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  Murder of James Bulger
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Murder of James Bulger
« on: March 14, 2009, 09:14:01 am »
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For those who don't know the case here is a breif overview:

On February 12th 1993 a two year old toddler, James Bulger, was murdered.  He had been taken on a 2 mile walk by his abducter, one witness stated they had seen him get kicked in the ribs to prod him along.  Other witnesses said that the toddler had bruises on his face while others stated they had seen him laughing; he was seemilngly being hurt and then distracted.  Eventually Bulger was led to a railway station where blue modelling paint was thrown on his face, he was kicked, stones and bricks were thrown at his head, he was hit around the head with a 22 lb iron bar (which caused skull fractures which is believed to have cuased his death), batteries were then placed in the little boys mouth, there was even more extreme violence used on the little boy.


Before his body was left, his abducter placed James' body across the railway tracks and weighted his head down with rubble, in hopes that a train would hit him and make his death appear an accident.  Two days later, on 14 February, Bulger's severed body was discovered; a forensic pathologist testified that he had died before he was indeed run over by a train.

The police eventually arrested two suspects and questioned them.  And on February 22[su]nd[/sup] 1993 the two suspects were charged with James Bulgers murder.  They were ten year old Jon Venables and ten year old Robert Thompson.

They were sentenced in 1993 and released in 2001.

Thoughts and opinions on whether they have truly been punished (should they have been put to death?  Should they have recieved a longer sentence?).  Please consider your reply.
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 07:50:55 am »
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Darn, this one is a real hard question, and I don't think I should try to give a yes or no answer at all (because it can only go wrong). However, there are yet some thoughts on my mind which you might find interesting enough (and to which you possibly want to reply to):

First of all, I think that punishment for its own sake (so, it doesn't have any other "effect") is not very "helpful" other than in giving the victim's relatives a sense of "justice" (which can, eventually, never be achieved but I agree that without any form of punishment, they would probably feel that justice has failed). Still, I think that punishment, in whatsoever form, should serve some sort of purpose.

Following from that, I would think that determining whether the two "kids" had any understanding of the consequences of their deeds (and to what degree so) makes a huge difference. Honestly, I can hardly believe that they had a full understanding of it, unless both of them suffer(ed) from a pathologically relevant form of psychiatric condition publicly referred to as being sociopaths. If that hadn't I think any form of punishment should include making them understand (by education and empathy training in psychiatric treatment) what they actually did to the boy and, also very important, to his family. I guess that having done something so bad, making someone understand that is a real strong form of punishment (as it lasts for the rest of their lives; if they, after being released from custody, still don't understand that, the punishment indeed "only" lasted 8 years). If, on the other hand, they are considered pathological cases, they should never be "released" to the public, as there will always be the danger of committing another such crime (which they simply fail to understand given their condition).

So, to sum it up, in my opinion punishment should be guided by the motive to prevent further crimes, and without having any knowledge of whether or not that has been achieved in this case (although putting them to jail without any additional education and treatment doesn't sound like it to me), I can't answer the question.

Unfortunately, in many societies this "educational" component of punishment is often not the top priority. To me it seems that people are more interested in "satisfying" the an-eye-for-an-eye sense of justice that our very primal instincts seem to dictate. In that sense, they should have been sentences to death (as they eventually killed the boy) or at least to life-long imprisonment. But I cannot help but thinking that, unless they are "hopeless cases" (because they show signs they will never understand the real impact of their deed), this is a non-ideal outcome...

/jochen
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 05:52:05 pm »
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Hell no were they punished!

They murdered a kid and they've only spent 8 years behind bars!! What on earth!?

They commited adult crime and they handled like adults would. They thought like adults do, they had plans and cover ups. Normal ten year old kids don't even know how to come up with that kind of shit. OMG it pissed me off that they can commit adult crimes with adult thoughts and can get away with only 8 years behind bars. If you commit an adult crime, you can be punished like an adult would be.

They shouldn't have been brought to death, because I'm more a fan of rotting in prison, but they should definitely be spending more time
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2009, 09:44:38 pm »
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I dont tink they should be on death penalty I do not agree with capital punishment, sorry if that offends anyone. As they were only kids I think cjhammond had a better view on what should have happened to them, but I think 8 years was not long enough behind bars plus their freebies they recieved.

I hope they now know to the full extent their crime, but I am not so sure!

