears in prison workshops?

Celtic Emerald
23rd Jun 2001, 13:31
I agree with Tom. What I would like to know is what happened between the time the two boys were born innocent little babies 10 years before till the time they murdered to corrupt their mentality so much. The question is were they just downright evil, was it inherent in them or caused by perhaps a lack of discipline/parental neglect, abuse etc or was there some kind of emotional disturbance or mental flaw in them. Establishing this is important in how we judge the boys.

Yes it was a terrible crime but maybe circumstances in some way contributed to producing 10 years old boys who could kill an innocent little child when they were only young children themselves. Until it is fully established why two boys of a tender age turned into little monsters I reserve judgement. I also applaud the way the British penal system has dealt with their incarceration, where instead of just completely condemning them & writing them off they have tried to rehabilitate them and bring out the good and decency in them & have given them a chance to turn their lives around.

I know their punishment was short in relation to the crime that was committed but to be incarcerated at that age, removed from your parents must have been quite a penalty whatever the conditions. I just hope the boys have been fully reformed when they let them out.

The boys have not got an easy time infront of them. They wil always be looking over their shoulder. If they fall in love or marry or try to get a job they will face all kinds of difficulties. Their punishment will last all their lives even though the walls around them may not be made of concrete they will never be able to live fully normal lives.

Emerald

Boss Raptor
23rd Jun 2001, 13:48
Remember Graham Young ?

The teenager who poisoned his mother back in the 60's, was released as sane and adjusted after 4 years,his psychiatrists considering him stable and not suffering from any mental illness, the 'poisoning' being put down to immaturity etc.

He had his past hidden and was re-introduced into society. Within 18 months of being released he was working as an apprentice at a company which used the same poison as he used on his mother - he killed three of his workmates in exactly the same way...back to Broadmoor for good where he died in his mid 30's...the psychiatrists revising their statement to 'he does not show any of the known psychiatric traits or illness' !

My point?

That hiding or changing someones identity is not always a good thing and young killers who are often deemed not 'ill' have repeated the crime or worse in later years!!

Legalapproach
23rd Jun 2001, 13:55
Well said, Hugmonster. It's interesting to see so many thoughtfull posts on this thread.

Our system of criminal sentencing is based upon a mixture of punishment and rehabilitation. If people believe that there has been no real punishment in this case perhaps they should step back for a moment and put themselves in the position of T & V. They undoubtedly did something wicked but were only 10 years old at the time, they were still small children. They have spent the last 8 years away from home, family, friends and doing all the things that most of us did between the ages of 10 and 18. Whatever comforts or visits they have had during this period are vital to prevent them from becoming brutalised or institutionalised. Eight years is a very long time when you are that age. Factor into that the baying crowds before their conviction, the uncertainty as to if and when they would eventually be released and the fear for the future on the inside or out have they recieved punishment or not?

As to rehabilitation, the parole board is not known as a soft touch and bearing in mind the likely media frenzy I think we can assume that the board would not have recommended release unless it was 110% certain in this case. I don't for one minute believe that they took the decision just to piss the public off.

Thompson and Venables have been released from custody but not from their sentences. A life sentence means that they are and will remain liable to imprisonment for the remainder of their natural lives. Their release on licence will require them to be subject to supervision and any breach of their licence requirements could lead to revocation and return to prison to serve the balance of the sentence. In other words they live under the constant threat of being returned to prison for the rest of their lives if there is the slightest concern as to their behaviour or if they are less than 100% model citizens.

Those who support the lynch mob approach should seriously question themselves. Presumably if it is OK to lynch them now it would have been equally OK to lynch them when they were 10? Or does waiting until they have matured make it acceptable? If so why? Anyone supporting the lynching of a 10 year old (or anyone for that matter)has to be worse than the original offender.

In a civilised society there has to be a balance between rehabilitation and retribution and whilst some may call for punishments to fit the crime this makes society little better than the criminal it seeks to punish. Someone, commenting about the American justice system, once said "Capital punishment turns the State into a murderer, imprisonment turns the State into a gay dungeon master."

If the parole board consider them fit to be released and rejoin society then I feel that we should abide by this decision.

Oh, and before anyone uses this post to start a 'lawyer's cozying up to their clients' thread can I just point out that although I do defend people, much of my practice also includes prosecuting. Put a child molester behind bars for several years last week - no one ever complains about that.

Grainger
23rd Jun 2001, 14:19
OK all you rehabilitationers and re-integrators into society. Yes, these guys will have to live a lie, keep their past a secret etc. etc.

The lads are 18. As part of their re-integration they will mix with other people, get a job and so on, probably with state assistance.

Here's just one ghastly scenario: one of these men meets a nice young lady. They go out, fall in love etc. Does he reveal his past to her ? What if they get married? What are the rights of the woman involved ? Is she entitled to know who this guy is ?

Suppose she finds out who he is after they have been married several years. Or should she be kept ignorant of the truth for her whole life ?

How would you feel if it was your daughter ??

Maybe they'll even have kids of their own... Doesn't bear thinking about.

This is just one of a number of potential unspeakable situations. Until someone explains how this sort of thing can be avoided, I don't see how the whole re-integration thing can possibly work.

Engineer
23rd Jun 2001, 14:27
LS/Grainger
I see the milk of human kindness runs deep in your veins. You missed out leucotomy and the use of electric shock therapy.Where will it end White pointed hats and burning crosses

Justice has been served on these two people and our system whether good or bad in your opinion will release them with new identities in an attempt to allow a chance of living a "normal" life.

However that solitary chance is so fragile due to that ever persistant threat of media sensationalism or pressure. Which interestingly comes under vehement attack in this BB when directed at the flying world,however it appears that certain people welcome it when it suit their calling.

The interesting aspect of this case is that it not the first of its kind Do you you remember the names of 4 year old Martin Brown or 3 year old Brian Howe compare these names to that of Jamie Bulger.

These two lads were killed by an 11 year old girl called Mary Bell in 68 She served 11-12 years for the double homicide Released in 80 given a new identity(Rufus take note the tax payer has shelled out money before)and lives somewhere with her 14yr old daughter.The only time there was a media fuss about her was when someone wrote a book and the press were annoyed that the author paid Bell £50000 for the story. To this date she has not been caught for any crime. Maybe if these two young men are given that golden opportunitity their may integrate back into society.

Maybe I am cynical but while there are people not willing to forgive (not forget) then as HugMonster stated "If we pride ourselves on the level of civilisation we enjoy" will have no meaning and civilisation just becomes a word in the dictionary with no applicationial sense.

To quote Iceolareanic from his comments on the subject:

"Do not poison your mind with the desire for revenge"

Hatred is a terrible emotive force that has an unimaginable destructive nature.

Well these are my views but the milk of human kindness runs deep in my veins thank



[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 23 June 2001).]

Grainger
23rd Jun 2001, 14:30
Very moving Engineer but I see you avoided passing any comment on my scenario.

So how about it ? How would you handle that situation ??

[This message has been edited by Grainger (edited 23 June 2001).]

Engineer
23rd Jun 2001, 15:02
Grainger
You can see that the two cases mentioned 14 year old Graham Young/11 year old Mary Bell provide examples of success and failure of the rehabilitation system. But in the case of Young he reoffended within a year of being released. His origianal crime in 62 was against adults.So in this context has limited bearing.

Regarding your scencario it is pointless to answer on a personal level. Once you try to base any judgement on this level then emotions come to the forefront and rationale is differcult to maintain.

My retort would be that for each individual that has suffered loss there are many more that have not. That does not deflect from the pain and sorry that has been suffered but a decision should be made on a logical basis.

Answering a question with a question What if you were the parent of the boy? Could you find it in your heart to forgive your son for a single crime?

There are always two sides to a discussion

Winston Smith
23rd Jun 2001, 16:06
Engineer, good point about some posters' ambivalent attitudes vis-à-vis the media!


If any attempt at rehabilition is to succeed, TV in prison is certainly not the way to go. The long time (yes, eight years is a long time) and total authority over them could have been a good opportunity to teach them some real values. Exposing them to the fantasy-world of television without balancing real-word experienced can only make them more weird. It's exactly the sort of culture-distortion their generation is defenselessly subjected to which forced on them a mind-set which made this crime possible in the first place! This sort of thing would have been much, much less likely to happen fifty or hundred years ago. The whole problem relates very well to the "Why has todays society lost total respect for itself?"-thread.

I'm also beginning to feel bit uneasy about the lynch-mob mentality which seems to be prevalent here. As Nietzsche said: "Beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong!"

Boss Raptor
23rd Jun 2001, 17:27
Young's initial crime being against an adult and therefore having 'limited bearing' ? whether it was an adult or a child to my mind makes no difference - he killed - just like the Bulger two!

OK so let's try Chikatilo, The Butcher of Odessa known to have killed other children when he was a teenager or Geoffrey Darmar who started killing animals at 12...both were considered not to need further psychiatric treatment...and both committed further killings as adults.

There are several other cases similar to the above but I do not have my textbooks handy...it is a known fact that killers who started at an early age can and do offend again in later years...is it acceptable to place the general public at risk in this way?

In my opinion no it is not...how can you explain to a grieving family that 'Mr.X' living next door to them killed 20 years previously before he murdered their father or child!

VFE
23rd Jun 2001, 18:14
Very heavy topic but here I go:

There can be no right or wrong way to deal with this case as it is a unique one (to give it a grand title). The reasons for that statement are that the nation is divided in solutions that prevent a proportionate outcome.
We will always have these debates as long as a democratic society exists but that has to be a positive does it not? I am glad to see we have not yet degenerated into the usuall slag-off matches that can so easily develop here on PPRuNe. Well done folks.

I shuddered initially at Huggys theory that we invest in our governments and that we must trust their heavily considered view in these cases (always had to be dragged into those kind of ideals!) but on reflextion I am finding my pendulum to be swaying in that naturally magnetic direction.

*Sigh* Questions like "what if it was your child who was murdered?" and "what rights do the future partner of the T or V have?" are incredibly tricky. To answer these questions, it may seem wrong, but you have to have an impartial view otherwise you get tainted with prejudice. That is a fundemental of law. But it does not help to quench the desire of retribution in the victims families does it? Nothing could possibly(?) do that.

