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Should a killer go free?

15 Mar

Guy Turcotte murdered his children. His defense is that he was deeply distraught over the collapse of his marriage–so much so that he was not responsible for his actions.

People get deeply distraught all the time–so distraught that they don’t want to go on. Some of these people hurt themselves. Some commit crimes of passion, and unleash their fury on the ex who wronged them. How many people, when faced with crippling depression, take it out on the only ones who are totally innocent–their children?

That is exactly what Guy Turcotte did. And “experts” are saying that he’s no longer depressed, and should be allowed to walk. That he should be allowed to re-marry and have more children (!), go back to practicing medicine. This story sends off so many red flags I’m not sure where to start when counting them.

Turcotte is using his divorce–a situation thousands of people face every day–as the reason why he snapped, and murdered his helpless, trusting babies. This is extremely alarming. Any number of things could cause a person extreme distress–he will likely be distraught again, over and over, in the future, because distress is part of life. What’s to say that he isn’t going to hurt someone again? Is it worth the risk to society, to his neighbours, to the people on whom he’d be practicing medicine?

Then there’s the way that he carried out the murders. Obviously, killing children is horrific no matter how it is done, but he did it in a way that was brutal and ensured that they would suffer. He stabbed his own 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, until they were dead. That is not just distress. That is rage–and it is dangerous.

Now he’s ready to move on. He wants to be released from jail, have a new relationship, new children, and go back to work. Most parents completely collapse at the death of a child. They cannot imagine going on, and many simply don’t. The crushing guilt that would compound that grief, in the event of a parent actually causing the excruciating death of their own child,  should be debilitating. It should not be a situation in which someone says “Okay, great! My trial’s done, I’ve been acquitted, my two helpless offspring are in the ground, I’m ready to carpe diem!”

He has caused pain and devastation to countless people with his horrific actions–the lives of the children’s mother, their relatives, friends and community members will never be the same. Why should he be allowed to move on, when his children can’t? And how can he want to? Even thinking of something happening to my children makes me want to curl up into a ball and hide. I can’t imagine facing that reality, knowing it was my fault, and getting over it. Ever.

Guy Turcotte’s wife–perhaps the person who knew him best–is pleading with the board to see him for the monster who he is. Shouldn’t they listen?

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Let Them Be Kids

13 Mar

My kid enjoying the park.

Look at that smile! You can almost feel the whooshing of the chilly air and hear his happy breathlessness–it’s the closest a child can get to the thrill of flying.

That’s not all the playground has to offer. There are slides, monkey bars, teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds. Equipment designed to get little legs moving and little hearts pumping. Kids need at least an hour of good exercise a day, for their health and happiness. Not to mention the fact that it’s FUN–kids learn best while they play!

So why is it that so many Oshawa schools, the very places where our children should be doing the most learning, are lacking playground equipment? This kiddie equivalent of a gym is so vital to the well-being of our children, yet so many go without it on a daily basis.

Let’s face it. Kids spend around 6 hours a day at school. When they get home it’s a flurry of preparations for dinner/bath/bed. Of course parents should make sure their children are getting out and getting active, but with most families headed by two parents working outside the home, and many children being involved in Before and After School programming (making their school day even longer), it’s just not possible for some families to get out and run around for an hour in the evening. Some exhausted moms and dads have to do their best just to keep from collapsing by the end of the day!

School should be a place that bridges the gap. Kids in after school programs should have access to a playground while they wait for their parents. Recess should involve jumping and sliding and climbing–not just standing around. Parents should be able to take their kids to the neighbourhood school on the weekends, to meet with friends and play on the climbers. In Oshawa, especially South Oshawa, that just isn’t a reality.

Village Union Public School in Oshawa recently won the opportunity to build a play structure. They will fundraise half of the cost, and Let Them Be Kids will match it. This is a fantastic chance for the students, but it begs the question–why the heck are kids having to pay for their own playground? And what about the kids who weren’t lucky enough to be chosen for this award?

Play is not a privilege–it’s a right. What is the Durham District School Board going to do about it?

-Durham Mom