Thanks, Trace, for the nightmares...
The One that Won’t Go Away: CriMemoir by Trace Conger
Maybe television, Hollywood and my own writing has desensitized me over the years, or maybe it’s my ability to leave all the emotions and disgust behind when I clock out at the end of my writing day. Regardless of why, most of the wickedness I encounter doesn’t leave a mark. Most, but not all.
One case left more than a mark. It left a scar. A real fucking big one that’s red and scaly, the kind you show off at parties when you’re talking about how much of a man you are. It’s right up there with my two severed fingertips.
That scar is the murder of James Bulger.
Authorities found his mutilated body two days later near a freight train track about two miles from the shopping mall. He had been severed in half by a passing train, but that wasn’t what killed him.
During the 17-day trial it was revealed that Thompson and Venables kicked and stomped James, threw bricks and stones at him, poured blue modeling paint in his eyes, beat him with a 22-pound rusty iron rod, and inserted batteries into his mouth and/or anus (this last fact is still disputed today).
The two boys were found guilty on November 24, 1993. At eleven years old they became the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century. Since the prison system is no place for children they ended up in separate “secure care centers” where they received education and rehabilitation.
Thompson and Venables were released eight years later in 2001. Eight years for the torture and murder of an innocent two-year-old boy. But here’s the real kick to the nuts; the UK government assigned them new identities and relocated them to parts unknown because vigilantes might seek to do them harm and their safety might be at risk. Think of it as “witness protection” for child killers.
With a few exceptions, I like to believe that people are good, but this case gets to me. It won’t go away. It sneaks up on me at night when I’m asleep, shakes me awake and slaps me across the face. It creeps into my head when I send my two young children off to school. It follows me like a shadow when I’m with my family in a large crowd. It never goes away.
Or it could be those new identities and the protection they provide or that Thompson and Venables have the freedom to do whatever they please while James Bulger rests silently in a coffin buried in a Liverpool cemetery.
One thing I know for certain is that the James Bulger murder is proof that pure evil exists. It truly exists, and it might live across the street from you and be capable of entering your safe little world anytime it wants and turning your life upside down in the blink of an eye.
Find him online at www.traceconger.com.