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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 04:32:23 am »
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I'm uncertain.  Firstly, I'm not in favour of the death penalty, no matter what the crime was - there is always a chance for people to change.

Secondly, they were ten year olds.  Yes, what they did was horrible, no doubt about it - but maybe they just got carried away?  Hopefully now they are more mature and are shamed for life.

8 years in prison? I think they deserved longer.  Maybe not a life sentence, seeing as they were only children, but the crime they committed merited more than just 8 years.

What do you think yourself Victoria?
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 07:15:54 am »
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I am unsure.


Here is a documentary for any-one who is interested, it gives more detail on the crime and even sound clips of the boys' interrogation.

Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part One)
Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part Two)
Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part Three)
Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part Four)
Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part Five)
Unforgiven - The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger (Part Six)
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2009, 09:14:09 am »
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Well, I just watched the entire documentary, and here's my "second thoughts":

From the information presented, I really cannot say whether or not (either of) the two "boys" finally understood the dimension and magnitude of their crimes. But it seems clear the public is not satisfied with how they were treated.

While I understand from the "eye-for-an-eye" point of view that locking someone up for eight years (and not locking them up in a "bad condition" but rather in "perfect conditions" so) certainly can never be considered a punishment, I think that the British justice and rehabilitation system seems much more progressive than the public census.

The most disturbing part for me wasn't the actual "softness" by which the system replied to the crimes but those few who fueled the public opinion, trying to get them into a "lynch mood" toward the two adolescents.

I think that while we, as a human race and society, "lust" so much for revenge that, as could be seen in the documentary, we are willing to "bring about justice" by our own hands (like making Wanted posters or circulating pictures of wrong-doers in the hope that "someone" will take care of it), we are just adult versions of those two ten-year old boys. We know that taking a life is wrong, and I would hope that most people feel that whoever needs support by society (and that includes psychological support!) should get it. But still our "archaic thirst for revenge" will get in the way and allow us to do horrible things at times.

It is my belief that (at least to a considerable extent) the life situations in which the two 10-year olds were "stuck" at the time of their crime in part precipitated and mediated their "ability" to commit the murder. And while I still think that every person (even a child) is in general responsible for their acts (and if the "punishment" I initially described works, they will have to live with their guilt for the rest of their lives, nothing I would want to do at NO PRICE!) I also think that as long as our society has not learned to "constructively" deal with people who do "wrong", we will indeed not be able to eventually get rid of crimes (at least in cases where no pathological condition exists).

One of the most remarkable sentences (I cannot give it back verbatim though) for me was that the media coverage tried to "make it even more horrible than it was", so we can put it aside as "evil" as something "not human", but the thing is it is human... Like in Nazi Germany, where many, many people did things no one could ever "imagine" doing to others, but that is human reality. Our violence and destructive part of our nature is kept in check by only a very, very thin layer of culture, our longing for "warmth", maybe some humility and a few other more noble characteristics we have. But take these away (like with a victim of a serious crime), and the only thing keeping us from murdering each other is the knowledge we will be punished.

So, punishment (or the prospect of it), for me is only the VERY LAST thing to build on when it comes to a civil society. In my opinion it is much more desirable and effective to teach people respect and those noble reasons not to resort to violence if they cannot get what they want...

/jochen
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2009, 11:02:55 pm »
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After watching the documentary I am left with an unanswered question....

Why did no-one blame the parents? Maybe the mothers should have contacted the police on prior attempts of kidnapping a toddler, I mean come on, the murder of James then would never have happened! Maybe Robert and Jon would have been best put into care!
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2009, 06:15:42 am »
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Quote from: miss sixty on March 17, 2009, 11:02:55 pm   

After watching the documentary I am left with an unanswered question....

Why did no-one blame the parents? Maybe the mothers should have contacted the police on prior attempts of kidnapping a toddler, I mean come on, the murder of James then would never have happened! Maybe Robert and Jon would have been best put into care!

Do you mean Jon and Roberts mothers?  If so, they didn't know that their children were planning to kidnap a child.
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2009, 08:51:27 pm »
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one of the boys attempted to kidnap a boy prior to James and the mother stopped him but did not contact the police for fear he would be took away from her! She did not know about the plans to kidnap James. It said so in the documentary cant remember which part..
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2009, 07:37:50 am »
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Elizabeth, I have just watched the whole documentary again (as I hadn't seen it in six days and forgotten sections.  In part three there is an interview with a neighbor of Robert Thompsons who talks of her own son romaing the street with Robert and she didn't call the police about her son because Social Services would get invloved with her family, not Robert's.  And the only mention of kidnapping a child is when they were overheard in a store talking about "taking one of the two" and the mother of two children thought they were attempting to steal some goods. It was later reported by one of the boys that they were planning to take one of the two children, lead them outside and push the child in front of the passing cars causing an accident on the busy road.

