Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Some Solem Thoughts

Aplogies for the second entry today, but this really couldn't wait. This came to me be e-mail today. It was part of a petition which was 'signed' when it reached me by upwards of five hundred people from countries around the world (Australia, UK, Canada, NZ, and others).

I'll let you read it before I pass comment.

 

Do you remember February 1993 in England , when a young boy of 3 was taken from a Liverpool shopping centre by two 10-year-old boys? Jamie Bulger walked away from his mother for only a second, Jon Venables took his hand and led him out of the mall with his friend Robert Thompson. They took Jamie on a walk for over 2 and a half miles, along the way stopping every now and again to torture the poor little boy who was crying constantly for his mummy.  Finally they stopped at a railway track where they brutally kicked him, threw stones at him, rubbed paint in his eyes, pushed batteries up his anus and cut his fingers off with scissors. Other mutilations were inflicted but not reported in the press.

 

N.B. :- Remember, a 3year old cannot possibly defend themselves against a 10 year old, let alone of 2 them.

 

What these two boys did was so horrendous that Jamie's mother was forbidden to identify his body. They then left his beaten small body on railway tracks so a train could run him over to hide the mess they had created. These two boys, even being boys, understood what they did was wrong, hence trying to make it look like an accident.

                           

This week Lady Justice Butler-Sloss has awarded the two boys (now men), anonymity for the rest of their lives when they leave custody with new identities. They will also leave custody early only serving just over half of their sentence. They are being relocated to Australia to live out the rest of their lives. They disgustingly and violently took Jamie's life away and in return they each get a new life!

 

Please.... . If you feel as strongly as we do, ( and if you haven't already signed this petition ) that this is a grave Miscarriage of justice - Hit the forward button and add your name at the end, and send it to everyone you can !

 

If you are the 700th person to sign, please forward this e-mail to: cust.ser.cs@gtnet.gov.uk and mark it for the attention to Lady Justice Butler-Sloss.
Then continue on until it hits 1400, before you email her the list again.

There is power in numbers & these petitions do help.

Maybe it'll prevent another child from a violent death & maybe it'll get greater, more appropriate convictions for these criminals. whatever their age.

 

Please take a few seconds to forward it to your mail list & don't forget to add your name to the list.

Thank you.

 

Before we go any further, let's clear up some of the inaccuracies in the report above.

 

Firstly, Thompson and Venables did not serve 'half their sentence'. Their sentence was life with a minimum tariff of eight years. Subsequently this was raised to ten and then fifteen for political reasons, but ultimately reduced back to the original eight. This is what they served. They were then released on a 'life license' in 2001 which means that the police and government authorities have to know where they are living, and should they "break the conditions of their release or be found to be a danger to the public" they can immediately be sent back to prison. Despite not being in Jail, they are not free in the sense that you and I understand the word.

 

Secondly, there is an injunction in place which prevents the reporting of the boys' whereabouts. No one knows for sure where they are – despite many rumors in the years since they left prison. Yes, they were given new identities, but that is the extent of the facts that are in the public domain.

Thirdly, batteries were inserted into Bulger's mouth, not his arse, and his fingers were not cut off. These rumors were spread by chain letter (like the one above). His death was caused by a blow to the head with an iron bar that fractured his skull. He was found two days later and had indeed been run over by a train. Also, he was not "crying for his mummy the whole time". Several people who saw him with Thompson and Venables reported him to be laughing and smiling.

 

Now to my thoughts.

 

I remember this crime. I guess every British person old enough to understand what had happened remembers it. It sickened me – literally. I actually felt as if I wanted to throw up when I heard. I was 18. I was as angry as everyone else in the country. I wanted Thompson and Venables to rot in jail for the rest of their miserable little lives, just like everyone else in the country.

 

But.

 

That was then. We are now fifteen years later. These two men spent 8 years in youth-jail with other people who knew what they had done. Their existence there could not have been very pleasant. They have spent a further 7 years living a life that is not their own, knowing they could go back inside if they do anything wrong.

 

I'm not excusing them. I'm not sticking up for them. I have not and will not talk about their backgrounds or try to explain what they did. I don't believe I'm qualified for that.

 

I believe they should have been punished, but I believe they have been. And I believe they will continue to be. By themselves apart from anything else.

 

Think about it. Put yourself in their shoes. They are grown-ups now. Can you put your hand on your heart and say you can't look back at things you did as a 10-year-old that you don't regret? No. We all regret something we have done at that age. Now imagine having to live with the sort of regret that these two are having to live with. It can't be nice. I'll bet they wake in the night, sweaty and screaming after dreaming about what they did that day. And they will go on doing so for the rest of their lives.

 

Now, ask yourself this, how would it feel to never be able to let anyone get close to you? Because these men have new identities and so any friends they make, and girls they meet will not know who they are. And these two boys must live in fear of anyone finding out. Because you can imagine what that would mean. Can you imagine the reaction of the local community when they found out that one of the 'Bulger Killers' was living next door? It would mean another new life, another new town, another new name. So you can't let anyone get close. Can you?

 

There have been reports all sorts of reports, or should I say rumors, about the boys. Thompson has fathered a child or is in a settled gay relationship – depends on the newspaper you read. Venables is living in Australia or Wigan, again, it depends on your daily read. Actually, I find it hard to believe he would have been allowed to live abroad, but that's just my thoughts.

 

Let me be clear. There can never be any punishment severe enough for the taking of a life, and certainly not for the taking of a life so young in such a cruel and heartless way. But we, the general public, have to believe that these particular two boys are not a danger anymore. Because the authorities, people who know the boys and have seen what they have been through during their incarceration and seen how they continue to punish themselves, have said that they are not a danger. And if we cannot believe the people we trust to make these judgments then we should not trust them to make the judgments.

 

I don't think these boys' punishment will ever end. I have to believe that human nature, their human nature, is such that they will go on punishing themselves forever. Otherwise they are just evil. And surely no-one is just evil. Are they?

 

Whilst it is not a complete record, you may find the wikipiedia entry on the murder of James Bulger to be interesting. I encourage you to read it. (note – It's James Bulger. Not Jamie. His family never called him Jamie. The press did. It sounded more… innocent. But can a three year old get any more innocent?)

 

On a separate note. Thompson and Venables walked for 2 and a half miles with Bulger and were seen by (a reported) 38 people. Some reported seeing bruises on his face. Others said he was happy and smiling. What, I ask, does this say about our society? And would it still happen? Ask yourself, if you saw two young boys leading a third by the hand – would you stop and question them? Go on, be honest with yourself. Would you?

 

 

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