Letter: Bulger: a crime against society

Share
Related Topics
THERE ARE very few things in modern society as disturbing as someone who believes himself to be humanitarian and yet has no understanding of humanity, such as was demonstrated in the grotesque article by Blake Morrison ("So how should you deal with two child murderers?") and the disgraceful letter by Sierra Hutton-Wilson (both 19 December). Neither gives more than a cursory mention of the crime, but both allude to the heinous act as "the Bulger Case", thus sanitising what two evil children did. The legal procedure which followed can then be shown to be "monstrous", as though the two murderers had been arrested for some trivial misdemeanour. The two writers are under the all too common misapprehension that "law and justice" is a separate entity from society.

Society creates law to apply society's own accepted level of justice, built up and evolved over centuries. The purpose is to provide an accepted framework for behaviour that benefits the majority.

This is exactly how it should be in the case of Venables and Thompson: to decide the benefits to society. Laws have changed but the principles are the same. If we apply this straightforward approach, without any notion of revenge as mooted by those who would cloud the issue, then our first requirement is to decide society's needs.

Society needs contributors. It is the empirical basis of how we function. Because of the dreadful acts of violence by Venables and Thompson we have been for ever deprived of the contribution of Jamie Bulger, an unknowable quantity. However, as to their own future contribution, we can and must make certain judgmental assumptions.

First and foremost, the potential for negative effects - given their crime and how it is so far removed from normal acceptable behaviour, with so little indication of its likelihood - must be seen to be massive. Furthermore, there would be a serious emotional effect on a significant section of the community, the Bulger family being the most obvious. Secondly, to counterbalance the equation is the possible benefits to society. It has to be said that the overall effect of their input, as a percentage of the population, could only be tiny, and it is this fact, in the light of the grotesque nature of their crime, that should count against them. The final consideration, that of benefit to the boys themselves, should never be taken into account, as in this case it could never be part of justice, given that there can never be any benefit to Jamie Bulger.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron visiting a primary school last year  

The only choice in schools is between the one you want and the ones you don’t

Jane Merrick
Zoë Ball says having her two children was the best thing ever to happen to her  

Start a family – you’ll never have to go out again

John Mullin
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn