I'm not sure if I'm putting this in the right place. Maybe it should be a blog entry.
We've had two horrific cases in Ontario this year. The first is the trial of Michael Rafferty and Terri-Lynne McClintic, who were convicted of luring eight-year-old Tori Stafford into her car, taking her to a remote area and sexually assaulting her before they killed her. They knew her already and even joined the effort to help look for her. The testimony that came out at the trial was truly chilling.
Actually, just as a warning, all of these links have graphic info.
Tori Stafford trial: Nothing can top horror of Terri-Lynne McClintic, Michael Rafferty jail visit after girl's death: Christie Blatchford | Full Comment | National Post
Toronto News: Tori Stafford trial: Tears of joy and relief greet verdict as Michael Rafferty found guilty on all counts - thestar.com
Then this week, there was Luka Rocco Magnotta, a name that's probably already familiar to some of you because it's been all over the news. This guy is 29 and at one point dated Karla Homolka, who is also a notorious killer but now living in the Caribbean teaching preschool and running a cloth diaper business.
He's posted videos online of himself killing animals. In one case, he put two kittens in a plastic bag and vacuumed the air out, something that sparked animal rights activists to spend more than a year hunting for him. They eventually gave his name to police, who did nothing.
This month, he allegedly killed a guy he knew in his Montreal apartment, dismembered him, committed acts of necrophilia and cannibalism on the body and posted a video online. He put the torso in a suitcase behind his apartment and mailed a hand and a foot to political parties in Ottawa. They have no idea where he is now.
Luka Rocco Magnotta manhunt underway as police search for missing body parts | News | National Post
Dead kittens and porn: Luka Rocco Magnotta
I work in a newsroom, where we adapt the same black humour a lot of emergency service workers have because of the stuff we see and deal with every day. But both of these things weigh heavily on me.
I struggle sometimes to write to my pp's after I read this stuff. What is the difference between, say, Luka Magnotta and my close friend who's doing time for the murder of his partner? What's the difference between Michael Rafferty and a pp I have who has the assault of a girl in her early teens on his record, who maybe not so coincidentally, I haven't been able to write to since I read about that trial? I would love to talk it out with him, but what is he going to say, other than how different it is with him and how that absolves him from the same kind of heavy moral culpability? Isn't that what Michael Rafferty would say too? I like to think it's apples and oranges, but is it really? And what makes it so?
I know this stuff is incredibly nuanced - stuff we don't know even after 20 more years of research - but the bottom line is there's a line in the sand representing the ability to kill someone, and I'm on one side and my pp and Luka Magnotta are on the other.
I try really hard to have a broad view of things when it comes to crime and criminals. I think if everyone did, our criminal justice system wouldn't be so busted. But I look at Luka Magnotta and can't reason out how he's anything other than sick, diabolical and without any moral merit whatsoever. I don't think that of my pp, but at times like this, it's hard for me to work out the different degrees of horrific. It can't help but make me think.
These are all rhetorical questions, I guess. But I sat down to answer a couple of letters and I can't push them out of my mind, so I thought I'd talk about it a little.