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Sympathy for @l@n P3n3ll

So we have a new monster to fear, ladies and gentlemen. The schoolboy killer has been named, shamed and banged up for the rest of his natural-born. The public can breath easy once more.

Leaving aside the dodgy ethics of jailing a sixteen year old for life we are left with what is, simply put, a plain upsetting news story. A boy, a child, is dead, stabbed by the aforementioned in an argument over a girl. His life is gone, and ain't coming back, and this of course is a terrible terrible thing. His family and friend's lives are forever blighted and it is beholden to us to grieve for him, and for them all.

Alan's life, too, is forfeit however. The story struck a chord with me. The wounds of school are still pretty fresh to be honest, and I remember vividly the desperation and anguish of not feeling as if you fitted in. Regrettably I am not of  a strong enough character to revel in loner status, and I remember my mother's exasperation at my attempts to alter myself, to become a more acceptable me, attempts which never worked, the failure of which drove me to the blackest of rages. Luckily for me, I grew up, and I don't care any more. But reading through it I can easily recall one or two moments when it all became too much, and I may easily have snapped and done something which I'd have regretted forever. I didn't, and now I am a fine upstanding member of the general public, hooray for me. This doesn't change the fact that with its social strata, its unwritten rules and shifting boundaries school is Hell, and given enough chances, it's not that hard to turn into a demon.

So I cannot, and will not, countenance the very public lynching of an unhappy boy. Luke Walmsley is dead, there is nothing to be gained from pretending otherwise. His life was stopped by a seven inch lock-knife. It is a tragedy which I wish with all my heart had never occurred. His killer has gone to prison, justice has been served, now leave it.

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