In light of the recall into custody of Jon Venables–one of the ten-year-old boys who horrifically murdered the two-year-old James Bulger in Manchester, 1993–Brian MastersÂ deliberates on the possibility of absolution for a heinous crime committed in one’s childhood.
But I do know that [Jon Venables] cannot be the warped and skewed child who shared in that dreadful crime all those years ago. It is just not possible. He is somebody else now. We all of us change and develop as we pass into adulthood and beyond, and there is no reason to suppose that a child who murders should be exempt from this inevitability. [â€¦]
Besides which, most of the religions that are professed in this country, and to which angry avengers pretend to adhere, give space to that precious possibility of redemption. Surely our society is mature enough to permit religious wisdom to prevail rather than let intelligent thought be swamped by quivering fascination with wickedness. [â€¦]
Nobody would wish to belittle the ghastly fate that befell James Bulger. Letting his killers attempt to redeem themselves in peace does not do that. But we should be mindful of the fact that indignation is relatively easy to satisfy, and demands no sacrifice, no exposure to horrid experience, no damage to the soul. To continue feeding indignation against a 10-year-old boy who glimpsed Hell, and who knew it, is at best unworthy, and at worst is itself a manifestation of wickedness.
I stand by a previous comment of mine stating that it’s the “Best & worst thing I’ve read in a very long time”.Â And as David said, it isn’t for the faint hearted, but is worthy nonetheless (I stole David’s headline, too–thanks!).