Make or become different.


An act or process through which something becomes different.


I’ve just watched ITV’s documentary, James Bulger: A Mothers Story and found myself heartbroken to hear of the vile acts committed by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables 25 years ago.  What makes this story particularly harrowing is the fact that the perpetrators were just 10 at the time, only children themselves.

When I look at my daughter who is only a year older than the two boys when they murdered an innocent 2 year old, I can’t quite comprehend what would drive a child to do such a thing. This got me thinking about change and whether offenders particularly those involved in such horrific acts can be truly rehabilitated or whether evil is ingrained within.

The ‘nature vs nurture’ psychology debate springs to mind.  The ‘nature’ side arguing that genetics plays its part and behaviour is inherited whereas the ‘nurture’ side suggests that behaviour is acquired or learned.  It’s interesting to consider whether these two were predisposed to commit such a heinous act from genetics alone or whether their upbringing was the trigger of such.

After reading up on the subject I don’t think a conclusion in favour of either argument is clear cut and would be inclined to agree that a contribution of both nature and nurture influences human behaviour.  With this in mind though; can a person truly change?  Does rehabilitation work?

Both offenders were given anonymity at the cost of the tax payer and whilst Robert Thompson has kept a low profile since his release in 2001 and yet to re-offend; Jon Venables is back in prison after being caught with child abuse images for a second time.

Can a leopard change his spots? I think this case alone highlights how difficult a question this is to answer. You have here two criminals; one who appears to have been rehabilitated and one who hasn’t.

I personally believe in second chances.  I want to emphasise here that I do not condone any of the horrific violence that James Bulger endured during his last few hours and I can’t even begin to imagine what his mother and family went through in the aftermath.  Despite hoping for the good in humanity, being an optimist and believing that what makes us human is the ability to forgive; I am also a realist and whether its nature or nurture or a mixture of both; history has shown us that some individuals are revolting and obnoxious creatures. It may be controversial but in those instances I believe we should ‘lock em up and throw away the key’.



McLeod, S. A. (2015). Nature vs nurture in psychology. Retrieved from

8 thoughts on “Change…

  1. Melanie

    As with any story involving a young child these days, my thoughts turn to Chester. The thought of my boy, crying for me and me not being there to prevent something happening to him – as simple as trapping his fingers in a cupboard door breaks my heart. I don’t believe these vile things (struggle to call them human) deserve breath, let alone a second chance. Society today would put a dog down for attacking a child as they are “mindless creatures” well these two do not fall under that category, they are people and people who’s DNA should be to protect children, not torture them. In my opinion the death penalty would have been too kind.


    1. tintinskb

      Hi Mel, thanks for your comment. Its a very controversial debate. I was hoping to get some feedback on the topic and your point is very valid.


  2. I do believe in second chances. I believe in you’ve done the crime now do the time and I believe that once you’ve “served your debt to society” you should have a somewhat clean slate. I do believe there are people that are not possible to rehabilitate. Some people are just wired wrong. Think Ian Brady, Charles Bronson and in this case, Jon Venables.
    I don’t think it’s possible to rehabilitate a paedophile. We all have a type, the ones that catch your eye every time be they talk dark and handsome or a blue eyed blond. You may end up with someone out of the mold because their character wins you over but the ones that catch your eye will always be the same!
    For Paedophiles, their type is kids. Be it sexual immaturity, easy to oppress or whatever other reason – I don’t want to think too much about that – but how do you go from fancying a child to a grown woman. If violence is what excites you, how do you switch it off?
    For most crimes, rehabilitation is entirely possible but for sex or blood lust crimes… These peopleneed to be locked up.

    That’s just my opinion! I’m happy to debate it because I’m always open to new view points!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. tintins

      Your comments here summarise what I was trying to say. I also believe in second chances but some people just cannot be changed. I’ve learned too well that a leopard cannot change his spots but I don’t want to lose hope in all of humanity. For some rehabilitation just isn’t possible. Thanks for your thoughts on this one!!

      Liked by 1 person

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