Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where Is the Justice?

    In October 2004, a 49 year old Hamilton labourer, I'll call him "M", walked out of his apartment at about 10:00 p.m. to go buy some liquor from a bootlegger. That was the last time he walked anywhere. Just shortly after arriving at the bootleggers residence, M was attacked from behind by an 18 year old woman who had already drank 2 bottles of wine. The blow to M's back was hard enough to shatter several vertabra in his spine. He was then thrown over the railing of the front porch and fell 3 feet to the ground. If that weren't enough, the assailant proceeded to kick M in the chest a couple of times saying "If he thinks he's hurt now, he'll really feel these". The motive for the attack was to rob M so the woman and a friend with her could by more wine from the bootlegger. M was left a quadriplegic.

    For the next 5 years, M went from the Hamilton General Hospital where he had his surgery to Chedoke's Holbrook Center where he received therapy and counseling for 2 years and finally to the long term facility at Hamilton's St. Josephs Hospital. Due to the severity of his injuries, M battled an array of medical problems daily. He had to be fed through a tube which ran to his stomach. He had a tube running from his bladder to a bag which required constant monitoring so it wouldn't plug up or overfill. He constantly had trouble breathing and needed oxygen masks to help him. There were bouts of depression when all he wanted to do was die. M would finally get his wish.

     On October 10th 2009, M succumbed to pneumonia brought on by his bodys inability to fight infections caused by the vicious assault 5 years earlier. This happened just 2 weeks after his mother passed away as the result of a massive stroke. The woman responsible for the attack was finally arrested and charged in May 2009 and was sentenced on October 22nd 2010. Her sentence...... 2 years probation, 6 months of that was house arrest with the right to leave for certain functions, Dr. visits and so on. Followed by 6 months of curfew (5 p.m. to 6 a.m.), no alcohol or prohibited drugs for 2 years (the judges words), and a lifetime ban on owning any weapons.

    This woman was responsible for paralyzing a man with 4 daughters and several grandchildren. His one daughter was pregnant at the time of his death. His grandchildren will never really know him because of the actions of a thoughtless uncaring drunk whose only motive was to get more alcohol. He's dead and she gets nothing more than a slap on the wrist. When the judge asked her if she had anything to say to the family, she nonchalantly replied "I'm sorry but I just don't remember".

    She may not remember but M's family and friends will never forget.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Should Canada Reinstate Capital Punishment

    Just 2 minutes after midnight on December 11th 1962 at the Don Jail in Toronto, Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin took their place in Canada's history books. They were the last 2 persons to be executed in Canada. In 1967 a moratorium was placed on the death penalty but it wasn't until 1976 that Canada would officially strike capital punishment from the books. That was almost 35 years ago.

     In the last 15 to 20 years, this country has seen an increase in violent deaths. Murders committed by the likes of Robert Pickton, Paul Bernardo, and Clifford Olsen. This past month everyone learned of the depravity committed by Col. Russell Williams. Two murders, multiple break and enters and so on. What do we, as law abiding tax payers do? We give them free room and board, meals, and clothes. It costs Canadians millions to house someone who has been found guilty of murder.

    One of the main reasons capital punishment was removed from the books was "because of fears about wrongful convictions, concerns about the state taking the lives of individuals, and uncertainty about the death penalty's role as a deterrent for crime". With todays extensive methods of crime scene investigations and the tools at the hands of the criminologists, it is virtually impossible to convict the wrong person. DNA sampling alone accounts for almost a 95% conviction rate. In the case of Russell Williams, his confession and all the photographic evidence that surfaced waould be enough to have him hanged almost immediately.

     If capital punishment were to be reinstated, it should be set up in this manner -> 1)Trial - If found guilty, you get two (2) appeals. 2)Date of execution set - This is set only after the two appeals are over with 3)Execution. Granted there are exceptions to the rule. Williams for one. He pled guilty and there was more than ample proof to convict without his confession. In a case like that, he should get thirty (30) days to make his peace, make sure his affairs are in order and say good-bye to any family. The only other change would be that instead of the body being buried in an unmarked grave, turn it over to the family, unless there is no other option.

     I don't know about anyone else but I'm getting tired of my tax dollars being used to keep someone like Bernardo, Pickton or Olson or their kind alive. I'm sure the French's and Mahaffeys aren't too keen to the idea either. If you had a loved one murdered by some low life, would you want to pay for them to stay alive? Their housing, clothes and meals paid by you after they had killed your son or daughter or grandchild. I think it's time the Canadian Government actually did something and bring back the death penalty. Enough of this namby-pamby kid glove treatment of sick depraved monsters.

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