Bad Seeds

Phillip Cole

in The Myth of Evil

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748622009
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671908 | DOI:
Bad Seeds

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Children who carry out dreadful acts are extremely disturbing for our conception of what it is to be a child, and many are described as ‘little monsters’. This chapter examines the case of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who murdered James Bulger in 1993. It explores how they were represented in the media as evil monsters, and argues that they should not have been prosecuted. It exams the evidence from psychological studies that children who kill share common features – a background of violence and abuse. To what extent can such children be held morally responsible for their actions? What becomes lost in the discourse of evil, is the possibility of reform and redemption.

Keywords: James Bulger; Children; Violence

Chapter.  10705 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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