Sunday, November 27, 2005


So had a good weekend? Yes thanks. How about you?

Having read that Pat Morita died over the weekend - he was the Oscar nominated Karate trainer guy in 'The Karate Kid' movies - a friend of mine raised an interesting question. Shall we say it was interesting to me (as a non-medically trained person). Pat Morita died of 'natural causes'. An odd term, as hereditary terminal illnesses, for example, are surely natural? Yet we'd say 'Y died of cancer' (if indeed that is what Y had died of). Whatever a 'natural cause' is in this over-populated world of killers then that is what I should like to 'take' me. But only at the end of my 'natural life'.

Today's entry is called forwards. The reasons for this is rather feeble really. Catharine Ryan Hyde is an American author who has produced over 8 novels and 45 published short stories. One of her novels was turned in to a feature film in the year 2000 'Pay It Forward'. An ironic and sweet natured tale about the inconsistency and beauty of life. The world is a difficult place to change. Of course those who believe we live in a 'condemned' world derive a immense sense of utopia from a story such as this. What if every single person who had a favour bestowed upon them was asked or expected to bestow a favour onto another? There is also the further question. To bestow a favour means passing some form of judgement on 'someone' or 'something' in order to decide how their favour should appear. How healthy that 'judgement' is remains a question that 'Pay It Forward' never really answers.

Last week I received an e-mail 'forward' from a casual acquaintance. Not someone who has ever bestowed me a favour and not someone I have bestowed a favour upon. I am also doubtful that my 'acquaintance' would have known the parents of the murdered child Jamie Bulger. They like myself had received the e-mail as a 'forward'.

James was led, in 1993 - aged 3, to a railway track where he was tortured and brutalised to such a horrendous extent that his mother was supposedly not allowed to identify the body by sight. The 'forward' lets us know that the two killers (who were both aged 10 years at the time) left the toddlers' body on the tracks to attempt to destroy any evidence of pointless murder. Yet somehow at 10 years old I doubt the boys were so dumb to think that people would believe that a 3 year old child walked so far on his own? Every issue raised, every question asked in this case highlights another issue or question, and, the possible answers to that can fall on either side of the debate. The 'forward' asked me (and countless others) to sign our name and forward it to everyone we know. If I were thinking selfishly I could feel quite sad and lonely seeing as I have received it just once (in the entire duration) since the killers were granted new lives and new identities. You have not received it at all? I win!

There are several problems with this type of forward. Lets say I was one of 50 people who was sent the 'forward' by the last 'forwarder'. If we all sign it and forward it ourselves there will be 50 copies of the forward all with different people as the same numbered signer. It says please send the list of names to the judge who freed the killers when it reaches 500 names. Okay but all the judge will end up with is endless lists of names that in some way all contain many of the same 'signatures'. Pointless?

This is surely not the most disconcerting concern with this type of 'forward' though. Emotion is a dangerous thing. Stories depicting undeniably terrible things in poor grammatical terms but exceptional emotional ones are dangerous beasts. How can I make a fair judgement on whether to add my name to the list? I was not at the trial. I do not know any of the families concerned. I have not carried out medical assessments of the former killers mental well-being, nor seen those that have been carried out.

My 'gut' feeling is that these two boys, who are now men, may be two of the least-threatening members of society today. They have led frightening lives. Repented? Been taught? Now perhaps they can use their wealth of knowledge to 'teach' others. A lot of people have been hurt beyond imagination in this case. The hurting should not be spread like the aimlessness of those two boys that ignited it.

I feel it might be best not to add ourselves to any list, but let us live as best we can, addressing issues that we understand and fully comprehend. That way all the issues will still get dealt with. Dealt with by those who we hope know best.

Incidentally from this 'forward' I found out that my best friend from school, Azabeth X now lives in Scotland. Maybe my 'forwarder' did me a favour after all.


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