I just want to say, the reason I've started this topic and asked opinions is because: one) I don't know what I think and, two) the comments people are leaving on YouTube sicken me.

E.g.


Quote:
no....they should be introduced to me and ill fukin torture them

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they should have been shot through the f*ckin heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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these two should just be kneekcapped and then shot in the head.

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bullshit!!!!!!

they deserve to be burnt at the stake! dnt try and blame video games and violent movies!

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stop crying ya little shit! face up to what ya done.

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Yeah you should sob and feel scared you little shits!!!

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this two little minges just get BUTCHERD IN HELL by a madman and get electricuted by satan himself

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those two are monsters not child. they had the choice to do what they did, that poor baby never did anything to deserve that, although those two little wastes of skin sure as hell deserve a grown man beating. sitting here looking at my 2 year old i know that i sure as hell would take a baseball bat to those two little f*ckers. it doesnt matter that they were 10 or if they were 20 they know hurting and killing a baby is wrong. they deserve the same punishment

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Those two little bastards should have been thrown into a pit filled with rabid dogs. You seem to ignore the fact that they killed a defenseless child. EVERYONE has the right to be angry!

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they deserve nothing less then death and suffering

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What have they grown up to be. And hell yes, they deserve agonizing deaths.

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those boys need to fukin rott in hell!!!
poor little boy

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They should be hunted down to the ends of the earth, and tortured to death slowly and with great pain.
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2009, 09:52:11 am »
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Quote from: miss sixty on March 18, 2009, 08:51:27 pm   

one of the boys attempted to kidnap a boy prior to James and the mother stopped him but did not contact the police for fear he would be took away from her! She did not know about the plans to kidnap James. It said so in the documentary cant remember which part..
Well maybe she should've called the police, but what would you do if you were a mother and you found out that your boy, who's only 10 years old, wanted to kidnap a todler? I wouldn't contact the police either, even though I probably should. But they wouldn't take it seriously anyways.

Well Victoria, the messages on YouTube sicken you and they probably are a little too harsh, but I think it's a bad thing the boys have done and they should be heavily punished because of it. I haven't watched the documentary, lack of time, busy with school, but when things are a little better, I will watch it and give my unsalted, not sickening though, opinion on it
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2009, 11:03:32 am »
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Quote from: Young&Desperate 4Attention{DA} on March 19, 2009, 09:52:11 am   
Well Victoria, the messages on YouTube sicken you and they probably are a little too harsh, but I think it's a bad thing the boys have done and they should be heavily punished because of it. I haven't watched the documentary, lack of time, busy with school, but when things are a little better, I will watch it and give my unsalted, not sickening though, opinion on it
I'm not saying what they did was right, I in no way condone what they did.  And I agree they should be punished, but you have to remember at the time they killed james, they were children themselves.  Those people talking of just shooting them through the heart would be just as guilty as Jon and Robert of killing a child.
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2009, 12:29:51 pm »
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I agree, they'd be just as bad.

But murder is murder, no matter who commits it: an adult or a kid, there's no difference. Not if it's intentional. If it's an accident, of course it is different, but murder is never an accident. But those kids murdered, it was intentional and the murder they commited was adult like, you've got to agree with me on this here. It doesn't matter they were this young, they could think perfectly well of how to cover their tracks and they first tortured the kid and killed him in a way that's horrible. Adults would be prisoned for the rest of their lives and these boys, because they were kids, got just 8 years...

Again, still need to watch the documentary....
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Re:Murder of James Bulger
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2009, 02:35:35 pm »
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I agree that murder is murder, and once again I say that I don't condone what they did (who could?!) And they should have a longer sentence (the minimum an adult murder in the Uk I believe is 14 years).  It's just that people are so calus as to say 'shoot them in their hearts' sickens me.  I'm against the death penalty and they were just kids.  They should have been detained until they turned 18 years old and then have to spend longer in jail in my opinion.

I'm not trying to start an argument with you Pam, just so you know   It's hard o say what I mean with just text rather than words
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