I've just been listening to the news. The primary story concerned two young boys in Northern
Disgusting and distressing stuff.
Further back in time I remember the murder of a toddler named Jamie Bulger in Liverpool by two other young boys. Both stories have similar themes of negligent and careless parenting that led the attackers onto such evil paths.
In both of these highly disturbing cases there has been the ritual hunt for “those responsible”. Those responsible, the inferred guilty parties, usually amount to the police, teachers, doctors and social workers. There may always be lessons to learn, and there may even be the occasional worker not fit for the job. But the truth is, the pilloried agencies are usually hang-tied and overwhelmed with “clients”. Most often they are doing the best they can.
Whenever you hear the phase “procedures not followed” or “inadequate procedures” it is usually code for a severe arse covering by those at a higher level. The poor bod on the front line ends up having to try and implement the resulting meaningless diktats with their massive amounts of associated form filling. All implemented mainly to protect the upper echelons of management and government from accepting any responsibility.
But I digress.
In my book, those bearing the heaviest responsibility in these awful cases are the parents of the delinquents.
Say you owned a dog that you mistreated and allowed to run wild. If that dog attacked someone, you, quite rightly, would be up in court.
People are more important than dogs.
If you drag up your children , let them smoke your cannabis and watch adult films, as these kids were, then you are responsible if they go wrong.
I believe that every time a child appears in court, their parents (plural, including absentees) should appear as well and should have to, at the very least, give an account of why they think they are not at least partly responsible for their child's problems.
In the cases I cited above I firmly believe that the parents of these feral children should go to prison. I appreciate there are times when some offspring just go wrong. But that is what we have courts for, to apportion blame where it is due.
Being a parent is a heavy responsibility that should not be taken on lightly, whimsically or (as I suspect in these cases) by accident. A parent is responsible for their children and their behaviour. Parents should be both be praised for their children's achievements and also held to account for their misdemeanour's.
There are difficult circumstances where, parents may not be available (or whatever). But simply finding excuses for not doing something because there are a few bases you cannot cover is not a recipe for either protecting our children or promoting justice.
We should not be continually looking for scape goats. The people responsible for these terrible crimes are the children AND their parents. Only when we address the whole of the problem will we ever reduce these types of crime.