Friday, December 07, 2007

There are some things that come across on the news that are really and truly anger-provoking. The latest that Molly has seen is the decision of the National Parole Board who, in their wisdom (sic), have decided to deny day parole to Robert Latimer after he had served 7 years of his 2nd degree murder conviction for killing his severely disabled daughter Tracy Latimer. Mr. Latimer will not have the opportunity to apply for parole again for another two years. Tracy suffered from cerebral palsy due to a difficult birth. This was perhaps the least of her problems. She also suffered from severe scoliosis, epilepsy, quadriplegia and chronic vomiting. her medical condition was such that most of the doctors involved in her case felt that they could not advance treatment for her chronic excruciating pain beyond liquid Tylenol. She also had severe difficulty in swallowing.
Now Molly has lots of "ins" on this one. First of all, she is a veterinarian, and she knows the old medical adage about what to do when confronted by an obviously intractable medical problem. The saying goes..."refer the bastard". It's a variation of the everyday-life method of making something become somebody else's problem. Tracy was "referred" repeatedly in her short life to surgeons who were fully confident in their techniques, and repeated cutting and chopping did nothing nut make her pain worse. There's a second "in" here as Molly has a grand-nephew who also suffers from cerebral palsy because of a difficult birth. The difference is that he is not in screaming unremitting pain 24/7. He is institutionalized, but his life is tolerable, and the family has given him and his mother, my niece, the maximum possible support. Latimer's case was very different. Every medical intervention seemed to make Tracy worse and worse. For readers of this blog from outside of Canada (and some in this country) I refer them to the Robert Latimer. Net site for Latimer's own story and also to the Wikipedia article on the case for the full story from a disinterested viewpoint. My last "in" on this situation I will leave for later in this blog, but it should be apparent from what I have said above that I am not "unfamiliar" with the matters involved in this case.
The denial of Latimer's parole has sparked incredible outrage from a vast segment of the Canadian population. In the original trial the jury was ignorant of the legal fact of "jury supremacy" ie that a jury can rule for acquittal despite the obvious guilt of the accused. This "residue of real justice" is part of our common-law heritage, and remains part of it so that common sense can overrule legal formalities. Mr. Latimer never denied his guilt. After the act he drove to the local RCMP and turned himself in. The jury in the original case was also kept ignorant of the consequences of their decision to convict him of second degree murder. When, despite their recommendation for a very minimal prison sentence(one year), they were informed of the full consequences of their decision many broke down crying. The original judge's sentence of one year prison and one year "house arrest" on the Latimer farm was overturned on appeal by a vindictive prosecution. It is interesting to note that Robert Latimer is the only person to ever serve any jail time for a "mercy killing" in Canada. In other cases the prosecution has exercised its discretion by laying much more minor charges such as "administering a noxious substance" or manslaughter. In yet other cases the juries involved have been fully aware of their rights, and have opted for their right to acquit despite the evidence.
The case of Robert Latimer is what might be called in epidemiology an "index case". There was little doubt that a vast majority of the Canadian population at the time of the trial believed that he should serve a very minimal prison sentence (if any at all). About the only ones who disagreed were the professional disabled lobby (representing about 0.0001% of the population) who evoked the "slippery slope' argument 9corrupted, of course, by their own financial interests) and those who disagreed on religious terms (about 10% of the population, as most people pick and chose the decrees of their sect). The reaction to the denial of his parole has been even more vehement.
The "index case" of this reaction can perhaps be best expressed by the frequently expressed comment that "Karla Homulka got parole and has even had a baby" while Latimer rots in jail. The matter is often elaborated by the fact that really and truly evil murderers receive sentences that are far less than that that Latimer received. They are often out in two years. The public perception in this case is quite correct. Latimer is not only a "minimal risk to re-offend". He is a zero risk to re-offend. The public cannot see why, when there are numerous cases of people who went on to murder while on bail, on day-parole, on early release, on serving a tiny bit of their sentence,etc., that a harmless man should not be released. If the purpose is "denunciation" people see that there are other criminal acts in our society that are far more deserving of such "denunciation" than what Latimer did. Almost every murder in the news involves someone who has received far more mercy than Latimer has received.
