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A Second Chance

I’m no stranger to the Jamie Bulger case because I frequently visit the website for insights into the criminal mind. There’s something intriguing and terribly appalling about the working of a human mind and sometimes, it takes a moment of impulse to change the course of one’s life. Sometimes, attention-seeking behaviors twist and bend out of shape and turn into deplorable acts against humanity. What more against someone so small and innocent, like Jamie Bulger.

I don’t care much for adult offenders who knowingly act with the full capacity of a thinking human being. They deserve to rot where they are, deserving of no second chance. They can plead alcoholism, family desperation and they can plead that their lives depended on it. But the moment they act inhumanely in any manner possible, then there’s really no second chance for them. They have thought about it, premeditate the whole thing, planned it and carried it out in a wild cold-blooded burst of violence. But what about young kids? Jamie Bulger was kidnapped from his mother in the middle of a shopping mall by two ten-year old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson…hardly grown men. Ten years old. Take a moment to imagine two ten-year-old boys together here....they're probably either trying to take a TV apart or bouncing off walls trying to be Power Rangers, right? Venables and Thompson had taken Jamie Bulger on a terror-ride that not many people all around the world will ever forget any time soon that included torture of many different kinds, and then his broken body was laid on the tracks of a railway to be destroyed. What bothers me is that these kids, the murderers, were probably acting out of a desperate need for attention and probably some kind of need to prove each others’ bravado. Their target was a natural choice. Three-years-old. Even if they picked a small girl, she would be quick and loud enough to alert people surrounding them. So, cleverly, they picked an innocent child who would listen to them, can be easily cajoled with a lollipop or ice-cream. My point is this. Yes, the murderers are old enough to think about it, weigh the odds, they very well know that whatever it was that they were to embark on was wrong. They probably ‘planned’ a little bit of it along the way, trying to outdo each other and prove to the other and people around them that they’re made of ‘tough stuff’. Hey, we all go through a stage like that, don’t we? Although not many of us would consider torturing a small kid cool but we were all brought up differently, so….yeah, the weight weighs differently with every individual. But all of it, at the bottom of all that bravado was…the mischief of growing boys. This is what happens when you don’t guide the kids and let them get away with too much. There’s no point in pin-pointing on what went wrong because the cause can be too many. But is it right to punish under-aged mischievous boys for life? Now, I put myself into James’ mother’s shoes for a while. Although I can only imagine and cannot truly feel the emotions coursing through her bloodstream at this precise moment or the moment that Venables and Thompson were released, my imagination is actually quite high-tech (far-fetched). Hatred, yes. Regret, yes. Mission to destroy the lives of the boys, yes. I want them to feel every single ounce of pain they have ever dared inflict on my boy. I want every single muscle and tendon in their body shiver with pain and fear. But after all of those feelings, what’s there? Emptiness. It’s over. Fate’s taken its course. Nothing. Although James is gone, his life has been taken, God is not unfair and he doesn’t do things for no reasons…at least, that’s what I believe. Little Bulger died for a reason and it’s probably, my best guess, to educate parents and kids that stuff like that can happen. Grotesque and disasters of monumental proportion can happen. And for Venables and Thompson, their lives would have been much different if they had not taken the joyride with the tot. On whether they would turn out to be successful scientists, business men or rogues, there’s no one to tell. But do they deserve to suffer the punishment for life? I think about right about 2001, Venables and Thompson were released under anonymity. Their personalities were changed and because they’re men now, looking much different from the way they looked when they were ten, their identities, I would safely say, will probably remain a secret. But when they were released, there was an uproar and public discontent arising out of fear and disgust. At best, I wouldn’t even call their act a crime. It’s an act of mischief and misbehavior and when I was in Law school, we all know that this is a gray area. How do you punish a child who is lacking in maturity and ability to process information and decide on important things in life? How do you measure ‘maturity’? At what age would you consider them capable of making decisions not derived loosely on how much ‘pleasure’ or ‘fun’ they will have? My take is that Venables and Thompson have been punished for their misbehavior and that they should be allowed to go on with their lives. I received an email from a friend a couple of days ago and it’s an appeal to keep the email circulating in protest of the release of Venables and Thompson. Sadly, the email ended here with me because I disagree. And besides, I did checks and found that it was not a legitimate email and that it had no impact and will never have an impact on the decision that was already made. There’s no way to retract the decision, anyway. But quite honestly… Choy-kor-lei-tai-kat-lai-see if something like that were to happen to me (touch wood touch wood touch wood touch wood touch wood), if I were the victim’s mother, I would want James to die for something. Maybe, in a way, if Venables and Thompson made something of themselves, then the life taken would not have been in vain. I don’t know. I am speculating but my initial feelings would be this and if you disagreed, feel free to tell me why. My feelings can still be changed…. Lots of people feel very strongly against the motion of releasing the boys. There’s a petition here and the website is regularly updated. Coming back to justice, don’t they deserve a second chance in living life right this time round? Mmmmm…..then again, if they did something wrong again, who’s fault is it? Aiya, all I know is that thank goodness I wasn’t the judge or the juries who had to make the decision! Thow-thngia (headache)…


Anonymous said…
I'm curious... do reading such stuff broaden people's perspectives, or increase paranoia? I occasionally visit the Crime Library too, but I'm just wondering...especially in the POV of parents, cos I'm not one, so I don't know.
Marsha Maung said…
vern, you know, to a certain extent, it makes us a little paranoid, I'll admit that. But to me, knowledge is a weapon. Information is not supposed to weaken long as we know how to use the info, there's absolutely no reason for paranoia.

Human beings cannot control the future, PERIOD right or not? So, gather information, do the best we can, hope for the best, hope we did a good job, END OF STORY lah.

what to do???? :-)
Marsha Maung said…
vern, I forgot to say....good question. shows maturity beyond age!

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