evil children

Lots of coverage in the UK about the Edlington brothers who were jailed for the torture of two young boys. The two were 10 and 12 when they committed the horrific, sadistic attacks on 2 boys, aged 9 and 11, who were just out riding their bikes on a saturday morning.

There has been a media blackout on the brothers’ names, Edlington is the town near Doncaster where it happened. Unlike Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, their names will not remain in the halls of infamy forever. Although their notoriety will. I couldn’t believe it when I read that they

beat, strangled and sexually degraded their victims, before putting a plastic sheet over them and setting it on fire. It was only tiredness that caused them to abandon their victims, they presumed, to die.

Fingers have been furiously pointing since the case came to light. Social Services admitted that the attacks could have been preventable and I’m sure there will be people fired for lack of action. The Times talked about the irresponsible society in Britain, I dread to read what the Mail or Mirror have to say about the issue — no doubt something indignant and sensational, I shan’t be tempted to go to their websites.

Rightly so IMO, is that the spotlight has been placed on the parents. “Toxic” family life has been used to the point of overuse. I believe the spotlight should remain on them. No matter how badly the government and local authorities failed, ultimately it’s the PARENTS who are responsible for the actions of children of that age. They did issue a statement saying how sorry and upset they were, but I just can’t help but feel they will try to shift the blame to someone, anyone, else. I’m glad to read that they may be prosecuted and hope that they too are punished. I find that my anger at the parents far, far exceed how I feel about the brothers. I’m sure, like everyone else in the UK, I want to just ask them, “How could you?”

Related to this news is a brilliant, in-depth article in the Independent about Britain’s child prisons, where the brothers will be detained (in separate facilities). A very lengthy article that I read with interest, about how life looks like for children who commit crimes but are too young to even be classified as ‘young offenders’. How because of their age, and over 90% have suffered some sort of abuse, it’s not a matter of all punishment all the time, but that they may be rehabilitated, educated, and given structure in their lives.

These children are taken away from disrupted backgrounds, with no boundaries, and dangerous adults, and are put somewhere where they are safe, fed and housed and told No by people who understand how to set limits. It’s tough love. It’s a great skill, creating an experience that approximates to a proper family life.

Sober reading, but there is some level of hope. Oh, and I can’t believe that an issue of this magnitude of importance has received zero coverage here. I know Haiti takes precedence, but I couldn’t even find the story when I navigate to the Europe section of the big broadsheets — NYT, LAT, Washington Post, Trib. Shame, shame.