Tuesday, April 17, 2007

the Virginia Shootings and a conversation with Jenny

my good friend Jenny in Austrailia recently forwarded me this message:

Do you remember February 1993 when a young boy of 3 was taken from a
Liverpool shopping centre by two 10-year-old boys?
Jamie Bulger walked away from his mother for only a second, Jon Venables
took his hand and led him out of the mall with his friend Robert Thompson.
They took Jamie on a walk for over 2 and a half miles, along the way
stopping every now and again to torture the poor little boy who was crying
constantly for his mummy.

Finally they stopped at a railway track where they brutally kicked him,
threw stones at him, rubbed paint in his eyes, pushed batteries up his anus
and cut his fingers off with scissors. Other mutilations were inflicted but
not reported in the press.
(What these two boys did was so horrendous that Jamie's mother was forbidden
to identify his body.)

They then left his beaten small body on railway tracks so a train could run
him over to hide the mess they had created. These two boys, even being boys,
understood what they did was wrong, hence trying to make it look like an

This week Lady Justice Butler-Sloss has awarded the two boys anonymity for
the rest of their lives when they leave custody with
New identities.They will also leave custody early only serving just over
half of their sentence. They are being relocated to Australia to live out
the rest of their lives.
They disgustingly and violently took Jamie's life away and in return they
each get a new life!

If you feel as strongly as we do, that this is a grave miscarriage of
justice, copy this entire email and paste into a new email then add your
name at the end, and send it to everyone you can!

I couldn't sign it. I didn't quite know why, but since Jenny is my
good friend, I decided to just write as if she were next to me:

"Its my understanding that both boys came from violent families and
were abused (http://www.karisable.com/mbulg.htm) and I don't think
10-year-olds really know the severity of their actions (even if they
know it's wrong.) I sure didn't clearly understand right from wrong
when i was that age. I did some pretty crazy things. Nothing so
disgusting and violent as these two boys, but things that I now see as
morally wrong. Anyway, I strongly believe in rehabilitation and second
chances. And if you think they get a new life free from their crime,
well, i don't think that's very realistic. they will take what they
did to the grave. Those boys are suffering more than we can imagine.
Id like to know what Jamie's mother thinks."

She wrote back:

Hi David - thanks for your comments - I respect your point of view as
always, but I have to add something here.
I understand what you say about 10-yr-olds and their understanding of right
and wrong and consequences and severity of their actions, - I've had
children of my own and have taught children for years, and have been a
nurse, - but you can't generalise here and a lot depends on upbringing,
amongst so many other factors.
I was abused, physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally, on a regular
basis from age 5 through 15, by a sadistic and brutal stepfather, and
watched helpless as he repeatedly beat my mother senseless.
My mother was a hopeless alcoholic who was powerless to protect me and my
I've been homeless and lived on the streets in poverty for a period of
months as a teenager.
Consequently, I have grown up - NOT a sadistic killer, but a kind, caring,
sensitive 'normal' human being. I have never physically attacked anyone or
intentionally caused harm or distress. I've raised 3 sons who are themselves
kind caring human beings.
All this means is that I believe there are no excuses for this behaviour -
everyone has a choice - even 10-year-olds.
We're all here to learn - and if these boys are here to learn - whatever -
then they've got to face the consequences of their actions - whatever that
may be. I believe in rehabilitation too, definitely, but I don't believe in
protecting the 'feelings' of the perpetators of violent crimes at the
expense of the victims and their families.
Sure the boys must be suffering - but you ask what Jamie's mother thinks - I
can tell you as a mother she'll be already suffering unspeakably. I'm not
sure I could live with that myself.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts, and as I said, I respect your view. I'm
just coming from my position as a mother.

then I wrote back: I totally agree with you now that the children's
upbringing is not
necessarily relevant (and i bet many killers had loving families) but
those ten-year-olds are gone. the 18 year old boys now standing with
the same name i dont think are the same people. Im not the same as i
was when i was ten. I bet they are getting released because the
professionals agree that these boys are not the same ones that did the
crime, and so need to be released. (or else, do you think they are
getting an early release to save money or something? i dont know).
And who knows...maybe we shouldn't deny the world whatever
contributions these two souls can make. I just dont know if im in a
position to choose.
why do you want them to stay in prison?

Jenny to me
mmmm..... good point - I'm not sure if I want them to remain in prison ...
not sure WHAT I want for them to tell the truth (except to grow and become
whole) - And I can't help thinking about that little boy's last moments. - I
guess I just hope that the authorities know what they're doing... heaven
knows mistakes have been made before. But if something good can come of it
all then so be it.
.... I guess time will tell.
Thanks for helping me see it from a different perspective ... I guess we all
have something to learn from things like this, ne?

And then I sent this back.

my eyes watered when you said you just wanted them whole. ah... you
opened me up to a deeper form of compassion.

and thank you for bringing these issues to my attention. I of course
felt this incredible anger towards those two boys, and there is no way
they can just get off so easily! i was wishing harm upon them for
their stupid, sick behavior. who did they think they were? Savage
monkeys? Demon toys? and your email fit right in with my immediate
reaction to the shooter responsible for the 33 dead in Virginia.
Well, I'm breaking over the shootings right now. all of this sickens
me this sickens me. It's as if the world can't keep quite for very
long. Not saying that there isn't constantly killing and suffering,
but right when I begin to forget about it, an event like this happens.
and im also reminded of those two children who tortured and murdered
that little boy, and i cant stop thinking about how deep and sick our
problems are here on this planet.