I hate posts that pose more questions than answers in very important debates such as this but I fear mine is heading in that direction.

Most of us obviously saw the TV documentary on this case that focused on the leading police investigtor. His view was that eight years is not enough. He must be prejudiced. To be impartial, remember, we have to eliminate that filthy word prejudice. But, is prejudice a filthy word in cases like this? You decide.

Celtic Emerald touched on something vital, the question of what turned these children into killers.
Some blame must lie at the doorstep of those who brought T&V into this world no? One of the killers parents was allegedly a single alcoholic mother who relied on her older siblings to do most of the child rearing work, heard nothing of the fathers role.
So, if I bought a child into this world and sherked all responsibility, sat at home boozing all day or buggered off somewhere without trace and that child went out and murdered a toddler should I be free from blame? No I say. Parents seem to be given a waiver in these extreme cases.
If little Johnny goes down the shop and steals something his parents are *usually* called and the cops *usually* pay them a visit and (in my experience) give a few pointers in how to parent if they are somewhat 'weak' so-to-speak. In a murder case it appears they are freed of blame because it is such a terrible crime. Strange that.

As for the sanity of the pair, I always try and think of my mentality when I was their ages. To cut a long story short - I knew what I was doing but that is not to say that they did.
I hope the juvenile rehabilitation system is as good as the praisers say it is.
One thing is for certain: the kids got a better education than if they were still in their original enviroment.
That is the way I see matters. Excuse me while I just remove this fence from my bottom.

Bummer debate - no sure fire answer to it.

Editd as tha speling polease are out in forec..agin!




[This message has been edited by VFE (edited 23 June 2001).]

mad_jock
23rd Jun 2001, 18:30
i while ago on sky i watched a docu on a similar case in Sweden. There handling was completely different. The two young boys involved never even visited a police station and were back in the same school the next week with additional supervision.

Last week in the times there was an article on the 2 what they have been doing etc.
Turns out that both have reasonable A levels and have a chance of going to Uni. I just wonder what the chances of that happening if they hadn't killed the kid and they had remained at home.

To be honest i am very uneasy with mob justice. Whenever i think about it i am reminded of the pictures of the hanging mobs in southern America with the KKK at the beginning of this century.


Mad Jock

[This message has been edited by mad_jock (edited 23 June 2001).]

Winston Smith
23rd Jun 2001, 19:24
VFE:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">[...] He must be predudiced. To be impartial, remember, we have to eliminate that filthy word predudice. But, is predudice a filthy word in cases like this? You decide.</font>

I don't know what "predudice" is, but yes, it sure sounds terribly filthy! Better "eliminate" it from your post! :)

Engineer
23rd Jun 2001, 19:33
OK once more into the beech

Boss the reason I used the term "limited bearing" was that the Bulger and Brown/Howe cases are similiar ie that of a child killing a child.

Regarding Chikatilo my impression was that his first victim 9 year old Lena Zakotnova was murdered in 1978 when he was 42. In the trial there was no proof of earlier crime only supposition.Not sure about Darmar.

Understanding that murder is a terrible crime whether done legally or not. That is not the issue but the ability of society to forgive and not to forget. Thus providing these two men with an opportunity after their paid the debt laid down by the Lord Chief Justice @ the time. Remember that the then Home Secretary Michael Howard wanted them to serve at least 15 years which would have been in line with Mary Bell's sentence. However he was over ruled at the time.

That bring us to the point that VFE make about this being a unique case it is not Bell commited two child murders within a week of each other approximately a quarter of a century earlier.

The different between the two cases WS in my view hit the nail on the head MEDIA INTERVENTION excuse my shouting

Back in 70's and before media coverage was not so in your face. Hence Bell pass out of prison and into obscruity with her new name and a chance to rebuild a life. But today things have changed and the campaign journalist who need headline news to sell papers or provide TV ratings is constantly looking to exploit any thread to achieve the ultimate goal. But for that their needs support and that has to be generated within the public forum

The sentence has been served and duly paid leave these two men to go and rebuild a life remembering that the for the rest of they lives someone within the law will alway be watching them. My vote is that people not emotionally linked to the case should have an impartial outlook

Better give John Major is soap box back now

edited cause I left the soap box in the debate area OK and me spellin




[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 23 June 2001).]

Boss Raptor
23rd Jun 2001, 20:41
In the trial transcripts on Chikatilo it was covered that he 'claimed' to have killed a girl of about his age in his early 'teens - although not pursued or proven the circumstancial evidence of a killing close to his home at that time tended to make this a likely possibility...and it was also of much conjecture that he was not alone when carrying this out...

Roofus
23rd Jun 2001, 20:47
How can we not feel emmotional when a very young member of our society is brutally murdered?

Life in prison should mean life in prison!

My Dad smacked me once as a kid...I deserved it!! Does that mean I can nick a car???

'I sentence you to life imprisonment!!....See you on thursday for golf' Sheesh!

VFE
23rd Jun 2001, 21:01
Every case in law should be unique really and should be judged on it's own merits. One thing that bugs me about life is that someone, somewhere is always quick to pop you into a pigeon hole.
Even petty theft cases are 'unique' in the sense that there are varying factors contributing to the crime being commited. No two people in life can be identical and no two cases can be either.

On to the media aspect: this is something we have to live with in these times and we have yet to grasp the situation fully. The only way I save myself from bursting a blood vessel in anger is to think of the advantages of increased media and communications. Problems start when the prat reporting puts his/her two-pence-worth into the equation or gets the facts wrong (but the two tend to go hand in hand). There obviously needs to be stricter controls but that is unlikely to happen because newspapers in their very nature *can* print what they like and face the consequences in court later.
All they need to do is weigh up the costs involved with what they are going to make on the sale of the rag. Did you see how the journalists were trying to get a 'shot' of the corpse on the railway track? I rest my case.

So many factors come into light in this case - it really is something else. Thank God these 'sort' of crimes are rare.

VFE.

Rollingthunder
23rd Jun 2001, 21:07
The total cost to the taxpayer of dealing with the murderers of James Bulger could be up to £5m, according to reports.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both now 18, are receiving secret new identities on their release - granted, on life
licences, by the Parole Board on Friday.

This privilege is usually reserved for spies and gangland informers or "supergrasses" who have passed information to police or
testified in a major trial.


It has been speculated that creating and preserving the killers' new identities from any vigilante threat and the prying eyes of the international media could cost about £1.5m.

A strict injunction prevents the media in England and Wales carrying anything that could lead to the identification or location of the killers.

Judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss made the ruling in January because of the killers' "almost unique circumstances" which put
them at serious risk of attack.

But any prosecution of the Manchester Evening News for its alleged "breach" of this order will also be expensive.

Keeping the murderers in separate local authority secure units for the past eight years at an estimated £5,000-a-week has
already cost £2m.

And the police hunt following the murder of James Bulger is estimated to have cost £500,000.

This was followed by the boys' trial at Preston Crown Court in November 1993, which is thought to have added another £1m.

Days out

The price of keeping them in secure units, once described as "five star holiday camps" by their victim's father, was reportedly
increased by the cost of giving them televisions, videos and CD players.

There were also supervised days out designed to get Venables and Thompson used to being in public again.

These reportedly included trips to the theatre, seaside and shopping centres.

On one occasion, Venables was said to have been taken to see his favourite team, Manchester United, play at Old Trafford.

New papers

Their new identities will not come cheap.

It had been suggested they will have new medical and employment records, passports, National Insurance numbers and even
birth certificates.

They are also expected to have bank accounts and credit cards under their new names.

Thompson and Venables will be monitored by probation officers for the rest of their lives, adding to the vast cost of the
operation.

There have also been reports that they will have special phone links to local police stations in case of vigilante attack.

If their cover is blown they will have to be moved, which would increase costs even further.

BBC

Grainger
23rd Jun 2001, 22:58
Thanks Roofus for a bit of support...

Eng: '...pointless to answer on a personal level...' is just another way of ducking the issue.

Of course there are two sides to a discussion, so let's discuss the rights of ordinary members of society with whom T&V will be interacting.

You are saying that the general public do not have the right to know the identity of the boys. I think it is legitimate to ask whether that right is to be denied someone who may end up married to one of them without knowing.

This is an argument about practicalities, not emotions. You are the one defending the rehabilitation process, so it it up to you to defend it.

As to your question-for-a-question: as the parent I would find it very difficult to forgive or understand but as I pointed out earlier we have heard very little from the actual parents - what have they to say on the matter ?

OneWorld22
23rd Jun 2001, 23:06
This was a truly horrifying case. On the day of the murder Thompson and Venables bunked off school and went to the shopping centre with the intention to "get a kid lost". They took young James Bulger and led him down to the nearby canal, along the way they talked about throwing him in.
What they did then beggars belief; they beat him up, hammered him with bricks, stripped him and bludgeoned him with an iron bar. When he was then dead they put his small beaten body on the railtrack where a train sliced him in two, to make it look like an accident.

This was pre-meditated and calculated murder. Venables, I believe was a very emotionally immature child, it was Thompson who appears to have been the ring leader. He greatly unnerved the investigating police officers with his cold calmness about the incident and lack of remorse and many of the officers came to detest him. It is reported that now he has realised the gravity of what he did and has "accepted it."

So what should we as a society do with them? To be honest I don't have a damn clue. There are so many questions to be asked about the society we live in today. Thomson's father was apparantly, a very brutal man and left when the boy was very young and his mother was a "rabid" alcoholic. This certainly doesn't excuse what he did, I'm just painting the background that many children in our "underclass" come from. Decrepid housing estates with violence part and parcel of daily life. There are questions for us all in this case, how to make sense of it all is a monumental task.

Above all though, I weep for that poor young innocent kid and the manner in how he was murdered and for his parents who will carry this pain to their grave.

Engineer
23rd Jun 2001, 23:34
Grainger
No one is ducking the issue What is being said his that impartial judgement must be and was set at the time. That is why the lady sitting on top of the Old Bailey is blindfolded and holds a set of scales. Justice has to be impartial and sometimes it is a bitter pill to shallow depending on your biased views.

In reply to Rufuscomment about how people can be emmotionless to the death of a small child you can and I would imagine that most of the people in this forum are. Look at what is happening in the third world today young children are murdered makes headline news one day forgotten by most the next.

