Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Let’s Not Be Judgemental….

In the wake of the Doncaster child torture case, details of which are still emerging, the usual suspects are getting their sympathy on.

No, no, for the criminals, not the victims. That would be madness!

Leading the pack is Professor of Criminology David Wilson in the ‘Times’:
In my work I have yet to encounter a child who was “evil” — born bad. Rather, children behave badly because of what has been put into them and how they have been brought up. Violence is frequently the result of other violent acts.
Well, there you go. Prof Wilson has never seen it, ergo it doesn’t exist. That’s science, that is….

And before the police investigations are even properly started, much less concluded, he’s ready to tell us all that this is no big deal, we are mistaken if we think this is unique or even more common today:
So how should we respond to the boys who committed this crime? Clearly there will be some who will want to see this as another example of how today’s children are “out of control” and that things have got worse since they were growing up. Ignore them. Our children are not out of control and youth crime is neither new, nor rising uniformly in the country. I grew up in Glasgow in the 1960s and 1970s, for example, when the good citizens of that city were campaigning to bring back the birch as a way of responding to the youths who formed “razor gangs”.
And luckily, they didn’t succeed.

Hence we have the earthly paradise we have now, where children (and in some cases, adults) don’t live in fear of baby yobs with no consciences. If they’d succeeded in bringing back the birch, who knows what our society would…

Ooh, I think something’s wrong with your ‘reasoning’ there, Prof. After all, it seems the establishment has been listening to your sort for decades, and it’s not worked. Prescribing more of the same isn’t likely to either, is it?

But Prof Wilson is in full-on ‘appeasement’ mode and can’t be stopped:
The best way for us to react is to try to prevent crimes such as this happening in the first place, and here is the thing — we know what we should do to achieve that.

Keep young people in school, give them something to aim for, take seriously their fears and anxieties and work with them to overcome them. While I can’t promise that we will not see what happened in Edlington repeated, the chances of it becoming more common will all but disappear.
Mmm, yes, in the most child-centred period in history (for the middle classes, at least), these crimes are because we just aren’t deferring to them as much as we should.

It’s almost as if other factors are at play here, isn’t it? But we can’t expect a Professor of Criminology to understand that, I suppose…

7 comments:

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

Out of a sense of outrage we all share with you Julia, you want Professor Wilson's experience and reasoning to be flawed. I doubt that is the case.

JuliaM said...

He's just one man, with one opinion.

And we all know what opinions are like, don't we...?

But it's his conclusions that are more dangerous for our society.

Anonymous said...

I worry when I hear talk of the age for criminal responsibility to be RAISED! I think 10 is about right although there are plenty of very street-wise, knowing kids younger than that who certainly know right from wrong. There are very many people who work in social services, police etc (not all bad, useless and anti-democratic) who have encountered kids who tell them 'I'm under 10 and you can't touch me'. There are plenty of children and adults, whilst not perhaps EVIL are downright nasty. The trouble is that there is no longer any valid authority in many areas of a great many childrens lives, from home, through school and into the Criminal Justice System. To respect authority one has to fear it, or rather the consequences of disrespecting it.

Stan said...

"Keep young people in school, give them something to aim fo"

Of course! It all makes sense - not. Funny how kids didn't go around trying to murder each other before they had formal state education and when the best they could hope for was working 12 hours a day in some mill for tuppence a day. I wonder what it was that stopped them? Their belief that one day a social scientist would come along and rescue them or the fear that if they did wrong they'd get punished?

Chalcedon said...

It is the parents or parent that is ultimately responsible for inculcating no morality in these boys. I'm sure a sound thrashing and incarceration might act like aversion therapy for them, but the parent(s) deserves such a thrashing too.

JuliaM said...

"The trouble is that there is no longer any valid authority in many areas of a great many childrens lives, from home, through school and into the Criminal Justice System."

And we can expect to see more of this.

"I wonder what it was that stopped them?"

It's a puzzle, isn't it?

"It is the parents or parent that is ultimately responsible for inculcating no morality in these boys."

That would be the mother who washed her hands of them, claiming no responsibility, and wouldn't turn up in court for them when they were arraigned.

I think I know what we are going to see as this case progresses...

Chalcedon said...

The usual broken home, no male role model at home and certainly not at primary school, no work ethic in the home, and I expect a home bereft of books and the TV as the nanny cum child minder. I think it's amazing sometimes that these children can talk. This is what I expect plus previous form with the police when below the age of 10. As the Jesuits say, 'give me a boy until the age of 7 and I'll show you the man'. so it is here. They will grow up to be men who will torture and maim or kill other people.