Justice: Stop the madness!

The recent jury verdict saying that Guy Turcotte is “not criminally responsible” for killing his two children, 5 and 3, because he was temporarily insane (or some other bullshit form of terminology) infuriates me. It is troubling not only because 2 children are dead and no one is being held responsible, but also because this verdict is a significant statement on today’s societal views.

First of all, lost in people’s comments about the trial is the most important point: 2 innocent children are dead. And why? Because a grown man, a cardiologist, couldn’t find a mature, adult way to deal with his wife’s infidelity. Make no mistake, I do not condone or excuse the mother’s infidelity in the even the slightest way, nor do I ignore the impacts of infidelity on partners (especially having been cheated on twice), but this situation happens hundreds of times a day in North America alone, and the cheated-on spouse doesn’t kill their children. It’s an absurd response. To claim it as an excuse, an explanation for why one killed their children, that’s the height of offensive.

Only once we remember that this case is about 2 dead children can we talk about how ridiculous the verdict is. And then, we are obligated to talk about how ridiculous a justice system we have – one that makes such a ridiculous, though unanimous, verdict possible in the first place.

How is a normal man suddenly changed so much by a life event that he is deemed to legally not know what he is doing? Well, this is a product of society relying so much on excuses and avoiding personal responsibility that these garbage, creative excuses are now perceived as credible, somehow. 

Universities are churning out psychologists and psychiatrists at such a high rate to deal with the number of disorders and mental diseases that their predecessors, along with big pharma, have invented in order to justify their careers, please their shareholders and line their pocketbooks. (See my blog entry “When Science Lies” https://markunleashed.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/when-science-lies/)

If someone has a bad day and punches a hole in the wall, fine. Come to your senses and pay for the repairs. But killing a child? 2 children? And pleading “not criminally responsible”? A guilty verdict won’t bring them back, but it will punish the person who, in playing ‘god’, took 2 lives because his feelings were hurt. If, as the theory suggests, he killed his children to punish his ex-wife, then he deserves the harshest, most severe sentence our laws allow (and maybe more, but that’s a discussion for another day.) He certainly does not deserve our leniency, our compassion, or our understanding. I would even argue that since I believe he should never be allowed to step foot, freely, in public again, that he doesn’t even deserve to have the public invest in rehabilitation. But I digress.

This verdict, as disgusting as it is, is our fault. We created this judicial system. If this verdict does not prove that the current system is broken, nothing will. We need to fix it. Now.

If people won’t hold themselves to account, the state’s justice system needs to do it for them. It is time for the justice system to protect the law-abiding and severely punish those who break the law, specifically when the laws they are breaking hurt a fellow person.

More police on the road with radar guns to stop selfish drivers who drive at reckless speeds. Many more photo radar units, placed in a way that doesn’t allow these drivers to get to these speeds. More investigators working to catch thieves. More cameras in public areas. More severe sentences, served completely. Less discharges. Less “innocent-0n-a-technicality”-s. Less tolerance. Less early parole. Less excuses. Less bullshit. Most importantly, MORE RESPONSIBILITY. MORE HOLDING TO ACCOUNT.

On April 1st, 2003, I was refereeing a basketball game and, after making a call, I was attacked by a player who repeatedly punched and kicked me, broke my glasses and my chain. The trial took over 2 years because the player delayed and delayed. Then, after the guilty verdict (I am convinced only because the incident was caught on tape), he refused to pay the fines (which would have gone to the city, not to the victim – what???). The court lost track of the file and the statute of limitations ran out. So, despite being convicted of assault, and being a repeat offender, he never had to serve the sentence. All the while, the victim has to either miss work (and lose pay) to testify or let the incident go unpunished – hardly a fair choice – with no compensation from the attacker for their pain and suffering. Is this justice?

We must stand up and scream, loudly, that this system of not holding people to account is wrong. Our laws spend so much time protecting the rights of criminals and almost completely ignoring victims.

Police are refusing to file reports on most “common” incidents because they know that it will go nowhere in our current system. As a result, we are sending a clear message to criminals that they are free to continue in their ways. Don’t worry about the police. Don’t worry about the judge. Certainly don’t worry about that other person you stole from, attacked, or even killed. Oh, wait, murders tend to get some attention, thankfully. I guess the expression holds true: someone does have to die in order for the law to take notice. That’s not justice.

Finally, a word to Mr. Turcotte: Though you may have been found “not criminally responsible” in the eyes of a jury, make no mistake, you are a murderer. You are responsible. Don’t you ever forget what you did.

