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When is too much not enough?

October 21, 2010

If you haven’t heard about it or seen it on TV, there is a huge multiple-murder case in Canada right now, and it’s stirring up a lot of emotion.

Canadian Air Force Colonel Russell Williams has plead guilty to the rape and murder of 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd and 38-year-old Corporal Marie-France Comeau. He has also admitted to burglarizing countless homes occupied by women and teenage girls and stealing their underwear.

The 47-year-old Williams has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years. Done and done, right? This guy is locked up and the key is tossed, right? Get this guy off the front page, right?

It would appear not. And the front page is where the problems reside.

This has been a HUGE media sensation. There have been extremely graphic descriptions of the rapes and murders, as the rapist-murderer videotaped both acts. Williams’ self-portraits of himself posing in the dead women’s underwear has appeared on the front page of newspapers.

Not surprisingly, there has been an outcry that this is all too much information for the public.

While I agree, this information is not for general public consumption. I can’t disagree with the media’s decision to broadcast the details and the photos. And here’s why… he could, possibly, be paroled in 25 years. It’s a one-in-a-million chance, but I don’t like those odds.

The media, I believe wisely, is making sure there’s a rich history that can be easily researched 25 years from now so that anyone and everyone will be reminded of the horrific actions of Williams. In 25 years, public outcry has to be as high as it is now. Books will be written – research papers published – documentaries produced – mainstream films distributed and all of that will add to the newspapers and television broadcasts that will keep Williams in the joint until he dies.

There’s another reason to keep the media spotlight hot and awful. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. From 1987 to 1992 Bernardo, known as both the Scarborough Rapist and the Schoolgirl Killer, terrified the area surrounding Scarborough, Ontario. He was eventually caught, after 15 rapes (probably more) and 3 murders. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, although he was later declared a “dangerous offender” making his release unlikely.

Homolka, his wife, and for some of the rapes and murders his accomplice, plea bargained down to 12 years and was released after 10. She claimed to be an unwilling accomplice and the victim of spousal abuse, both claims that have created some controversy. Many felt her claims rang hollow and she should have been imprisoned for the same duration as her husband. There were also complaints that her prisons were too “pampered.” She was released in 2005 and according to recent reports now lives in the West Indies under the name Leanne Teale with a one-year-old son

I suspect the media, as well as the Canadian prosecutors, have the Homolka controversy in mind as they come down hard on this newest Northern psychopath. They want to keep the spotlight on Williams and his horrific deeds. While it’s tough to take now, the other option is worse, a miraculously freed 72-year-old rapist-murderer-deviant.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Etta Di Leo permalink
    October 21, 2010 6:45 PM

    I see your point, but… we did not have the graphic details of Clifford Olsen’s murders that took place in 1981 and no one ever forgot and he will never ever get out. Thankfully, we don’t have so many of his ilk and so they are not easily forgotten. Olson, Bernardo, Pickton will die in jail.

    The details have bordered on the lurid. I regret having read the articles and had to stop reading them. At the time of the Bernardo trial, there was a publication ban on the details. And after the trial what emerged were the horrific facts without a play by play of the torture they endured. That’s what has been published is a play by play of the tapes.

    As a final note, let’s not call him Colonel anymore. He will be stripped of his rank and his medals. He disgraced our country and the men and women who serve.

    Great research Mike. Keep up the interesting and relevant posts!

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