What causes such things? Some would say its simply Satan. Easy
answer. But If Satan is of God, then its also God's doing. Well, that
might work for some. Its evil. The killer was evil. This seems
unlikely. Unless evil is another word for confusion or sickness. It
seems to me that the shooter was not very happy or sane or whole, and
they must have been suffering deeply to manifest such violence and
inhumane unlove. Violence is always caused by suffering. or so it

I immediately think of the university shooter's family. How they must
all be suffering. God it's too much. And of course the friends and
family of the other 32 killed. all those crying mothers and brothers.
To hear that their beloved son or daughter or friend was killed today
at school by a madman. Each one of those people, including the
shooter, was cared for and loved by somebody, their mothers at least,
and then lost. It's easy to feel intense hatred and anger toward the
shooter. I sure did. But was this man sane? Surly sanity doesn't
manifest as such a cruel and unusual action. Although it happens
everyday in this world, and more and more frequently (and younger and
younger), these acts of violence and cruelty are shocking news for us.
We can't believe it! It's outrageous! This moral outrage is clearly
a sign that we collectively know this isn't normal behavior. Is
abnormal, rare, and shocking, and should not be! We collectively seem
to share a lot of moral values (some of which we didn't necessarily
have five thousand years ago when we were sacrificing children to the
gods and torturing slaves and whathaveyou. Our morals have evolved,
and these killers are dragging their feet and causing horrible rug
burn for the rest of the world.

As a Buddhist i like to believe that Satan-as-Confusion did cause
this. And when we wake up and discover the sanity and spacious care
deep within (Clarity), we also find that we never want to harm anyone
but only help others awaken to how beautiful and whole they already
and always are.

Guns, and our fuct up society that could produce such a sick bird...I
think of the idea that terrorists like this man in virginia and those
two ten-year-old boys are like the canneries that fell sick due to
the poisons surrounding them in the caves. That metaphor actually
stretches far, to Plato's caves and whatnot, but above that it simply
helps me grapple with the fact that no one develops alone. "It takes
a village". And if it's a chemical imbalance, then the blame can't be
on the sick person.(I dont buy that previous bad karma and now their
living it out stuff. I just dont think the Jews were solely
responsible for the Holocaust. or people who get cancer brought it
upon themselves from some bad or unskillful action done in the past?
thats silly. It takes a village, and an ecosystem, and a world
history, and an oil spill.

If the cause was simply the sick and twisted mind of the natural born
killer, then that is beyond our control. nature creates deformed
babies. its natural deformity, asymmetry, caos. which actually, when held in contrast
with symmetry and wholeness, creates a kind of symmetry: duality. this type of symetry is nessisary for our universe: light adn dark, hot and cold, order and caos. And this symetry in nature is very functionable. There seems to be a mingling of order and disorder found in every aspect of nature, so we can justify crazy actions that way.

If the torturer somehow thinks he will get lasting pleasure from
harming others, then it was confusion that clouded his judgment, and
that is due to years of conditioning and conforming to the
pre-rational, psychotic molds of samsaric karmic mind. Or maybe, in
the case of the two ten-year-olds, it was that Child's Play movie they
watched the week before. I guess it appeared they mimicked one of the
murder scenes in that movie.

Or maybe it was the rape of the mother, or the unloving parents, and
unloving world, and unloving god, and unloving self! there is no end
to the blame. The world produced the terrorist, and so the world
feels the terrorist's wrath.
And the poor terrorist never gets any peace and quite.

What purpose in the evolution of our species can these acts of evil
possibly have? Maybe they help us awaken to the utter preciousness of
life and death a bit deeper than before. The families of the dead
3-year-old boy, as well as the dead students in Virginia, might now
feel more compassion towards others who have lost children due to
violence. and this facilitates higher stages of development in
cognition (the ability to take on other perspectives) and compassion
(the ability to care). And victims families may value their own lives
more then ever before now. Maybe this helps evolution progress into
higher and more complex modes of being. that makes some sense. it
helps spread compassion and ultimately more happiness.

But still i think of the killer's family. It's harder to find a
support group for people in their situation. They, like the parents of
the two ten-year-old boys, will undoubtedly get hate mail and violence
for many days and nights, from their community who should be
supporting them. They will probably suffer in ways we cannot imagine.
They will be blamed for something they could not have prevented, and
will also blame themselves for things they thought they could. This
has become a very long train of thought. i think ill put it on my
blog. do you mind if i post our conversation? I might just mention
bits of it?
In love,

Jen to me:

Absolutely - please feel free to use the conversation - it's given me much
food for thought and it's all steps, hopefully, to a greater understanding
of the world. Your blog is such a great conduit for that. I love the magic
of communication - exchange of ideas & inspiration - sometimes just a few
words can enrich a life, and sometimes maybe even save a life.
I'm shocked, too, at the senseless loss of life in Virginia, and at a loss
to understand what events in his life might have combined to bring the
gunman to this point. I wonder what devastating core beliefs could have
dragged someone to such depths of despair & loathing.
Such a waste of life - all those dreams and aspirations ... It's so so sad.

I love your honesty & insight David.


No comments:

May all beings be Free and in Love.

Blog Archive