I’ve tried – and failed – to write a number of blogs this week about the murder of James Bulger which occurred an unbelievable 25 years ago. I’ve tried because I wanted to express my feelings about it and I’ve failed because I couldn’t. There have been two TV documentaries this week and comments all over social media. The family, in particular James’s mum Denise Fergus, will clearly never get over it. I’m not sure the nation will either.
I’ve been reading about some of the things I didn’t know about. The woman who stopped the would be murderers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson as they took toddler James to his death and was convinced by Venables that they were taking him to the police. Another woman who saw them with James, thinking not much of it, and later finding out what then happened. Both witnesses traumatised and still living with guilt today, even though neither of them should feel any guilt at all. Ten year old boys don’t abduct two year old toddlers and then kill them, do they?
The nation will never get over the murder because it cannot really be explained. It is impossible to strip out the emotion and look at the murder in the cold light of day. Social networks are especially pointless at times like this. All you have is Facebook post after Facebook post saying that justice was not done, that the murderers should have their new identities revealed and that they should be hung, drawn and quartered. Even if you do believe justice was done, that giving them new identities protected them for being attacked and, probably, torn limb from limb by the baying mob and that they have done their time, how can you possibly say so? You look at James’s mum and she remains grief-stricken, she always will be. I don’t think I am sitting on the fence when I say that I have no idea whether justice was done or what else could have been done to end, or even just alleviate the pain the family must be feeling.
Have you heard the tapes of the police interview with Venables and Thompson? I was chilled to the bone, not just at what they said but by how young they sounded. We can be as angry as we like but it explains nothing. We can argue that the law be changed and they be put to death as they put young James to his death. Nothing will bring him back or provide any more understanding at just how something like this had happened.
And the fact that none of it makes any sense at all means that the suffering will go on forever and when every anniversary of the murder comes along we will remember but we still won’t understand it.