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..?