Your life carry on the next day ask any Nurse or Doctor. With regards to the parents no one can comprehend their anguish unless you have personal experience of a similiar tragedy. But that is why the people closely effected do not sit in judgement.

To reiterate one mistake in a young life needs to be approach with a degree of compassion whilst taking into account the severity of the crime It is so easy to become focused to the point of suffering from tunnel vision because emotions are allowed to run high even to the point of taking the law into ones own hands. That is when so called civilised people degenerate to mob rule.



[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 23 June 2001).]

Grainger
23rd Jun 2001, 23:47
You are the one proposing a course of action. The scenario I described is just one of a number of real, forseeable consequences of that action. It is up to you to explain how you propose to deal with those consequences - that's about as logical and unemotional as it can get !


No one is advocating mob rule - and if you want to have a degree of compassion it would be better served on the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators. :mad:

Davaar
24th Jun 2001, 00:39
What does Engineer understand by "mistake"?

Engineer
24th Jun 2001, 02:50
Grainger
Let me open my repeating an entry on this topic
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">88 years would be more like it.
Anyone wanna have a sweepstake on how long they last once out?</font>
Do these the words express a degree of compassion. Could they denote slight undertones of harm towards the recipients.

Proposing a course of action I don't beleive that is the case. Stating that justice has been served as set out my the Lord Chief Justice at the time yes I accept that. But remember what Blunkett said I quote

"I would wish to make it clear at the outset that this means that Thompson and Venables will be on licence for the rest of their lives. They will be subject to strict licence conditions and liable to immediate recall if there is any concern at any time about their risk."

so that justice is still to be served.

DavaarSemantics in a paragraph can be difficult to convey with regards to the word mistake I will quote the dictionary definition

an error in action opinion or judgement

This is not meant as a derisory comment but to single out and quote a selected paragraph part can portray a distorted image of what has been said. The word was not used to understand but to convey a view.

As was stated in my opening gambit the milk of human kindness today is some what missing and its lack has been demostrated in various comments on this subject.

My heart felt compassion extends to the parents of any child that is lost forever. But the law still must be maintain in an impartial way and people should not bow to media intervention and also to personal emotions.

But it appears that events move fast and the Manchester Evening Post has begun testing the courts ability to maintain secrecy. Interesting times are ahead.

As said before remember Martin Brown and Brian Howe yet no one is saying that Mary Bell would be spending 88years behind bars.

Well thankyou for reading enjoy the rest of the weekend

con-pilot
24th Jun 2001, 07:45
I'm sorry, but I have to say this.

Keep in mind the "Where are the Americans?" thread.

"ONLY IN ENGLAND!"

I don't want to lose any friends over this statment but, turn-about-is-fair-play!

Oh yes, I have had a few beers and hell yes, we would have probably done the same thing, PC you know.

Still very, yery sorry that such a small child lived his last few hours in such terror.

Just think, the small boy praying that his Mum or Dad, superman, the police or anybody will come and save him.

God it makes one sick at heart.

Nick Mahon
24th Jun 2001, 18:50
This is an extract from todays Times newspaper.

'For a couple of seconds Venables was holding the toddler’s hand and then James followed the pair as they walked towards Stanley Road. More than 30 people saw Venables and Thompson drag him for two miles to a railway line on February 12, 1993. They took the toddler to a canal and told him to kneel by the water in the hope that he would fall in. When he did not, they dropped him on his head. Desperate and abandoned, James crawled back up the bank when they threatened to leave him. Then they carried and dragged him along some of the town’s busiest roads. They reached a railway line and poured a can of blue enamel paint into his eyes, after which he was kicked and beaten with bricks and an iron bar.'

They have served 8 easy years, the tax payer is having to pay £5 million to ensure they have somewhere to sleep, enough to eat and to provide 24 hr security.

I read in an article that the Bulger parents were received approximately £7000 for the death of their son - not to suggest that any sum of money would replace what they have lost.

What impression does this give for our 'modern' society?

What impression does this give those who may think about commiting such a crime.

Certainly, little thought as to the issue of detterance has been conducted.



[This message has been edited by Nick Mahon (edited 24 June 2001).]

Grainger
24th Jun 2001, 19:01
Glad to see Engineer that you have such a respect for the authorities. Presumably you won't complain then when they try to close down your airfield or put a bypass through your house 'cos the authorities are always right.

And still Engineer you do not answer my question. Where are the safeguards to prevent such things happening? What rights do the future wives, employers, children etc. have to know who they are involved with ?

Having said all that, I see that Jamie's father has called for everyone to cool off and I think we should all respect that.


[This message has been edited by Grainger (edited 24 June 2001).]

Roofus
24th Jun 2001, 19:15
I'm gonna bug out of this debate! Things are gonna get too heated! (Which could make the next bash.....'interesting')

What I will say is this....

'An eye for an eye'


Finally a comment on the press...... I agree totally that they are a bunch of ______s!! I hate they the way they misrepresent everything, they twist what you say, they hound you. For 9 months last year they made my life, & the lifes of those close to me, hell.
But as others have asked before me....Doesn't society have a right to know who these people are? Doesn't an employer have a right to know who he's employing? Doesn't a farther have a right to know who his daughter is dating? Should these murderers be allowed to pass through people's daily lives hidden?
If as some of you suggest we live in a 'civilised' society what have they to fear?? Were they 'civilised' in their treatment of that poor boy?? Do they therefore deserved to be treated civily??
Life imprisonment should mean life.

I withdraw from this debate.
To his familly & loved ones I sent my deepest sympathy. I am ashamed that our 'civilised' society so badly failed you & your son.

Send Clowns
24th Jun 2001, 19:26
The fact that violence is threatened against Thomson and Venables makes me despair for society much more than their crime does. They were individual children who committed a terrible, terrible crime. They were not a large section of adult, supposedly-reasoning society. Now large numbers of people wish them harm not despite the fact that they were only children when they committed a crime but because of that fact. That is sick.

Had they not been children there would have been publicity and hatred at the time, they would have served a long term in jail - probably 15 to 30 years - and then been released with little press interest. Very few people would have tried to do them harm.

They have served an equivalent sentence (about 45% of their lives so far, and everyone must realise that perception of time is much accelerated as we get older, and that they have developed into very different people by age 18. Were you the same person at 18 as you were at 10?). They have lost their childhood. They have been stripped of those precious years that I would not have gone without for anything. They have possibly ruined their entire lives. Their punishment is as harsh as anyone who has killed, so if this punishment is too lenient then we cannot and must not debate the punishment in terms only of these boys, but in wider context, even more so because they are still barely men and committed their crimes only a few weeks after being determined criminally responsible. The only reason they require protection is the absurd decision to name them in court and the hateful, irresponsible press coverage. The media should pay for their identity changes.

Deterrent of similar crime is an absurd reason for keeping these boys in prison any longer. How many unruly 10-year olds think beyond the next year, let alone 8 years? In any case how many similar crimes have their been?

If anyone argues against my case for these boys having less criminal responsibility as 10-year olds then consider this : would we let them buy alcohol? Cigarettes? Live alone? These responsibilities are gradually conveyed on young people. We are showing double standards if we make them completely responsible as adults for their actions.

Winston Smith
24th Jun 2001, 20:38
Hey Roofus,

what did the media do to you?

(Feel free not to answer this questions if you think it might disclose your identity in an undesired way.)

Celtic Emerald
24th Jun 2001, 21:04
I agree with Send Clowns. The whole thing is turning into a witch hunt. Personally I think anyone who resorts to vigilantisim is as bad if not worse than the boys. People should never take the law into there own hands, that's is why we have a judicial system.

The problem is I feel the boys sooner than later (I fear sooner) will be outed. Trying to gag the British press & British public might all have been very fine in the days of Mary Bell & even then without the mediums of communication we have today she was quickly outed soon after her release. Today with the internet it is much harder to keep peoples identities secret even people who only a few people may be interested in finding like supergrases etc not to mention people as notorious as Venables & Thompson where there are thousands out to get. The internet crosses borders & laws, soon after their release there were already 100's of messsages on it enquiring to their whereabouts.

I certainly don't feel that Jamies parents have helped the situation (though I can understand how they feel) but their wishes are important in determining how people anxious to get revenge will act. If they become public & say they wish for no harm to come to the boys I believe alot of people will respect that otherwise there giving the go ahead for vigilantisim.

I also feel the Goverment are responsible & may be doing the boys a disservice by releasing them so soon thereby whipping up public anger & making the public feel cheated of proper justice.

I honestly feel these boys life's are in serious danger & will be as long as they remain in Britain. As long as they remain in contact with their families there is a serious danger of a family member being followed when going to meet them. They may even need to cut off contact from them. Both young men are terrified by their release as Mary Bell was by hers, releasing them even to a halfway house is not giving the boys the easier option. They are actually safer in prison and having to live with the fear of discovery, living a lie & keeping their identities secret will be a major burden.

Who is to say these boys haven't changed and are now very different people. They were kids when they committed the crime, maybe in some way victims. Very often children labelled bad with behavioural problems can be traced back to family problems and with help they can be treated & turned around.
There's a dark side to everyone, most manage to contain theres, in this case they didn't. More's the pity.

Emerald

Grainger
24th Jun 2001, 21:55
Never mind the press, Roofus mate: you did good.

CE; As I mentioned earlier I beleive Jamie's father has asked everyone to cool off and I for one will respect that by posting no more after this.

I'm sorry if anyone misinterpreted my initial comment as a call for vigilantism: it was most certainly not intended that way but as a call to keep 'em locked up for their own protection and to prevent a number of other grotesque situations that I have described. I suspect the reason that I haven't had any answers to those is because there are no good answers.

redsnail
24th Jun 2001, 22:54
Well I dunno about all of this. If the so called poor boys really do regret what they have done. I reckon the constant looking over their shoulders, the realisation of what they did, as well as the prison sentence will unhinge their minds. If that happens, I suppose they will kill themselves.
If they are genuine psychopaths then they will probably reoffend in some way.

I have grave misgivings about so called self reporting to psychologists (in criminal matters).

The little fella didn't get another chance.

------------------
reddo...feral animal!

