Thursday, October 21, 2010


He looks more like Al Bundy than Ted Bundy. He's a serial rapist and killer with an obsession for cataloguing his lingerie trophies. He's a terribly sick and evil person.

But he is not what disturbs me most.

This week, self-portrait photos of the man, clad in stolen women's underwear graced the front cover of our local newspaper and many other publications. These papers are delivered to schools, scanned by kids walking down the street and read by stable and unstable people alike.

Yesterday I listened to the radio discuss whether too much information about the case had been released. Caller after caller volunteered to pull the trigger on this low-life.

What is our society coming to?

I believe this case will be as much of a watershed in our country as the O.J. Simpson case was in the US. That case opened the door for the 24-hour news cycle and the need to obsessively document the behaviour of deviants and celebrities. This case marks a change to criminal justice proceedings here.

The argument has been made that this criminal may seek parole or even appeal his conviction, and that, therefore, the public needs to know and see the extent of his crimes so that he never walks the streets again. I strenuously protest this reasoning. There will not be a binding referendum about whether or not to release this person; the decision will be made by a judge and panel. God help us if public opinion plays such a major role in public policy and individual cases of law - and thank God it does not.

What the publication, in particular, of the photographs in this case serves best to do is to further victimize the victims and to victimize innocent viewers of the photos. I have a sneaking suspicion that the publication of the pictures and the lengthy victim impact statements that have been read directly to the accused are an attempt to publicly shame him, in a way that would previously have been considered unthinkable. Where is the publication ban that was instituted in the Scarborough rapist case? Where is the understanding that this crime is against society and that the judge will act on our behalf to sentence such a monster?

I am sickened by the public appetite for images and for retribution. How exactly are we different from such a monster, other than that our passions come out of a motive of revenge?

I believe in God and that God judges justly, that even secret acts of goodness and evil will be noted and judged someday with equity. This does not mean I want this person enjoying three-course meals, university courses and an accumulating pension on the public purse. However, I can't bring myself to want anyone to treat him as he has treated others. That is a perversion of the Golden Rule and a sad statement about the condition of our society if it is the way we are.

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