Here is where Molly has got to intervene with her final "in". Never mind that she has medical knowledge that allows her to judge just how serious the situation that the Latimers were in. Never mind that she has personal knowledge from both her family and from meeting other people in similar situations who were not in the extreme situation of the Latimers, something that those who cry for Latimer's head rarely have, approaching it as they do from religious abstractions. I can only hope that a curse that such people who put abstractions over people comes true, and they suffer at last 1/10th as much as the Latimers suffered. The final clincher is that Molly has direct experience of having a family member murdered. Almost two decades ago her favourite nephew was killed in a manner sufficient that we had to have the classical "closed-coffin funeral". The whole thing became quite the media sensation as it dovetailed into politically correct angst about "gay-bashing", even though the evil thug's own "sexuality" was more than slightly questionable. It is rather off-putting to see your kin's name mentioned on page 2 of the Globe and Mail in reference to the hunt for the killer. Yeah, it became a NATIONAL CASE. To make a long story short the killer was apprehended, tried, convicted and imprisoned. Of course for a far shorter time than Mr. Latimer is destined to serve. The last that Molly heard of this reptile was an interview with him on the CBC where he was crying the blues about the lack of medical care for Hep-C and Aids infected people in prison. After he got his early release, of course. All that I can wish for him the most slow, unpleasant and painful death possible. May his disease eat him up and rot him from the inside, and if I should be so privileged I would wish to be present at his death-bed to mock him. It would be a great existential privilege.
OK, you get the idea about why I often get quite aggressive with juvenile "anarchists" (sic) who want to glorify criminality, often to the point of not just foolishly trying to recruit thugs-a goddamn bad idea- to the ideology but even to elevating such people as 'examples" of the class struggle. All that I can say to this is that, if you want to propose an "alternative" to the present society, that you shouldn't make it so obvious that your alternative is worse than what presently exists. But there is a matter in the present Latimer case that goes far beyond the tiny anarchist movement and how some within it are bloodily determined to preserve their illusions of superiority by being as illusionarily radical as possible.
This other matter revolves around the so-called "justification" that the Parole Board gave for their decision. Mr. Latimer expressed "no remorse" for his actions. That is not exactly true. He was an ordinary Saskatchewan farmer, unaccustomed to either lying nor covering up his motivations by psycho-babble. He was questioned about his "feelings" at the time when he killed his daughter, and, like a normal person who does not make their living by manipulation, he responded by speaking the truth about Tracy's condition. In the worldview of the mind-worms, however, truth is irrelevant, and they responded by saying that he "lacked insight and understanding regarding what he did". They sentenced him to more prison time and , what may be worse, "counselling". In other times and places what they sentenced him to was "further political re-education". The grossest part of their lie was when a spokesman for the board went on the CBC radio and tried to deny that Latimer's "lack of remorse" had anything to do with the decision of the Board by invoking a piece of bureaucratic newspeak by invoking the quote above. Gross obvious fucking lies. Those who wish to replace the previous roles of the priests in our society DEMAND that ritual acts of contrition be laid before their altars, no matter how contradictory to common sense such rituals are.
Molly has spoken about this before on this blog. Mr Latimer has has, according to this holy incantation "issues". Bullshit and double bullshit. The board may not even disagree with Latimer's act, as the great majority of Canadians do not. What offended them was his refusal to speak the language of their class and its pretensions to religious power. This is why Karla Homulka got parole. She actually "studied" the arcane pseudo-science of "psychology" in prison and was evil enough and shameless enough to parrot back the bullshit to her parole board. Most of us in the real world recognize what a liar she is, but the whole idea of "lies" is beyond the intellectual (sic) horizon of good social workers- especially when they lie constantly. What Mr. Latimer is is a "political prisoner" with far more justification for such a term than almost any of the criminals that my dear deluded comrades want to raise to such a status in the USA. His act of killing his daughter who could not be relieved of her insufferable pain in any other way is far more worthy than those who rob banks and then say they did it for "political reasons". His defiance of the high priests of the Parole Board is also a much more direct attack on at least one of the organizations that oppress ordinary people than the lying justifications of those who commit crimes for their own benefit. It is a clear "class matter", and, if it cannot be seen as such, it is merely evidence of how far the "left" has strayed from its traditional populist basis.


Werner said...

I had some New Class asshole come over to my posting on this issue. And, as usual with these people, he/she tried to argue "both ends against the middle". First he agrees then disagrees. Anyway I think you know the type.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Whether it is the lowest turd handing out parking tickets or a Supreme Turd Court Justice our country's officials take as kindly to people not seeing things their way as the Burmese military takes to the slightest bit of rebellion in their country.

Then again Robert Latimer surely understood and continues to understand there is a price to pay when you say, "Damn the consequences, I'm doing what is right."

Anonymous said...

I say Release Latimer - He has done his penance. Second, he is no danger to society - whatsoever and the Parole Board Knows it.