Slasher
24th Jun 2001, 23:15
Good luck to all Venables/Thompson vigilante groups. May you hunt down these pigs and show no mercy, and send a clear message to all these bleeding-heart c*nts in power that there mamby-pamby idealistic bullsh!t will no longer be tolerated.

My sympathys to his mother, and may she one day realise justice has been done for her little son.

Engineer
25th Jun 2001, 00:09
Way to go Slasher wonder what the results of your psychometric tests look like.

Davaar
25th Jun 2001, 00:45
O K, Engineer, since you did not mean "mistake", what did you mean?

Velvet
25th Jun 2001, 00:48
I too have been the innocent object of a witch-hunt, not media inspired (though they were involved in no small manner), but with the same result. It made my life hell for a period and nearly caused a tragedy to someone I held very dear. It is not easy to start a new life, especially if one is dogged by fear and past events.

How long before someone is injured or harmed as a result of mistaken identity - how long before the baying mob get their wish and these two are torn apart. What then!!!!

Whether these young men are actually ready to go out into the world is another matter. They have been sequestered and protected for the past ten years - accompanied everywhere - unable to function in normal society. As for romantic relationships, friendships or even just acquaintances will be fraught with difficulty.

In addition, they will have to create a whole new identity - not something that even adults would find easy. No, I don't think they are going to have an easy life.

Incidentally, there was another similar case in the mid 19th century - two boys, about the same ages tortured and killed a young boy in similar circumstances. They were convicted, imprisoned for a time and then released - however, since it was before the days of the internet and mass media - no-one really knows what happened to them.

I too think the parents should also have been held culpable and made to pay in some measure for what these boys did. Why were they allowed to escape censure or punishment.

To those who ask what if it were your child -my son was killed by a Doctor prescribing the wrong medication. I didn't and don't seek personal vengeance, nor retribution. Would my answer be the same if he had been tortured and murdered - I don't know - I honestly don't know. I do know that hate feeds on itself and is self-destructive, in the end you only end up hurting yourself, unless you can learn to forgive and move on.

One last thought, did no-one see what was happening during the time these two boys abused and ultimately killed James Bulger. Did everyone who saw, just turn their back and pretend it was nothing to do with them. Will any of these unconcerned citizens be joining the crowds baying for blood.

Celtic Emerald
25th Jun 2001, 01:18
As far as I know some people did notice Jamie in a distressed state being led away along by the boys & did stop to enquire was he okay but the two boys were able to fob them off with made up answers which they too easily accepted.

Rather than people were unconcerned I think it was more to do in our society that people don't like to be seen to be interfering in other people's lives & being labelled interfering busybodies. Maybe the land of the squinting windows was a better place to live. There's a price to be paid for wanting to keep ourselves to ourselves but I suppose in people's wildest dreams they could never imagine the evil that stored in these boys hearts & the horrors that waited little Jamie, would you if you saw a little child crying in the street. If only little Jamie had been old enough to speak up for himself. Those people who saw & did nothing will have to live with that terrible knowledge & guilt for the rest of their lives.

Oh & Velvet I'm sorry to hear about your son. I know losing two people you loved cannot have been easy for you.

Emerald

Engineer
25th Jun 2001, 02:16
Davaar

Again to riterate my view these two boys committed a crime as young children.(not adults) They were caught tried and sentenced under the British legal system. Justice was duly served. That legal system under the guise of the Parole board has stated that they should be released under life long conditions.

Their mistake was commiting the crime but now there is nothing that can bring Jamie back and we have to address ourselves to the future.

That address can be as a few people have expressed done in a civilised manner or on the other side of the fence use the mob rule/vigilente method as advocated quite succinctly by Slasher and others.

The impartial view is that people should step back and take a clearer prospective of the overall situation.But because of media exposure and the need to whip up a frenzy in the name of media justice that view will be clouded.

Grainer
Still looking to take the discussion to a personal level.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Glad to see Engineer that you have such a respect for the authorities</font>
Did I say I have and
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2"> Presumably you won't complain then when they try to close down your airfield or put a bypass through your house 'cos the authorities are always right</font>
Did I say I would not or the authority were. Your assumptions based on limited knowledge.

There are no safeguards but on a wider scale are there safeguards that will prevent another incident like the Guildford four or someone else taking umbrage to society and planting a bomb etc It is the real world and it is one that we live in.

Sorry that you do not receive the answers that you want to hear But now that your have concern for the safety of these young man as stated in your last post show you do have compassion for them.(my assumption) In my opinion slighty misguided in the fact that they should be locked away for protection.

Just to expand the issue the The European Commission of Human Rights has decided that the two boys were denied a fair trial and it violated Article 6 of the Convention.


[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 24 June 2001).]

Celtic Emerald
25th Jun 2001, 02:18
I see where 70 child killers including many of the most brutal young criminals in Britain are expected to be freed early because of the decision by the European Court of Human Rights that helped ensure Thompson & Venables release. 20 are still under 18, 108 have become adults in prison. Between 50% & 60% will apply to leave prison early & nearly all are likely to succeed.
These include:

The teenage killer of Philip Lawrence the headmaster stabbed to death.
Two 14 year old who laughed as they murdered a drunk in a park.
A self styled triad gang leader who killed a 14 year old schoolboy with a machete.

An agricultural student who at 18 helped stab to death, burn & bury a 17 year old ‘friend’ has had his indefinite sentence reduced to 10 years. The crime was described as barbaric.
Two teenagers who battered a 45 year old man to death have had their indefinite detention reduced to 10 years. The judge at their original trial had said the killers had struck like ‘a pack of wild animals’. His widow says “She has lost all faith in British justice”.

Few will need expensive new identities like their notorious counterparts.

There is concern that the release of a large number of child killers over a short period could cause public disquiet.

Now we see the result of giving Europe too much power. It’s gone well past the length of bananas. It isn’t a joke anymore. What about lawabiding citizens rights about being protected from the likes of these people. :mad:

Sleep safely in your beds folks :rolleyes:

Emerald

Send Clowns
25th Jun 2001, 02:21
Sorry to hear about that, V http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif.

Slasher
25th Jun 2001, 02:53
Yeh I was expecting a jerk like you Engineer to give a p!ssweak response of convenience like that. Did you break many brain-cells formulating it?

Velvet hon the whole scenario of potential vigilante group mistakes are a symptom of the disease. The obvious preventative cure is to keep those 2 miserable bastards locked up forever. Do I generaly support the concept of vigilante groups? No. Do I support it in this case? YES. "The street" will take care of its own.

The release of these pigs is indeed a gross miscarriage of justice and further proof that the Western system has evolved into nothing but a sick bloodey joke infested with do-gooder "rehabilitaters" and academic morons who believe "an enlightened society would show compassion to these two". What a complete load of utter bullsh!t. Almost comical in this case if it wasnt so terribley tragic. Anyone who puts faith in the Western judiciary system to dispense justice is a complete fool.

What those 2 pieces of sh!t did to that little toddler sickens me to my guts. Prison is already too bloodey good for them. They shouldnt be allowed to breathe one day longer than necessary after theyve been hunted and caught.

Engineer
25th Jun 2001, 03:18
So Slasher will you be in the front line dispensing the justice. Or just inciting the mob from the comfort of your easy chair

Slasher
25th Jun 2001, 03:20
You like proving my point about you, dont you?

Engineer
25th Jun 2001, 03:23
Can I take that reply as a yes or no

Secret Squirrel
25th Jun 2001, 05:27
No Rollingthunder, I never contemplated anything of the sort on a human being despite having an alcoholic father for a while (thankfully rehabbed quickly), I must admit. But I did meet some pretty cruel characters during my tender years some of whom have since changed much since.

There is no doubt that this was a terrible, terrible crime.

I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I wonder if anyone is really capable of living with it. This is what concerns me most about these two. If it had been me who had done this, I doubt that I could have lived with myself. Perhaps the only way for me would have been to dedicate myself entirely and selflessly to saving children somehow for the rest of my life. I doubt that it's what they will do, but some people obviously think it's worth giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, I have to duck out of this debate as it really is too much for me. Not my forte, if indeed I have one at all.

See you all on another thread.

Blacksheep
25th Jun 2001, 10:08
I have two words on the subject, which is hardly a new one. The difference in the current case is that today the press has an unlimited licence and little responsiblity.

The two key words are:

Mary Bell.

**********************************
Through difficulties to the cinema

I'd rather
25th Jun 2001, 15:30
Anyone who wants to think a little more deeply about the "rehabilitation vs punishment" issue should read Gitta Sereny's book on Mary Bell - it has some interesting insights.

As for my view, I think LegalApproach and Send Clowns have said it all, really. I would just add that, when they killed James, Thompson and Venables were children. They have been punished and (to the best of our knowledge) rehabilitated. Why should we now seek to punish them as adults for what they did as children? The punishment meted out by the state has to end at some point, and experience has shown that they have a better chance of being properly rehabilitated if that happens now, rather than after they have spent time in an adult jail. It is in society's interest that they are properly rehabilitated. Therefore it makes sense to release them on licence now.

I believe it was a grave mistake to allow Thompson and Venables' identities to be released after their conviction. Without that, there wouldn't have been the need for the painstaking and expensive precautions which are now in place. As several commentators have pointed out, it is the families who are the weakest link - it will be extremely hard for them to continue to offer support to Thompson and Venables (which it seems they have done since the murder - it is reported that the mother of Thompson and the parents of Venables visit them almost daily), with the risk that, by maintaining contact with their children, they may risk leading the press, or worse, to the boys.

Which raises the question - are the tabloid press any better than the vigilantes who they are gleefully predicting will catch up with Thompson and Venables? In some cases I would say not. There is little doubt that papers like the News of the World will cynically manipulate the situation, fan the flames and do everything they can to provoke a violent outcome - all in the interests of a good story AND FOR NO OTHER REASON. What upsets me is that, if you get to be an editor of a national newspaper, you can't be thick - these are intelligent people, who must KNOW what they are doing is wrong, and yet they carry on. How do they live with themselves?

