Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Robert Latimer - a tragic tale

It is unimaginable that the national parole board, the same board that allows murderers, rapists and other ne'er-do-wells to roam our streets, has turned down Robert Latimer's appeal for parole. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this case, you can read the background here.

From all accounts, Latimer was a good and devoted husband and father who had to watch his 12 year old daughter, who had the mentality of a 3 month old baby, linger in excruciating pain year after year. She was subjected to numerous painful operations by the medical community. There was no hope of improvement, just years and years of pain and there was virtually no quality of life even though critics insisted that her occasional reflexive smiles proved that she was a happy girl. In 1993 Latimer sent his wife and other children off to church, put his daughter into his truck with a hose from the exhaust and watched her go to blessed sleep.

Although I certainly do not favour mercy killings, there have been cases in Canada and other countries where they have occurred without penalty. A Canadian member of parliament was involved in such a case with a woman with Lou Gehrig's Disease and I don't recall him being charged with anything. Of course, he also stole a valuable ring and managed to get away with that too. I guess it depends on who you are and a Saskatchewan farmer doesn't make the cut.

The parole board apparently thinks that this thoughtful, caring man is a dangerous risk to society and that he will go around killing anyone who is disabled. How absurd. The man could not watch his daughter suffer any longer and and be forced to go through more painful operations at the hands of Canadian doctors.

The real problem is that he will not bend to their will; he has not been reprogrammed to think as they would like him to. He still feels that he did the right thing for his child and refuses to play their game and pretend that he is a "sorry boy" who now has the correct mindset.

I understand the fears of the disabled community that they might be fair game if mercy killings were allowed but Latimer has been punished beyond all reason. Real murderers, people who kill out of malice, are released after serving less time than this caring compassionate father. Women who have opted to kill abusive husbands instead of leaving leaving them have been punished much less than this.

Shame on the parole board. Shame on everyone who agrees with extending his punishment even further.

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Police stupidity