On Harper's proposal to toughen sentences for teenagers, Dion said, "I trust judges and you don't. This is the difference. It's not that you're tougher on crime it's that you want to deprive judges to judge and you want politicians to decide things like for instance to send a child, 14-years-old, away for life.
I cannot speak for Stephen Harper but I can state vociferously for myself that I do not trust the criminal court justices to not only judge, but pass judgment and sentence which are proportional to gravity of the crime committed.
I cannot begin to fathom the mindset of a sitting court justice who passes sentence on a self-admitted rapist who participated in the gang sexual assault of a young victim and has the audacity to claim from the bench to be satisfied that the rape ‘was a one-time error in judgment, albeit of staggering proportions’ and sentences the 19 year old offender to a 21 month condition sentence of house arrest, community service and counseling. Unless upon ascending the bench our justices are now endowed with the ability to predicate the future, it all reminds me of the first time a wife beater beats his wife and later appears contrite when faced with the handiwork of his hands and promises never to do it again – until the next time.
A rape is never a one-time error in judgment but the absence of any morality as well as a profound disregard and contempt of another human being. My grandmother was raped at 6 years of age and it haunted her for 64 years of her 70 years. It did not stop her from having a life and finding joy or love, but in the long lonely hours of night her demons often came out to play and robbed her peace of mind. It wasn’t pretty, and I know this because I often sat beside her as a child, and then later as an adult, and witnessed first hand her inner torment. If there was one saving grace or one fact, she took great solace in for 64 years of anguish and torment, it was this – the man who raped her never lived beyond that night and his ability to inflict more damage or harm on her or on anyone else was ended at the hands of my great-grandfather who caught him in the act.
My great-grandfather didn’t bother calling the police and acted strictly in his own capacity to be judge, jury and executioner. The only torment he suffered from that night was that he had lived a life where his beautiful Shoshanna Rose was made prey, and therefore, rendered nothing more than fodder for urges of a sexual predator. From that night forth, he never lived under the name given to him at birth, and when he died, he was buried under an alias. So be it.
I am not abdicating Canadians take the law into our own hands, but at that time, for people like my family, justice was always denied, and when justice is denied; how long before there is a profound disconnect from justice metered out via the courts and the leap to individual action thereby circumventing our criminal court system entirely?
We are often told ‘be not an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth’, and yet, that ‘old’ testament value was a deliberate cry for proportional justice of punishment. We have a teenage girl, who was rendered unconscious, and sexually assaulted by four young men who taped the assault on a cell-phone in order to play it back to the cafeteria lunch time crowd at high school. How long will her own demons come out to play in the dark of the night to torment her and rob her peace of mind? How long will the events of the night come back to haunt her and directly dictate the quality of her relationships or the lack thereof?
Somehow 21 months house arrest, community service and counseling just doesn’t cut it for me. Call me harsh and accuse me of being unforgiving, but I fail to see how a 100hours making sandwiches or handing breakfast trays in a soup kitchen for the homeless will ensure he does not participate in a rape again. Until you can devise a psychological treatment program for sex offenders, which comes with a 100% effectiveness guarantee - I am simply not up to risking the life and mental health of my daughter or my sons or anyone else's children. The perpetrator’s youth plays very little quarter for me, and all it means is this - he has potentially a longer time to add immeasurable damage to innumerable number of human lives.
Even more importantly, now this precedent has been established, it can be invoked in other sentencing decisions, and if a lone rogue justice does rule more harshly in a similar case; there are now grounds for the convicted, to appeal and claim the sentence was demonstrably unfit and cite this case and sentence as evidence. But this is just one of literally thousands of cases where the sentence handed down as appropriate for conviction of a crime from a sitting criminal court justice weighs less on the justice of punishment than the alleged psychological needs of the offender.
Unlike Stephane Dion, I do not have a problem with sending a 14 year old to jail for the minimum of 25 years for rape or murder. Think of it this way – it gives the therapists 25 years of employment to ply their behaviour modification theories into practice while sparing the community harm for at least 25 years. Just as an aside note - the Toronto Star decided to post this report to their website with the comment section disabled. Gee, now why do you think that is?
x/p Dust my Broom