I am not losing sight of the enormity of the crime - they committed a horrible murder. But they were children. The question is how we, as a society, deal with it. Do we kill them/lock them up and throw away the key? Or do we try to understand why what happened happened, in the hope of preventing it happening again? Humans seem to have a great need to make something good come out of something bad; precious little good can come out of something as horrendous of this - it seems to me, the only possible good can come out of trying to learn what lessons we can - about what emotional and physical neglect does to children, and, most importantly, about how we, as individuals, can influence events. We know that many people in that shopping centre saw James with his murderers and many felt uncomfortable. It would have taken just one to intervene, to keep asking questions, to be awkward and risk making a fool of themselves if their suspicions were wrong, to prevent what happened. Let's learn from that.

gandelf
25th Jun 2001, 16:25
"they were only children" - I know from experience that children as young as four (yes four !) know exactly what they are doing when it comes to the law, I cought two children shop lifting, the four year old was telling the other lad (aged about eight) that it was OK, the police will just send for our parents. Presumeably this lad will "progress" to bigger things !


so what is wrong ? In my humble opinion the problem is that there is just no (or very little) consequence. (remember the offenders sent on Safari holidays etc.). Crime seems to pay these days and very little thought is given about the victims

But as for these two, they have probably had a better life inside than they would have done out, so if things get tough they know what to do to get back in. (God forbid)

Davaar
25th Jun 2001, 18:33
Engineer, to me 2 + 2 = 5 is a mistake. To you abduction of a child picked at random and his brutal well-premedidated murder are a mistake. I just wanted to know what you understood by the word. Now I do know.

HotDog
25th Jun 2001, 18:39
I think it's about time everybody reviewed this crime when it happened and then voice your opinions on the grant of pardon. A good place to start off would be; www.angelfire.com/ks/KillerDollFactory/media.txt (http://www.angelfire.com/ks/KillerDollFactory/media.txt)

Grainger
25th Jun 2001, 19:15
Think we're in grave danger of getting cause and effect mixed up here.

Were they warped because of watching the videos, or did they watch the videos because they were warped ?

Send Clowns
25th Jun 2001, 21:41
Hotdog

That is an opinion. It bears no relation to the discussion, as no scapegoat has been mentioned here.

Others

You are still putting full adult responsibility onto two children, without having answered my point. Slasher, particularily, you are just ranting and repeating that these boys committed a heinous crime and must be punished. You have not given any backing argument, and I know you are more intelligent than to just present an unargued conclusion. You appear not to have read much of the rest of the thread (try my arguments, page 4, Em's below it, Vel's posts and Engineer's)

------------------
'Me here at last on the ground, you in mid air'

Grainger
26th Jun 2001, 00:19
Clowns;

You and me in the same boat, buddy.

Seems to be a shortage of answering the point on both sides. Probably, as I said earlier because there are no easy answers to a lot of what's being discussed.

VFE
26th Jun 2001, 00:46
The leading police investigator, after visiting a similar detention centre as one T&V may have been kept in said, he thought it would be a good idea if the pair were to experience an adult prison for a peroid of time before being released. This would show them that if they screw up after release - this is where they'll be coming back to. Not a juvenile detention centre.

Good point I thought.

It sickens me, just as much as the murder itself, that grown adults can claim to want to hunt the pair down and kill them. I thought humanity had progressed beyond these kind of ideals. How wrong I was. Sad state of affairs. Who coined the phrase 'two wrongs don't make a right'?
These 'vigilantes' were citizens of this country before, during and after the case was closed. If they feel so strongly that the judicial system is wrong then they are free to leave these shores. That is their right unless they've removed that right by commiting a crime themselves.

I would not live in a country that I felt so against to the point of wanting to commit murder. That's just my view but I know some people are alot more stuborn and prefer to stick around and moan. Moaning is moaning - fine, but murder for a murder? I'm outa here if that's what's considered Ok.

Extended detention in an adult prison would have gone a long way in satisfying those who feel so strongly.

VFE.

flapsforty
26th Jun 2001, 01:01
A young girl was killed in Norway by 2 kids around the same time as Jamie Bulger died at the hands of those 2 youngsters. These Norwegian kids had done to the girl something they had seen in the kiddie tv-series ”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” , after which they left her unconscious outside in the snow.
Hypothermia combined with the injuries they had inlicted, killed the little girl.

The BBC did a programme last year on the differences between how this situation was handled in Norway and Britain.
If I remember correctly, the following differences were highlighted.
The kids’s identity was kept secret. And while everybody on their housing estate knew who they were, neither their names nor their pictures ever made it into the public domain. They were not sentenced to prison. They were left with their families, and both families were extensively screened, followed, counselled and given all the support they needed to rehabilitate themselves, teach the kids the difference between right and wrong and to finally re-integrate into society as normal human beings. At their school all the kids & parents were involved in this process.


For the sake of brevity the above is only the ”highlights” of all the things the state and local authorities did to ensure that this murder had the least amount of negative consequences for all concerned.
The 2 boys still live with their families on the same estate, they go to school like all others and are well on their way.

What made a deep impression on me, was the interview with the mother of the murdered girl. She wasn’t an educated woman, and the loss of her daughter had ruined both her marriage and her life.

My daughter is dead and no amount of revenge will ever bring her back.
We adults failed all 3 of these children, my daughter and her killers.
Those boys should have been tought right from wrong by adults, and they were not.
My daughter should have been supervised more carefully during play and she wasn’t.
Sending them to prison would only destroy another 2 lives, what would be the point?
My daughter does not get a second chance, but at least these 2 boys will.
Sending them to prison would make some people feel good, because that way they could say ”look justice was done” and conveniently forget about the fact that it’s not these children who are to blame, but our society, our media, us parents.


I used to think along the lines of Slasher. But having lived here in a ”bleeding heart liberal paradise” for 11 years now, and having seen their methods work, my ideas have changed.

I’m with Clowns et al on this one.



------------------
Singularly Simple Person........

Winston Smith
26th Jun 2001, 01:39
VERY interesting story, flapsforty!

The first feeling that arose in me was one of bewilderment and alienation, but when I got to the mother's declaration, I was literally dumbfounded by its inherent truth (and her admirable strength of character) - and I am by no means a "bleeding-heart" liberal or like, as must have become quite clear from most of my earlier postings. And I'm not even fundamentally against vigilante mobs - only they'd better direct their anger against those who poison our children, either for financial benefits or motives even worse...

VFE
26th Jun 2001, 02:09
It would be very interesting to hear how the Norwegian authorities managed to keep their identities secret from the masses. Maybe they have tighter media censorship laws over there?

The identities of Jamie Bulgers killers was released by the government after the trial but if the information had not been disclosed to the public would the newspapers have risked printing the names if they knew them? Probably.

[This message has been edited by VFE (edited 25 June 2001).]

Velvet
26th Jun 2001, 03:40
I'm minded of an incident that happened not long after Jamie Bulger was abducted. I was in one of the shopping malls and saw a pretty young girl (around 3yrs), wandering down the mall aisle. Not only did no-one seem to be around looking after her, but she was heading towards the street.

I headed after her and stopped her, just as she left the through the mall doors. I picked her up and asked her where Mummy was - 'in dere' says this sweetest of children, with a laughing smile. Walking back to where she pointed, I carried her along the mall and past where I'd first seen her and then further along until we reached W H Smiths.

I carried her back inside Smiths, and then to the back of the store, where the Mother was still looking at books and magazines and hadn't even noticed her daughter had disappeared. I reckon this young child had been missing for at least 5 minutes - and you know, the mother just took her arm - shook it and told her daughter off for wandering away.

If that child had been abducted the mother would not have considered herself one wit to blame and yet, she would have been. And she would have been beside herself with grief if anything bad had happened to her daughter. With all due respect, she wasn't caring for her child, despite the then recent case of Jamie Bulger. No, I'm not trying to place blame on Jamie's mother, and yes, I know that the unconcerned citizens probably thought they ought not to interfere - but sometimes it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure our children's safety.

I'd forgotten about this, until the story that flaps wrote brought it back.

For me, Vigilante Justice is selfish and self-defeating because it is purely based on hate and fear, never good reasons for doing anything. It is more likely to hurt the innocent than the guilty. Sadly, the perpetrators of mob rule, even if they manage to mete out punishment to those they consider guilty, will start down a road from which it is difficult to return. Who next will be the object of their 'people's justice'.

HugMonster
26th Jun 2001, 04:29
The last few posts just say it all for me.

Society has become one in which people do not want to take responsibility for their lives and those of people around them, even those who depend most on them. You weren't looking where you were going in the street, and tripped? Sue somebody. You're that stupid that you don't expect fresh coffee to be hot and burn your mouth? Sue them. Any other misfortune? Jail them, or sue them - it can't be your fault - somebody else must be to blame.

Winston Smith
26th Jun 2001, 05:00
Yes, how I love those @ssholes who have been gassing themselves all their lives and than sue the tobacco companies. But what would really scare me if I were living in the US is the fact that these same juries also have a say in really important cases.

HotDog
26th Jun 2001, 16:49
It's great to have these noble ideals, so evident in many of the foregoing posts. Yes, by all means, turn the other cheek, it's very christian after all. Never mind the parents of little James, he is gone for ever. Too bad, but now that the Australian government has objected to the transportation of Thompson and Venables to this "colony", they may well end up as your next door neighbours. How do you feel about that my charitable friends??

Velvet
26th Jun 2001, 17:27
Hotdog, we're not ignoring James' mother - however, we are arguing against those hotheads who think they ought to do something about these two and others they consider have escaped punishment.

Do you really believe that James' mother would feel better because these two had been torn apart, or brutally murdered (or if innocents were sacrificed through mistaken identity) - what purpose would it serve, except to feed the bloodlust of those who carry it out. Mob rule is like a bush fire, it flares up, and then quickly rages out of control if not dampened down as soon as it appears.

Who is responsible ultimately if someone is injured or killed because we condoned and encouraged unlawful actions.

I'm not a Christian, and yes I feel very deeply about this and also think that Justice has not been served very well with the early release of these two youngsters. I have no idea why the Parole Board in their 'wisdom' felt it would be a good idea to fly completely in the face of such a public outcry, nor why the sentence was reduced to less than 8 years.

Can you honestly say that the people who whip up public opinion or are disposed to lynch-mob mentality really care about James' family. Isn't all this media attention and the constant rehashing of what happened, just keeping the grief alive and not allowing the balm of time to ease her loss.

