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Justice? Child Murders 2 Year Old, Now Charged with Child Porn

Today we learned that Jon Venables, a U.K. felon, has been indicted on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.  Hardly earth shattering – there are so many pedophiles in the world that merely looking at sexual images of children won’t get you into the news.  Except Jon Venables happens to be the infamous British murderer who served time in juvenile detention for savagely murdering 2 year old James Bulger in 1993 with his friend Robert Thompson, when they were both 10 year old schoolboys.  This disturbing case is hard to contemplate, all the more so for the troubling issues of justice and reform that it raises not only for Brits, but for citizens of all countries with modern justice systems.

First we have to think about what kind of a monster lies in wait, luring a toddler out of a mall and beating him to death in a field for no other apparent reason than thrill-seeking.  Surely such a creature must be removed permanently from society, left either to rot in prison or be swiftly executed.  Even the most liberal of thinkers would agree that this crime warrants no less than a life sentence without parole.  But what to do when the perpetrator is only 10 years old himself?  The justice system of the United Kingdom would not permit a 10 year old to spend his life in prison, no matter how heinous the crime; and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled less than a month ago that sentencing a minor to life without parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.  Yet citizens on both sides of the pond struggle with the reality that Jon Venables – society’s worst nightmare, a child who kills – is and was exactly the kind of offender afforded the benefit of the doubt.

And now these charges of child pornography.  If ever there was a case against reform-not-revenge, this is it.  Pedophilia, it can be argued, is the crime that has no remedy, no cure.  It is a deviation unlike any other; it cannot be accommodated, tolerated or accepted in any functional society.  Offenders are recidivist, miserably captive to their desires, even unrepentant.  The only cure for such a scourge is to stamp it out permanently from society, yet for a nation like the United Kingdom or the U.S to execute their pedophiles would put us in league with extremist nations like Iran and Sudan.

These are the issues with which we struggle today.  We could, as is tempting, take the hard line and say that there is nothing more important than the safety of our youth, and certainly not the rights of an individual convicted of crimes against children.  Or we can preserve our traditions of jurisprudence, wrought from centuries of thought and scholarship dedicated to balancing the rights of the individual against the rights of society.  But then we will have to accept that there will, inevitably, be another Jon Venables.

By Kathryne Gadarian

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Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2010 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Justice? Child Murders 2 Year Old, Now Charged with Child Porn”

  1. Ron KlAA says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, I agree wth what you say which is what? hopeless!

    I sincerely hope and prey not

    Best regards

  2. Ron KlAA says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, I agree wth what you say which is what? hopeless!

    I sincerely hope and pray not

    Best regards

  3. Jason Kasperski says:

    Very tough questions. These cases make us question who the parents are, and what are their roles in this. How responsible can this kid really be?