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The revelation that Jon Venables, the killer with Robert Thompson of toddler James Bulger, has breached the terms of his parole has unleashed the usual howl of redneck hate, including the predictable demands for capital punishment for children. So we're hanging children now. But from what age? That is what the barbarians never make clear.
People have written on the internet that Jon Venables has evil eyes, and that he's the devil. He did devilish things, but in fact he's not The Devil. There is no such thing as EVIL. It is a primitive concept which identifies the cause of all crimes in a Supreme Malevolent force. A mythical external entity which inhabits the individual and can only be overcome by massive doses of the antidote, The Supreme Force for Good - or by the ritual purging of the individual concerned, often with fatal consequences. This cartoon morality neatly avoids any real causes of criminal behaviour, and therefore spares us any responsibilty for altering reality so as to eliminate them. It is a destructive, obsolete, poisonous, dead-end word, and the sooner we stop relying on it to explain our own failings as a society the better.
The adult trial of John Venables obviously didn't work, so we have to think again. But the main problem with telling children that 7 year olds are as culpable as adults and that they can all make adult judgements is that theybelieve it, and will then use that power to inflict Kids Justice as and when they feel it necessary.
So if two ten year old boys decide that a four year old is, as they've been told, 'evil', they might well decide to use their new-found adult judgement, and punish the child, saving the grown-ups the trouble. How they did this would depend entirely on their existing moral framework, but one now empowered and licensed to judge others of the same age and immaturity as 'evil'. And hearing adults baying for the blood of Jon Venables could well influence the severity of their sentencing policy.
If a child of 8 or 7 is held to be mature enough to be judged as an adult , then it must therefore be mature enough to judge as one. So where does this new-found faith in the judgement of children end?
And telling them that all children are capable of adult levels of evil will merely make them more judgemental, without being able to make adult judgements. And more children will be abused. We need to give children back their childhoods, not demonise them even further.
All the barbarians want to know where they can find Jon Venables, so that they can exercise their primitive fantasies and relish the stench of their decaying minds. Well:

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