What happened to the American schoolchildren who murdered several of their pals, over recent years - are they also to be dealt with in a summary manner. Shot as soon as they are released from prison. It would be interesting to know how long they served inside and how the authorities handled their incarceration, rehabilitation and eventual return to society.

HotDog
26th Jun 2001, 19:00
Dear Velvet, you have missed my point and not answered my question. I also do not believe in lynching Thompson and Venables but firmly believe that they should not have been paroled after serving just eight years for a henious crime, be they juveniles or not. Nevertheless, I am glad my government will refuse them entry; so with a bit of luck, I and my family do not have to fear becoming their neighbours.

I'd rather
26th Jun 2001, 19:17
If we believe that they have been rehabilitated and no longer pose a danger to society (which the parole board, doctors, experts etc have concluded) then logically, we can have no objections to them living next door.

so, on that basis, no I wouldn't mind.

Davaar
26th Jun 2001, 19:26
Your conclusion, I'd Rather, is based on an unsatisfied condition. As the old expression goes, If my granny had wheels she might be a bus. So: Do you in fact believe the condition has been met? And supplementary to that: Do you have a little child?

Velvet
26th Jun 2001, 19:44
No, I haven't missed the point Hotdog, I too think these young men should have been kept in longer (a further 4 or 5 years at least). Surely, if we can spend millions funding a safe lifestyle for these two, we could work out a solution for juvenile criminals, we seem to have an increasing preponderance of them.

Your question is whether I would have them to live next door - a characteristic unanswerable ploy which if answered 'I would not mind' - I'd be accused of being unsympathetic to the victim, and if I answered in the negative of being hypocritical.

Suffice to say that I have lived in at least one place where my next door neighbours were responsible for numerous deaths (after I'd left they did indeed kill quite a number of people). To me, at the time, they just seemed like perfectly normal people, not those you'd invite in for tea, but nevertheless, they didn't seem like the vicious killers they became.

Would you move home if you found you lived next door to criminals, or would you hound them until they left their homes?

And yes Hotdog, I too think we should be responsible and not offload them onto another country, just to shift the problem.

There is no simple solution, I just know what it's like to be on the wrong end of 'justice', and no matter what happens to these two, their life is not going to be the easy ride that some assume. I would prefer they were kept inside, but we have to deal with what is, not what we wish it to be.

I'd rather
26th Jun 2001, 21:25
Davaar: (i) yes I believe the condition has been met (on the basis that people in a position to know believe they are not a danger - obviously I have no belief arising from personal knowledge of the boys)

(ii) no I do not. But as I believe they are not a danger, then that's irrelevant, isn't it? As I believe (i) then my answer would be the same if I had children.

Davaar
26th Jun 2001, 23:37
To make one thing clear right at the start, I’d rather, I thank God I am not personally involved in this through any of the principals, victim or murderers (see above under:“kids”; so far I have not seen “little rascals”, but that may come).

Now, Who are your people “in a position to know” and what is it they do know?

First, Who? You offer parole board, doctors and experts, etc. I do not know how an English parole board is appointed, but here look for loyal hacks to the party in government. Next, the doctors. I have at least twice come close to being killed (well documented) by these demi-gods, each one a Fellow of a Royal College. Move right along to the “experts”. I have worked with them for decades, and some are more expert than others. The “etc” I leave aside. I am not prepared to accept as valid the judgments of any of these on the ground of his or her status alone. I may accept them as facts of life, to be suffered, possibly, but not, unlike you, as the basis for my thinking.

Second, What? These Who take premises (maybe facts maybe not)and on them, plus their own life experiences, education, prejudices, and emotions, they form opinions. On these opinions they act or recommend action. How does that constitute “knowing”?

You do not, you say, have a little child. Perhaps you never did. You think that is irrelevant. Well, not to me. To me it is very very relevant. If anyone had interfered with mine, far less killed her, when she was two years old, I would not have been so complacent as you.

I abhor violence. In past threads I have debated my old pal Tartan Gannet (where are you Tartan?) on the establishment of guilt (on which even the “expert” Lord Denning was a bit chancy, predisposed as he was to believe the policeman; so he said himself). The social contract exists on consent, and if that consent is withheld, then there are other options. Everyone hates vigilante law. I do too. But why did vigilante movements begin in the US West and South, and elsewhere? Simple: because there was no established system of protection, or such as did exist was corrupt or ineffective; and if the sovereign will not protect, someone else will.

Did vigilante law work? Certainly it did, and it was not the same as lynch law. It is years since I read up on vigilantism, but I do not quite agree with Velvet, if I follow her correctly, that it leads to anarchy. In the US West the vigilante groups quietly folded when state order was established.

Even many years ago in Dundee, as the story went, the ladies of one slum area caught a fellow "interfering with" a little girl. They cured his problem with a pair of scissors. No pursing of the lips on recidivism, rehabilitation, or deterrence; but no repetition of the offence, by him or others, and also no mobs of scissors- wielding harridans chasing chaps down the street. Just the once.



[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 26 June 2001).]

HotDog
27th Jun 2001, 03:26
There is a very long list in history of sexual offenders, murderers and robbers pronounced rehabilitated by the "experts" in their field, who have subsequently re- offended. Now, if Thompson and Venables have been deemed to be rehabilitated and fit to rejoin society, why have they been condemned to a future life of fear by being set free? They will now have to watch their backs and live in terror and anticipation of revenge. At least they were secure in jail, like Myra Hindley. Oh well, history will tell.

Engineer
27th Jun 2001, 04:09
HotDog
Myra Hindley will never be given the chance to show that she has paid her debt and the opportunity to live within society. Brady is not even allowed to starve himself.

A similiar thread can be seen in this case in that who decides the punishment. Do you believe that if T&V had spent another 3-5years in prison that the uproar surrounding this case would not be repeated in 2006?

To generalise on the topic there appears to be three common factors

The personal element that can only be felt by the family and no one else. If the mother hatred of these boys is so deep and unforgiving then is there anyone stopping her from taking justice into her own hands. Only the law that she and the rest of us live by.

Emotional element This part is whip up in the media or forums like this where people are convinced that the law has failed them. Here the kangeroo court sit and decides by the use of mob rule.

The logical element is acceptance in the judicial system That justice has been served the debt paid to society not the individual This one can be a bitter pill sometimes but life is tough and we don't always get what we want




[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 26 June 2001).]

virgin
27th Jun 2001, 05:07
Engineer asks: "Do you believe that if T&V had spent another 3-5years in prison that the uproar surrounding this case would not be repeated in 2006?"

There'd probably still be some criticism if they were released in five years time, but nothing like the uproar we have the moment which is caused by public outrage at them being released after serving such a short time.
Rehab'd or not, they deserved more punishment for what they did.
One of the lawyers will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Parole Board's hands effectively tied once Chief Justice Woolf reduced the minimum sentence because they only look at rehab - not whether someone has been punished enough.

I'd rather
27th Jun 2001, 14:16
Davaar, you said:

"I am not prepared to accept as valid the judgments of any of these on the ground of his or her status alone. I may accept them as facts of life, to be suffered, possibly, but not, unlike you, as the basis for my thinking."

What else is supposed to form the basis for my thinking? I am not in a position to know what the true position is - in the absence of any evidence to contrary, should I cynically assume that that those who have a duty to assess Thompson and Venables are incompetent? Why? Like you, I have had a doctor (though just one, not two) have a bloody good go at killing me, but I don't assume for that reason that his fellow doctors are equally incompetent.

Why is it "complacent" if I assume that the people who have been given this task are capable of performing it? If someone had given the job to you, what would be going through your mind? Wouldn't you think long and hard about the task ahead? Wouldn't you be nervous, in case you got it wrong? Wouldn't you, in fact, be tempted to err on the side of caution and look for any possible reason to keep them in custody a bit longer (remember, if you make the wrong decision, you'll be vilified). Now, what makes those people in that uneviable position any different to you? Why SHOULD you assume they're incompetent, stupid or uncaring?

A further point: your reference to "little rascals" implies that those who have pointed out that we should not discount the fact that Thompson and Venables were children when they murdered James Bulger, are somehow indulgent towards them ("oh, well, they were only children, bless"). I am insulted by that implication. I am not arguing that they should be "let off" because they were "only kids". Just out of interest, what do YOU think the age of criminal responsibility should be?

Oooooh, I was getting so annoyed I almost came close to accusing you of sophistry, just like our old friend Tartan Gannet. I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but I'm kind of missing him - TG where are you?

gandelf
27th Jun 2001, 15:05
I think the age thing is the wrong yard-stick, people develop at different rates - some very young (see earlier post) some a lot older.

But having said that, I can`t think of a better yard-stick

virgin
27th Jun 2001, 16:42
I'd rather
I think the age of criminal responsibility is 10. If so, I think that's a reasonable age to draw the line at.
If I remember correctly, you're a lawyer. Am I right in thinking that once Chief Justice Wolf reduced the minimum sentence they'd have to serve, that the Parole Board's hands were effectively tied?
As I understand it from articles in the Press, they'd just have to consider rehab/potential danger to the public - they didn't have the option of taking the punishment aspect into account.

Most murders are of family or friends, and there is no danger that they would kill again / be a danger to society. If that was the only consideration, 90% of people who have murdered wouldn't need locking up at all.
These boys were kept in 'secure accommodation' with unlimited visits from their families. Is there much diffrerence between 'secure accommodation' and the average boarding school. Seems to me the only difference is that they're not allowed home for the hols.

HotDog
27th Jun 2001, 17:58
Virgin, like I said before; Their "secure accomodation" and unlimited visits from their parents has now just been terminated.

Jungle Strip
27th Jun 2001, 20:06
It will be interesting to see whether vigilante groups form to hunt down the killers of Damilola Taylor... More child-killing children.

But then, he wasn't a blue-eyed blonde, and he walked, rather than toddled...

Just a thought.

[This message has been edited by Jungle Strip (edited 27 June 2001).]

Engineer
27th Jun 2001, 23:22
JS
Not a thought the truth. That one will pass in to obscurity. No floats going round London seeking justice sad eh!

Davaar
29th Jun 2001, 03:32
Let’s begin, I’d Rather, where we agree: Tartan! Come home and save the buildings.

