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Jon Venables [Mar. 7th, 2010|10:54 am]
Tony Grist
The authorities may be desperate to keep Jon Venables' identity a secret, but the man himself seems to have been trying- even more desperately-  to out himself. The story that's seeping through the official firewall reveals a haunted, young man- often the worse for booze and drugs- who has been buttonholing strangers and workmates and confiding his horrible secret to them- and then getting into fights when they reject him. We all find it difficult to live alone with our secret selves; how much more terrible when the secret self is a notorious murderer. Venables is not a psychopathic monster. A psychopathic monster doesn't reach out for acceptance and understanding. A psychopathic monster is sufficient unto himself and lives easily in his own skin.

I am implacably opposed to the death penalty- chiefly on the grounds that it degrades the society that operates it- but  this case makes me wonder if bringing a guilty, self-hating existence to a sudden end isn't in fact the  kinder, more merciful option.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2010-03-07 11:07 am (UTC)
I agree completely.

"Venables" was a child when he committed a terrible, horrific crime, and from what has been seeping out he can't handle the guilt. As you rightly point out, that is not a psychopath.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 11:15 am (UTC)
What do you do with a person like Venables? It's hard to see how a life that has been blighted so early can ever be normal. You can erase his identity and put him back into society, but you can't so easily get rid of his demons....
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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2010-03-07 11:34 am (UTC)
Exactly. If he has committed a crime, it needs to be properly tried and assessed, which is unlikely due to the raging media trial that is ongoing.

However, no-one is ever going to tell the Bulger family that they might like to step away from this. You only have to take one look at Denise Fergus' face to recognise that she won't rest until both Venables and Thompson are dead.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 12:32 pm (UTC)
Our society has decided that there is something sacred and untouchable about victimhood- and that the vengeful bitterness of people like Denise Fergus is never to be challenged.

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[User Picture]From: redatt
2010-03-07 12:43 pm (UTC)
I always get the impression that she feels as guilty and self-hating as people think her son's killers should be.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 01:45 pm (UTC)
That's sad.

We need to forgive our enemies- not for abstract, theological reasons- but for the sake of our own mental health.

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[User Picture]From: methodius
2010-03-07 05:06 pm (UTC)
As someone once said, resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I saw some of the news items on TV on Friday, where they shows pictures of John Venables and Robert Thompson over and over again. Robert Thompson looked like a thug, the kind of kid I would have been scared of if I had been at school with them. Jon Venables looked like quite a sweet kid, the kind one might think could be mischievious but not malicious. But appearances can be deceptive

We had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for people who did such things for political reasons, but what can you do with people who do such things just for kicks?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 05:38 pm (UTC)
It's interesting that Thompson- the toughie- is the one who seems to have made a go of his new life- and kept himself out of trouble.

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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2010-03-07 11:17 am (UTC)
God, how tragic.

I have recurrent dreams in which I've murdered someone, and am covering a secret shame. The dreams themselves are unbearable enough, I can't imagine what it would be like to live that as a truth. For the rest of my life.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2010-03-07 11:56 am (UTC)
I have those dreams too. They're some kind of stress/worry dream, but I really wish my brain could come up with some other symbolism to represent whatever it is it is fretting over.

As you say, the dream is disquieting enough. To wake up and find that it was true would be awful. :(
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 12:33 pm (UTC)
I've had those dreams too- that I've done something completely unforgiveable and totally destroyed my future life.
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[User Picture]From: redatt
2010-03-07 12:22 pm (UTC)
Many people bring their guilty, self-hating existences to an end every day, or try to. And many others struggle on until a day dawns when they're glad they didn't or glad they failed.

I'm glad our laws don't seek to impose and end on these people. I just wish the rest of society wouldn't either, then maybe they'd find worth sooner.

Edited at 2010-03-07 12:22 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 01:34 pm (UTC)
According to the European Court of human rights, Venables and Thompson should never have been put on trial in the first place.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2010-03-07 01:30 pm (UTC)
I believe suicide should be allowed, and even assisted suicide, but the person dying must be unequivocally willing.

In this case, those boys should never have been incarcerated in the first place, but placed in a safe environment and given heavy and extensive therapy.

But the world is screwed up. *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-07 01:37 pm (UTC)
I'm instinctively in favour of asssisted suicide- but I can see it raises all sorts of moral and legal problems.

Britain is almost unique among western nations in putting children as young as Thompson and Venables on trial.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2010-03-07 02:59 pm (UTC)
*nod* It's definitely a minefield, but I think one that needs negotiating.

*nod* Aside from my insane country. *sigh*
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