Saturday 24 February 2018

Why is a generation hurtling through childhood as if it were a prison?

Children need protecting from their emotional immaturity, and shown that childhood is a sanctuary, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Killers can be born and also made. So can victims. Some are born in circumstances which make their fate seem, in retrospect, inevitable. They have victimhood written all over them. Others stumble down a series of wrong turnings. It ends the same way. Afterwards, the map which led their life to its tragic conclusion is easy to decipher.

Which is not to say that it couldn't have ended differently. Lots of young girls walked down the path beside the Royal Canal where Michaela Davis's body was found last weekend without suffering the same fate, just as many young girls heading into teenagehood have drifted into dangerous or unedifying lifestyles without having to pay such a high price. Most people who take a series of wrong turnings get away with it. They're lucky. Now and then the luck runs out.

Michaela Davis is the first victim of a child killing in Ireland for five years. It's a statistic which encourages us to be complacent. But there are still questions to ask. Ireland may be a safe country, but plenty of bad things still happen to children, and they happen for a reason.

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