I am flattered that you ask, of course, but it is not for me to tell you where to base your thinking. You may reflect, though, on Bismarck’s comment: “I do not believe anything until it has been officially denied”.

I did not suggest you assume “those who have a duty” are incompetent or competent. If two, or it may have been three, incompetent medics do a bad job on me, am I so very cynical if in future I ask around a bit before another gets lose on me with a knife; especially now that I act for one or two physicians myself, and I hear the “doctor talk” (which stocks are buys, holds, or sells?)

You ask why is it complacent to assume those who have a job are capable? Look around you. People who have all kinds of jobs (doctors, judges, bus drivers, plumbers, mechanics, and here recently a municipal water manager with several deaths to his belt) are not capable. Why should your experts be any different? How do you think government appointments are made? Please do not tell me you honestly believe competence comes high among the criteria. If you believe that, you believe in the Tooth Fairy. The questions you address to me are irrelevant. I am not on the parole board, etc. I have no idea what passes through their minds. I do not assume that they are incompetent, etc – although, you s-ph-st rascal you, you do impute that assumption to me; but then I always do admire the I’d Rather lateral arabesques – but I do not assume they are competent. You do. Why?

When it comes to my child’s safety, I really do not care a whit or even something similar for what the parole board thinks. I do not want youthful killers (sorry, kids) next door to me. Let them move in next door to the top banana at the parole board.

As to the unenviable position of the members of the board, are they appointed under compulsion? Is this some form of alternative penal service? I think not. They are paid, I presume? Quite well, maybe.

Then you tell me what my use of “little rascals” implies. This time, you are dead on target. In the human kindness postings I do not see these youthful killers referred to as “youthful killers” but as “kids”, “boys”, “these men”, “these young men”; and cold brutal murder is “a mistake” (Ooops! There goes another rubber-tree plant). Yes, I do think these are indulgent linguistic usages and I do infer they reflect an indulgent perspective. You disagree? Why? You tell me you are insulted. Where is the insult? If you assume (Do you?)that calling them "youthful killers" implies a hostile view of them why may I not infer that chummier language also reflects an outlook? I have not suggested that you say they should be “let off”. How would references to the youthful killers as youthful killers, rather than as kids inhibit anyone’s ability to argue as strenuously as he or she wishes the fixing of this age or that as the age of responsibility.

Finally and just, as you say, out of interest, for it is indeed irrelevant, is my view on the age of criminal responsibility. This discussion has nothing whatever to do with my views on that.




[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 29 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 29 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 29 June 2001).]

SID555
29th Jun 2001, 04:48
I've not read the whole thread and I'm not sure I should get dragged into this but.....I've read enough to understand that Slasher you are a complete [email protected] and by the sounds of it prison is far too good for you!

Remember one thing, if these boys had committed this crime just six months earlier.....they could not have been charged with any offence at all. No juvenile detention, no names released to the press, nothing. In Spain the age of criminal responsibility is 16! That is too old in my opinion but it should be raised to 12 in the UK.

Slasher, when you were 10 years old I am sure you did things without realising the consequences of your actions. That is exactly what these boys did. They were the product of a chronically deprived area - and if you've ever visited the more run down parts of Merseyside you would understand that much but I very much doubt you have.

They were as much victims as little James himself - and I don't care how controversial or wishy-washy liberal that sounds. It's the truth, and a truth that you don't have the intelligence to see, Slasher.

Good luck to the lynch mob that is after you, Slasher, cheers mate.

Slasher
29th Jun 2001, 11:40
I was going to give a constructive reply to SID555, but whats the point trying? With someone whos reasoning ability is only limited to attacking the arguer and not the argument, its just another OCB-style rant and gets nowhere.

Im nothing special. My opinions are open to criticism just like everybody else. As someone else has mentioned elsewhere, I attack arguments quite mercilessley but seldom the arguer. Its a rule of Clear-Thinking.

SID555, when you decide to attack my post instead of me I will respond. In the meantime I will not sink way down to your level of ability and react likewise.

#1AHRS
29th Jun 2001, 12:02
As with a lot of cases in the "civilised" world the person comitting the crime often ends up being portrayed as the victim. We shouldn't forget, whilst we try to convince each other about being fair and just, the real victim of this crime.

The Guvnor
29th Jun 2001, 13:31
Hang on a second. Most here seems to be addressing the results - few seem to be addressing the causes.

When you're born, you're effectively a blank piece of paper. What happens to you over the next two years will determine the sort of person you'll become - and so a baby that's abused, ignored or otherwise improperly parented will suffer severe psychological problems in later life.

Who's fault is this? The parents - and ultimately, our society. As the saying has it, it takes a villiage to raise a child - and in the west, the villiage has been bulldozed. From being a nation with multiple generations living close together; we've become one with nuclear - more usually single parent - families with latchkey kids that are plonked in front of television or an internet connected PC and fed an increasing amount of violence and depravity.

As a result, we end up with kids like Thompson and Venables. The reality is that their crime was not premeditated - they didn't wake up with the intention of abducting and killing someone - unlike many murders. They acted on impulse in abducting him; they were able to translate some of what they had seen on television into reality in their abuse of their victim; and finally killed him by leaving him on a railway line - again, emulating something they had seen on television.

The evidence is clear. Had they not been fed on a diet of mindless violence - and had their family been rather less dysfunctional, it's highly unlikely that this event would ever have occurred.

Mary Bell is an excellent comparison with Thompson and Venables. She too had been neglected and abused and was unable to recognise the reality - and the finality - of what she did. I've read Gitta Sereney's book and it is indeed most revealing. For the first time in her life, Bell had stability and role models she could trust when she was in secure accommodation and that had a highly positive effect on her. Society's demands for vengeance, however, meant that instead of being released back into the community as a much improved individual, she was then transferred into the adult prison system when she reached her majority. As a result, much of the positive work that had been done was undone - she went from a positive system of rehabilitation to one of negative incarceration. Fortunately, the government seems to have learnt from that lesson and has taken the brave - and in my opinion, based on what I've heard from people connected with the case - proper decision to release Thompson and Venables.

Where I think they've made a mistake in the name of PC is that instead of banning them from contacts with their families - the primary source of their problems - they have relocated their families with them. And, that, more than anything else, will probably be their undoing.

You need a licence for a gun. You need a licence for a car. Heck, you even need a licence for a dog! But any two brain dead, irresponsible people can have a child...

Slasher
29th Jun 2001, 14:20
Guv your forgetting that a lot of kids are exposed to the same conditions of upbringing (or worse) as those 2, but only an extremely small percentage would go and butcher an inocent toddler in cold blood. Thus you cant justify saying we end up with kids like venables/thompson in a sweeping general statement like that mate.

True, I am not as informed about the Mary Bell case as you are. But how many more must be murdered by future "Mary Bells" who for all we know are already being moulded, before the message finaly sinks in?

Parents/society/TV can share the blame, but justice ultimately comes down not to blame but acountability. So who then is acountable for the murder of James Bulger?

Evanelpus
29th Jun 2001, 14:35
I'm gonna get flamed for this but what the hell, it's Friday.

I too have to admit I haven't read all the arguments contained in this thread but this is how I see it.

Two young lads KIDNAPPED an even younger child, DRAGGED him over two miles to the scene of his MURDER. Not only was poor James Bulger murdered he was TORTURED, DISFIGURED and left on a railway line where a train came along and CUT HIM IN TWO.

Now boys will be boys and I'm the first to admit to the odd case of rat tat ginger and giving a fat kid some verbal grief. Sadly this is totally different and I have been amazed at the candy ass liberals who have gone to great lengths to 'defend' these two killers.

Thompson and Venables are evil, pure and simple. So they were very young when they commited this horrible act but surely they 'knew' what they were doing was terribly wrong.

I personally hope they are identified, not for them to suffer any harm, more the mental torture of not knowing what the future holds for them.

My heart goes out to the parents of little James at this time

Engineer
29th Jun 2001, 14:48
Slasher
You talk about accountability but these two have been made accountable for the crime they committed as was Mary Bell.

The point of this whole issue is that some people think that the sentence metered out and served is insufficient. That is tough but what is done is done. Now the end result is the integration of these people back into society.

Remember big brother(Mr Pprune)is watching scary

Slasher
29th Jun 2001, 15:08
Eng I was commenting about acountability with respect to the thrust of Guvs post, not so much "accountability" standing alone. Have a look again.

Yeh and Im one who obviousley agrees the punishment is insuficient. Why is it that normal everyday people in the street seem to be better judges of punishment than the bullsh!t academic new-age liberals infesting the Western court system and parole boards? I mean it leads to things like.....vigilante groups! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

Engineer
29th Jun 2001, 15:55
slash looked again and
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">So who then is acountable for the murder of James Bulger?</font>
Thompson and Venables Who was accountable for their sentence the court. Justice has been served whether you agree with its severity or not. But remember it is the normal everyday people in the street that you refer to who elected the same people who you are vehemently against.

Also the "how many more must be murdered by future "Mary Bells" who for all we know are already being moulded" will also come from that same group. Makes for a good nights sleep

SID555
29th Jun 2001, 16:23
Guv, I could not agree more with you. OK Slasher my previous post was abusive and that undermined my case but people like you really p!ss me off. Evanelpus you've done exactly the same thing though talking about 'candy ass liberals' I can only assume you must be American!

What these two boys did was quite apalling. It was a horrendous brutal act that it's hardly believeable that two ten year olds could be capable of. And there in lies my point. I don't believe they did know what they were doing, and I certainly believe that when something like this happens, you have to look very carefully into the causes, and above all the world that these two were brought up in. If they had not seen that video would they have done it? No. If they had a stable family (which most of us on here have been lucky enough to come from and I assume you too Slasher) would they have done it? No. If they were not from one of the most economically deprived areas in this country would they have done it? I very much doubt it.

So there has to be more to this than simply branding these two men as evil, and calling for their lynching. They are 18 now. They are truly sorry for what they did. Now they are older they realise the full horror and the apalling enormity of their actions on that Saturday morning nine years ago. I think they should be given a chance to rebuild their lives, what good would murdering them do now? Would it bring James back? Would it make the family feel better? No. And of course my thoughts are with James' family too.

