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So what made them like this?

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    So what made them like this? - 24-Jul-2008
    What Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling did in Stanley Waipouri's Rangitikei Street flat on December 22, 2006, has been the subject of two trials, hours of evidence, expert forensic analysis and widespread public conjecture.

    Two juries have considered the evidence and, separately, have held Arnopp and Gilling responsible for their despicable actions. But what happened before that night? What path had those two men walked that led them to such an unthinkable destination?

    To consider the role a murderer's background played in his or her crime is to invite accusations of minimising their personal responsibility or risk being labelled a politically-correct apologist.

    But a dangerous perception exist in the minds of many that those who kill have been touched by a random hand of evil that fixed their fate. It is convenient to disregard them as the sub-human booby prize in the vast genetic lottery.

    But Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling are everywhere, walking our streets, living aimlessly and going nowhere. They don't exist to us until their picture appears on the front page of a newspaper. Now they will forever be seen as monsters, as irredeemable after the killing as they were helpless before it.

    The scariest aspect of that notion is that it precludes the possibility of preventing such people becoming violent criminals.

    Arnopp and Gilling's actions were inexcusable, but if we don't try to understand them, Mr Waipouri's death was for nothing more than media fodder.

    Both young men's lives were undeniably wretched from a young age, if not from birth. Neglect, abuse, drugs, alcohol, parental suicide, foster care, petty crime, abandonment, mental health issues - it's difficult to imagine a worse upbringing than that experienced by the pair.

    It's so easy in hindsight to see how they ended up in Mr Waipouri's flat that night, drunk, wasted on drugs, a cauldron of anger, frustration and pain bubbling within them. They didn't have to be there.

    There must have been a time before that when their lives were salvageable, when the course they were on could have been redirected. If it is so easy to identify how at risk these young men were after they have killed someone, there must have been portents long before they took a man's life.

    If we fail to act when we see those signs, there will not only be more pictures of people like Ashley Arnopp and Andre Gilling appearing in the newspaper, there will be more victims like Stanley Waipouri.
    Ref: - Manawatu Standard

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