As a student of English I also study law, and there are many cases which I have to read up on and research, in my aim to better my knowledge and understanding.
One particular case however, we do not cover and in all honesty, though I’d heard about it and at the time it had interested me, I was not fully aware of the events that unfolded in the case of baby James Bulger.
So I did some research.
In the whole case, there was one thing that intrigued me most of all: the infamous witnesses that the press nicknamed “The Liverpool 38.”
Each one of the people who saw the three boys could’ve intervened at any time. but when a stranger tells you a lie, how are you supposed to know it?
Yes, they may have been obliged to do more to really understand that James needed help, but from the outside it may well have looked as each of the 38 believed the events taking place to be. that the boys were in fact James’ brothers, taking him home because he was upset.
We need to ask ourselves whether, if the situation was one we found ourselves in, would we really interfere, or would we feel that it was none of our business.
Perhaps some of the 38 should be chastised for their failure to intervene when a poor little boy was being led down the green mile, but not all would have given them a seconds glance. Not all would have had the decency to help an innocent boy, even though he was in grave danger.
In these situations, it makes me wonder if a change in the law would be appropriate. If in some statute somewhere, it should be made that the public must intervene responsibly and sensibly when they feel a certain activity of someone might be cause for concern.
This however, would raise issues all of its own.
Either way, this case made everyone in the U.K take a step back and realise that something must change.
Who knows, maybe the case of James Bulger may help save an equally innocent life one day.