The Guvnor
29th Jun 2001, 17:59
Slasher, it comes down to a simple question - is prison for rehabilitation or revenge? If the former, then as long as those responsible for Venables and Thompson believe that they can be integrated back into society, no further purpose is served by their incarceration.

If the latter then fine, they should be in for another 10 years - or more. But what, really, does that achieve?

And what does that make us?

[This message has been edited by The Guvnor (edited 30 June 2001).]

Evanelpus
29th Jun 2001, 18:32
SID

Still doesn't wash, so we are going to have to consider that they came from a deprived area of Liverpool are we? What would have happened if they had come from Kensington? Would they have had their PC's confiscated? The crimes the same, don't matter where you are from.

The only thing I do agree with you about is that murdering them would serve no purpose. I hope this does stay with them forever, everytime they are in a crowded area, everytime they go out in the dark, everytime they find themselves lost and alone, everytime they turn a corner.

This kind of punishment will last for the rest of their miserable lives, death is quick and far too good for them.

Now my true colours are showing, I'm off for the weekend!!

Davaar
29th Jun 2001, 19:46
Guvnor, I suggest it is not all that simple. For Venables and Thompson substitute Homolka and Bernardo, formerly husband and wife, both in jail here. They jointly committed a series of kidnappings, torture, and murders of teenage girls, much of it neatly on video. Various police forces did a bad job of catching them (let’s all trust the experts, which for brevity I shall call “LATTE”). As a result they did more murder before they were caught. LATTE. Homolka had earlier collaborated in the murder of her own teenage sister, but no one found that out. LATTE. Once caught for the later murders, Homolka maintained she had been under the influence of the evil Bernardo, so she was granted a plea bargain, gave evidence against Bernardo, and he was sentenced to life. LATTE. She was convicted and sentenced to, I think it was, 12 years. LATTE.

All along, unknown to police or prosecutors, defence counsel had the video. LATTE. Where did he get it? It was hidden in the murder house. Bernardo told him where to look. Had the murder house been searched by the police? Of course it had. Had they found the video? No. LATTE. The video showed that Homolka was not the innocent she had claimed, but a happy contributor. In fact, there was some thought that so far from being an ingenue, she had actually put Bernardo up to it.

Great public outcry. Can’t her sentence be reassessed? No? You say? Too late, the deal had been made? LATTE. Bernardo meanwhile is kept in solitary (protective) custody. There have been ineffective attempts by other convicts to fix his waggon. This of course is the true meaning of custody in many cases, but not one the socially conscious like to think about.

The time for Homolka to be released approaches. Newspapers show her enjoying dress-up parties in jail. LATTE. Public outcry, so she is moved to a more rigorous institution. There is, it seems, little sign that she is contrite (even the experts seem agreed on this), but she will be released, because that is the deal. LATTE. There are hints that she may not survive long outside, a problem for the experts. They really do not know what to do. LATTE.

Bernardo has years still to serve, but meanwhile they cannot even release him into the general prison population, far less outside, for fear of death. The socially conscious but remarkably intolerant and authoritarian (disagree with one at least in these pages, and you are by definition talking childish nonsense) advanced thinkers urge, LATTE.

On that basis I, or you, or he, may have Homolka, or eventually Bernardo, next door, because they will have “paid their debt”. The socially conscious, etc, etc, also tell us there are things we must all just accept, because they are “reality”. I am suggesting there are things they too must just accept, for the same reason, and one is that not all of us are ready to LATTE, and do not all pattern our thinking on the latest sociologist. This horrifies the socially conscious, etc, etc, and that is why the householder who protects himself is so harshly treated by the authorities. They know their power exists by consent, and they want to protect authority, not to protect you and me.

They are in deadly fear that dull middle-aged (Oh, very well, Guv, you have met me; we can settle on “elderly”) quiet law-abiding Dads and Mums, will say one day: NO, let’s NOT LATTE, and withdraw our consent. In the US, “We the people ...” are the source of power, and they chose that contrary to the precedent in the UK where, according to standard though not entirely unchallenged theory, the basis of power is the Sovereign in Parliament, but even in the UK (more accurately, England) and even in the 14th century the Peasant’s Revolt did not pass without effect, even though it was suppressed. NOT LATTE. The last thing the experts want is another revolt. Where would they all be then?

I do not know nor much care what, if anything, will happen to Homolka and ultimately Bernardo. I know that I do not want either of them near me or my family, now or ever, and the experts can go blow it out their ears. If, finally, over the next decade or so Bernardo finds his little cell very confining, that is just fine by me.

[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 29 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Davaar (edited 29 June 2001).]

Slasher
29th Jun 2001, 20:04
Yeh ok SID555 people like me realy p!ss you off. Fine. Have a nice day.

Guv, who said anything about rehabilitation or revenge? I thought it was supposed to be a penalty. I for one have no faith in the Western justice system and this latest event only serves to maintain my overall contempt and utter disgust for it. Even my NY lawyer makes me puke.

Eng I cant fault your logic but everyday people dont have a direct input to lawmakers or parole boards. If they did it would certainley be a different story. But your point about "justice had been served wether or not I agree with its severity" was worth a good think, and is of course correct. Wether I like it or not you are right. My mistake was assuming justice was fair.

Engineer
29th Jun 2001, 21:17
Hey Slash is anything fair today.People will have you beleive that it is, but usually they want something from you

Did someone sing "It a wonderful world" must have been sick parrot

[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 29 June 2001).]

Velvet
29th Jun 2001, 21:20
On this point I agree with Slasher, and it's at the root of this dilemma - in this case Justice hasn't been seen to be done.

They do appear to have escaped any consequences of their crime, and it was horrendous. Eight years of relative comfort, education and 1-1 counselling is not really punishment and has been completely aimed at rehabilitation. How many of the youngsters who do not commit crimes have the same care and attention showered on these two.

That I don't think vigilante groups / lynch mobs is the answer, doesn't mean that I axiomatically think these have paid for what they did to Jamie Bulger. They won't have an easy life outside, always looking over their shoulders and perhaps that will be a kind of punishment. Guv, I don't think they can be properly integrated back into society and that's one of the issues - they haven't had a normal life, they aren't going to live a normal life and sooner or later they are going to be identified.

I have to disagree with Engineer - we didn't elect the people who decided how long they should serve. They were chosen without any say from the British Public from the 'great and the good'. An elected official, the then Conservative Home Secretary decided they should serve a minimum of 15 years - this was overturned by decree from the European Courts - not a body the British elected and certainly not accountable for their actions to those whom their rulings affect most. I don't remember one member of any Government since actually stating that this was wrong, and that they would be appealling this Ruling and overturning it if necessary.

The claim that going to an adult prison would not serve any purpose is one of the considerations for this decision. So, what about all the other convicted juveniles that are consigned to adult prisons, detention centres and don't get the same treatment and new lives.

SID555
29th Jun 2001, 23:53
Slasher, that was not meant as an insult but is merely what I think. I am sure my views p!ss you off equally. But you still have not answered my points.

Evanelpus - on the contrary of course it matters where you are from! Are you seriously trying to suggest that if you had been born into the ghetto you would not have dabbled in or turned completely to crime? Of course you would. If they had come from Kensington, they would not have done it. Pure and simple.

I don't know if we are talking about justice here either - or a least 'fairness'. What would be 'fair' would be for these boys and their familes to have suffered the same fate at the same age. Life is not fair and it is unrealistic to expect justice to be fair. What we have to do is by all means punish these boys for their crime, which we have(and furthermore the rest of their lives will be punishment enough), and then attempt to rehabilitate them as far as possible, and above all ensure that this never happens again. In order to do that we have to take a long hard look at the society we live in. Could it happen again tomorrow? Undoubtedly the answer is yes.

Engineer
30th Jun 2001, 01:27
velvet
Explain <font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">They do appear to have escaped any consequences of their crime</font>
JHC [sorry ocb for taking the lords name in vain put the gun away)they served eight years Maybe when you've spent eight years of your life incarcerated you might have a better understanding of the situation.

Yes the government is elected by the people who then thro due law and process set up the body which elect the judges to administer the law.

[This message has been edited by Engineer (edited 29 June 2001).]

Velvet
30th Jun 2001, 16:47
Engineer - explain why you think that if they had come from Kensington they would not have done it. The upper echelons of society are not free from crime, nor are they incapable of horrendous and abusive behaviour. Money does not make you a saint. Lack of money does not make you more likely to commit serious crime.

The consequences of this act are that they caused the death of a small child and caused tremendous suffering to that child and subsequently his family. They have not really suffered for this act. They have not, I believe, come to terms with what they did. Based on some evidence which has emerged of their attitudes - they still do not really comprehend the enormity of what they did.

The only time they can possible understand exactly what they did is if either of them fall in love, and have a much wanted and loved child. Only when they look down into the eyes and face of a small child, totally trusting them will they have any idea of exactly what it was they did that day 8 years ago.

They have had a far better life than they would have done; apart from not going home for the holidays, it's admitted (by the authorities in charge) that their treatment has been fairly much like the average boarding school. In recent years they have even been allowed out under supervision to visit various places to reintegrate them into society.

If they had not been incarcerated, they probably would have suffered more abuse, possibly ending up as petty criminals with a string of offences. Eventually ending up in a juvenile or adult jail - and do you really think that they would then have been given a decent education and a new life for them and their families upon release.

Trouble is Engineer that in this case, our laws, our judgement (that is the British) was overturned by a European Court, after the sentence was set. We didn't elect them, we had no say in the matter.

I have the uneasy suspicion that the authorities are indulging themselves in a social experiment with these two boys - to see if total rehabilitation can be achieved.

What I hope doesn't happen is that someone else gets injured or killed by the self-righteous actions of a group of vigilantes.



[This message has been edited by Velvet (edited 30 June 2001).]

boredcounter
1st Jul 2001, 07:00
SH!TS the pair of them, don't suppose we can have a whip and charter a special train for the pair of evil sods.

Put it in perspective though, what do we do with the 'statesman' in the Hauge?

Guess the answer is the same in both cases, an amnisty for the relatives, and close the doors at Old Trafford.

Hell is too good for all three.........but we have to respect the (International) law and its penalties

Sh!tty world aint it