May we not forget Olivier Turcotte, 5 years old, who was stabbed 27 times, and Anne-Sophie Turcotte, 3 years old, who was stabbed 19 times. Also, Caylee Marie Anthony. 3 innocent children born to irresponsible parents and killers. They did nothing wrong but paid the ultimate price. 

May they be remembered as catalysts whose untimely, senseless deaths shaped Canadian and American public opinion in such a profound way that the respective justice systems of these two proud nations were forever changed – for the better.  

Positive change begins with us. I am speaking up. Will you?

Rest in peace.

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5 Comments

  1. There can be no reason for purposefully depriving another human being of their life other than as a payment for and deterrent against having taken someones life on purpose.

    There should be no exceptions for insanity because, by my definition, taking someones life on purpose constitutes insanity in the first place.

  2. The coward claims he was going to kill himself by drinking antifreeze but changed his mind because he didn’t want his children to find his dead body. That is what really, truly disgusts me: he was too cowardly to claim his own life so he killed his sweet children instead!!
    As my husband says everytime we hear of a murder-suicide (generally committed by a male, and usually in a family with a history of domestic violence), “why didn’t he just do us all a favour and take care of himself first?”

  3. I can’t agree with you on this one, Mark. Unlike your frequently avowed approach to life that “things are simple, we make them complicated” I believe in a world that mainly consists of shades of grey, and that dichotomous thinking is a cognitive error.

    I also take umbrage with your comment that “Universities are churning out psychologists and psychiatrists at such a high rate to deal with the number of disorders and mental diseases that their predecessors, along with big pharma, have invented in order to justify their careers, please their shareholders and line their pocketbooks.”

    My cohort at McGill consists of 7 PhD clinical psychologist doctoral students. Concordia’s program is slightly larger, but combined this barely keeps even with retiring psychologists in Montreal’s English community. The current wait list for the typical assessment in the MUHC system is roughly three to six months, depending on the problem. If it were you dealing with a parent who is showing the beginnings of cognitive impairment, or a child who was not able to keep up with his/her peers in school, or a spouse deeply suffering from depression, would you be thinking that there are too many psychologists and that the diseases they treat are “invented in order to justify their careers”?

    • Cory,

      I am not surprised you disagree; I was even ready for your comment. Your disagreement, as a clinical psych phD student is expected and actually supports my argument. No one likes to have their profession/interests/field of expertise questioned. To allow my opinion to go unchallenged is a risk to your field. Thank you for taking the time to voice your comments.

      Similarly, your belief that life occurs in shades of grey is also a support to my argument that people do things to further their own interests. If everyone believed, as I do, that`”life is simple, we make it complicated” (thank you, by the way, for quoting me accurately), then we wouldn’t need psychologists/psychiatrists (or maybe we would, but a fraction of what people use today – in a world where your view, that it is a “grey” world, rules the day).

      I take “umbrage” with your calling dichotomous thinking a “cognitive error”. Do you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that your view is correct? Do you know that mine isn’t? Given that both answers should be “no”, then these are simply opinions worth considering, not truths or “errors”. And even if the world is one of greys, my view is that seeing the world, however it is, in terms of black and white can only help. You will surely agree that our minds are extremely powerful things. My view is that each person must harness the power of their brain – instead of the other way around.

      As for the wait list comment, consider that if the list of things that psychologists were treating were limited to, say, what existed 50 years ago, there would be FAR fewer cases to see, and therefore a much shorter wait time, if there would be one at all. Oh wait, if the list of things being treated were as long as it was 50 years ago, there would be fewer psychologists too, given that the field was much simpler then. I stand by my assertion that ADD, ADHD, and MUCH on the so-called autism spectrum is pure, plain, bullshit. I expect your disagreement and I have considered what you have shared. I stand firmly, at least until other information is brought to my attention.

      Let’s face it, Psychologists, like most people, want to make a name for themselves. You don’t often gain recognition from doing the same old thing, from applying someone else’s theories and methods, from making common diagnoses; you get it from inventing something, whether it needs to be invented or not. I’m not saying that the work you are doing and the practice you will open, or that many in your class will practice, will be done solely for the sake of money without regard for the whole. I am simply saying that there are enough in your profession who are guilty as sin of this.

      Many of them become trial “experts”. What a great way to gain notoriety and, more so, to promote one’s psychological point of view for money, exposure, or other benefit. The method for accepting evidence at trial, like with most science, is whether the theory is commonly accepted. I’m proposing that we no longer accept that someone can be “temporarily insane”. Especially not when it is more likely a convenient excuse. Especially not for someone who has never exhibited indicative behaviour before. Especially not for someone who is a phD and who deals with death on a regular basis, with stress every day, and understands fully that stabbing someone 27 times will kill them. Especially not for someone who murders 2 children because his feelings got hurt.

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