Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Devil Boy

The power of the media to leave an imprint, an aftertaste, of an event in our group consciousness is immense. Popular heroes and popular devils can be created in an instant and that forever sets the tone of our public debate and understanding.
Killing one's mother and faking an attack in an attempt to cover it up comes pretty high on the shock stakes, particularly when the guilty party is a mere 14 years old. This crime is thankfully rare. As expected, the less evolved media have begun to whip up the mob, inescapably assisted by the judge who was stupid enough to allow them to publish the boy’s name.
As ever in these cases a decision must be made. Should we - as a society - write off this boy as being irretrievably wicked? Or do we believe that people are rarely irretrievable and take the advantage of these formative teenage years to help to reclaim him to be a good member of society when he is eventually released in his 30's?
The boy seems to be very bright, which is in some ways helpful. For no matter what "the system" does to him (and I mean to, not with) in the name of rehabilitation or development, it will be through his own private reflections that determines whether he changes or not. I hope that, even if it is inadvertently, he is given the supportive environment that he will need to examine and change himself; not because it will be demanded of him, but because he (belatedly) has a moral re-awakening.
Given this guy's age I cannot help wondering about the course his life will take, whether much has altered since I trod that particular path. And whether he will have the psychological strength to form his own personality in the face of an overwhelming pressure from his keepers to become only what it is they want him to be - passive, compliant, obedient.Given the rotten nature of the Administration I would be a fool to think that lessons will have been learned from experience such as my own. Perhaps he could use a mentor who has trod the road that he is now learning to walk..?


  1. I haven't heard about this case that you are referring to here Ben. So often though, circumstances around these terrible incidences get pushed to the background or swept under the carpet.

    Although I have not come across this case at all, it has reminded me of a young man I knew once, he was in a residential unit for people with mental health problems where I worked for a while. This young man, (who everyone liked mainly because he was a very nice looking chap) one day threw himself off a multi storey car park and died. I was so upset and couldn't understand why he had done it. Then I heard that his mother had been abusing him (including sexually I think) and the whole situation had got absolutely unbearable for him.

    Its not until the full story gets revealed that you can maybe understand and appreciate causes of death. No-one is born bad, we are born into circumstances that we have to make the best of. I don't know what happened to this lad who killed his mother, what were the set of circumstances, but this world is extraordinarily brutal, the pressures on people are great, pressures of even getting food on the table. It is these things makes life hard, those who demonise individuals without taking into account the full picture are probably insecure in themselves and small minded aswell.

  2. Your last words, "Perhaps he could use a mentor who has trod the road that he is now learning to walk"..? You have got it, at last! It is something like, that you lived yourself. Each Human life, is always "Almost like someone else", but not quite. The closer the "Almost" is to another, the better the understanding! So, go for it, seek to become his mentor. It would not harm him, it might save him from another destiny, worse than Sophie J's mentioned young lad.
    You don't have to save the world, this cannot be done anyway. Who would want to rescue Hell, anyway? Leave Hell well alone, as it is run by secret society! But you can rescue a "Lost Soul", who is just like you were, all those years ago. If you yourself, never had a mentor, then this is where you can really help one Soul, to climb out of the Hell he has put himself in, and the "True Hell", that secret society makes of this damn place.
    The true Divine, says "Yes"!

  3. Lock him forever, that way he will never murder again. The Americans have the right idea. Life must mean life.

  4. Um, Supersaint, you do realise that people can kill in prison..? And who says he will kill again? Locking him up forever for what he may do in future is a tad thin. And, as ever, you give no substance to underpin the slogan of Life Means Life. Ben.

  5. It's not just what he may do in the future, its what he has done in the past. He took a Hunan life the most heinous of crimes. He killed once he can kill again. As for substance I am a law abiding citizen and I want myself my famiy and friends protectd fron murderers. Is that so wrong in wanting this. He murdered he loses his liberty forever. Also life means life surely must act as a deterrence. Also fact the vast majority of released criminals go on to commit further crime is further reason to detain him. I am sorry to hear there are murders in prison that is wrong and I hope the authoritys are just as hot on it.

  6. Supersaint, I took your reasoning at face value and you want this kid locked away forever to prevent him killing again. My point is, locking someone up does"t prevent them killing, so that"s a shaky argument you propose. Now you shift your ground, you want him locked up forever for what he has already done. Pick an argument and stick with it! And I have to tell you that the majority of Lifers do not go on to commit further crimes. Your outrage at this crime is bearable, but I find your basic lack of knowledge about, e.g., recidivism rates for killers, to be depressing. Ben.

  7. It does not prevent them killing but it minimizes the risk. The majority may not but the minority do and even one serious crime is one to many sorry but it is. You make no comment on me wanting protection what do u say to that and sorry excuse my ignorance what does recidivism mean. And you find my attitude at this crime bearable, how very nice. The vast majority would share my outrage and suffer revulsion. Tell me something Ian Huntley in your opinion should he be released. Jeremy banner what about him. This is purely out of interest.

  8. I do not support a "life should mean life" and have made my arguments repeatedly. May I suggest you use the search function to find those posts on the blog. As I say, I do appreciate that your feelings are genuine even if the info on which they are based is flawed. I would respond more fully but, to be frank, I am presently on home leave and there are many non-blog related matters that are taking my attention. Ben.

  9. Supersaint, your attitude seems a little poorly thought out to me. This may not be the case with you, but I expect a certain level of educational independence in the people around me - for example, if I don't know a word, I would google it before asking someone to take their time to define it for me (especially someone whose available time is limited.) Similarly, if I were going to make sweeping statements about recidivism* I would first make sure I had my points straight. I'm not perfectly accurate, but I try to at least have a vague idea of what I'm talking about. I've had some trouble finding details on the rate specifically of murderers going on to kill again after release, but the information I have found indicates that murderers tend to have very low recidivism, especially relative to the average. The general trend seems to be that recidivism is higher among people on shorter sentences. I'm no expert, but I'm inclined to assume that short sentences would tend to correlate roughly with more minor, possibly habitual crimes (i.e. shoplifting, minor drug crimes, drunk or impaired driving that does not cause any serious harm, fights involving no serious injuries, etc. Things that an average person might justify to themselves as being no big deal.)

    On the subject of sweeping statements, your declaration that "one serious crime is too many" carries implications that I doubt you've fully considered. After all, there is at least one serious crime commited for every murderer in prison - the one they were imprisoned for. Perhaps they should have been pre-emptively locked up to prevent those deaths? Perhaps everyone should be? The reality is that we make compromises as a society. You cannot have both perfect security and perfect freedom. A significant proportion of killings are a result of domestic trouble. What if, in order to prevent those, you would have to let someone else - a disinterested and protected outside observer - supervise your interactions with your family. Still want that perfect safety? Every death is a tragedy, and a loss to someone - but letting those tradegies hold society hostage is not considered an acceptable trade-off by most people, so we live with the risk. Not that I expect it to be much comfort, but your spouse, if you have one, is statistically more likely to kill you than the boy in question.

    *which literally means 'falling back' and in this context refers to a return to criminal behaviour after having been convicted of and punished for one or more offenses