Somehow, Someday, Somewhere

… a reporter or editor will realize that they aren’t explaining anything with this:

In Piedmont, Quebec a rich and reputable cardiac physician appears to have murdered his children on Sunday.  He was pretty well off – he had shared a $275,000 home with his wife.  So we know he didn’t kill his children because he was “frustrated” by unemployment or underemployment.  We also know his new house in Piedmont is “just minutes from the Saint-Saveur ski hill”.  Hmm.  I don’t think that was the problem.  What else do we know?

Well, he’d just broken up with his wife, also a successful doctor, and she’d gone off on a ski trip leaving him with his five-year old son and three-year old daughter.  Dr. Turcotte was “apparently distraught”.  So he killed his children?  Hmm.  What else do we know?

Some people are concerned that doctors are “too reluctant to seek help for psychological distress”.  Now if Dr. Turcotte had only sought psychological help.  I’m sure he’d have told a counsellor that he was contemplating killing his children and then he could have been helped and then … Hmm.  What else do we know?

Dr. Turcotte and his children were supposed to meet family members for breakfast with his children but he never showed up.  Relatives immediately called police via 911 (emergency!) who broke into the doctor’s home and found him unconscious and his children dead.  His relatives were instantly freaked out when the doc didn’t show before breakfast because they knew he was suicidal?  Oh for fricking Christ-on-a-cracker sakes!  They were so worried about his suicidality that they panicked when he didn’t show up and they left a five-year old and a three-year old in his care?  Don’t they read the newspapers?  Don’t they have any imaginations?  Haven’t they heard this pathetic story before?  Hasn’t somebody?  The doctor’s family must feel just terrible and finding fault will likely do no good.  Still, if we don’t realize that this was a critical missed cue, we will continue to see this kind of result.  We will continue to see this kind of result.

Before this dreadful occurence, Dr. Turcotte was “a much-appreciated cardiologist” who  “was extremely dedicated and had a very good reputation”.  Because only under-appreciated men with bad reputations kill their children so what a surprise?

You know, people like Dr. Turcotte,  “like other figures in position[s] of authority, can develop a sense of omnipotence. ‘They almost feel they have divine power, as if you are not allowed to question them. They do anything to hold onto that power…’

Throngs and throngs of men in positions of power kill their children.  So that explains it.  No?  Not yet?

Try this.  Psychologist Pierre Faubert says:

Some fathers in breakups target children to seek revenge on the mother… ‘The children become an extension of the mother. The father attacks her through them. The children become missiles aimed at the mother, who will be stricken by pain, guilt and shame.’

Now that sounds closer to an explanation that makes some sense, even though it’s virtually a throw-away line at the end of the article.  It’s not the father’s power at work and in society that precedes these terrible events, it’s the father’s power within his family.  Try this:

‘The profile of a family annihilator is a middle-aged man, a good provider who would appear to neighbours to be a dedicated husband and a devoted father,’  [Professor Jack] Levin said. ‘He quite often tends to be quite isolated. He is often profoundly dedicated to his family, but has few friends of his own or a support system out with [sic] the family. He will have suffered some prolonged frustration and feelings of inadequacy, but then suffers some catastrophic loss. It is usually financial or the loss of a relationship. He doesn’t hate his children, but he often hates his wife and blames her for his miserable life. He feels an overwhelming sense of his own powerlessness. He wants to execute revenge and the motive is almost always to “get even”.’  [emphasis mine]

Research from the States shows that family annihilators rarely have a prior criminal record. However, many experts believe there is often a prior pattern of domestic abuse. A report published two years ago in Britain by Women’s Aid, called Twenty-nine child homicides, found that, out of 13 families studied, domestic violence was a feature in 11. In one of the other two cases, the mother spoke of her ex-partner’s obsessively controlling behaviour.  [emphasis mine]

Control, you see.  Power.  Wife-hating [or woman-hating] abusive and obsessively controlling behaviour – it doesn’t need to be physical abuse.  When a woman leaves, she asserts a power that some men feel they have to take back by any means possible.  He feels emasculated, de-manned, he’s a loser, as M. Gary Neuman pointed out in his book about why men cheat.  Men have to feel like heroes, they have to feel like winners and if not, look out for the destruction they will cause.  And yes, it is men and not women who are by far more likely to perpetrate these crimes – 95% of the time.

Why must men feel in control of their women and children?  Why must they hold power over them?  The answer is simple and complex.  The answer is patriarchy.  Read about it on the web.  Google “feminism fathers who kill children” and you’ll find a kit-load of shit from the men’s rights and father’s rights “side” of this issue and you may wish you hadn’t.  Here’s a taste from Angry Harry.  His website came up first in my search.

Research from the States shows that family annihilators rarely have a prior criminal record. However, many experts believe there is often a prior pattern of domestic abuse.

Hardly surprising, eh? After all, these killings usually occur when relationships are breaking down. And so they do not come out of the blue. As such, one might well expect the amount of interpersonal abuse to escalate during such insecure times.

In fact, only a fool or a feminist would suggest otherwise.

I certainly cannot really imagine how I would feel if it looked as if my wife was going to leave me; taking away the home and the children – especially if these were my ‘everything’.

But I reckon that ‘murderous’ would very likely be a good description of how I would feel.

Notice, however, how Ms Lorna Martin tries to fob off the very idea that men have any justification for becoming enraged over the prospect of losing their homes and their children.

I suppose she reckons that they should just shrug it off! …

‘To the outside world, these crimes seem to come out of nowhere,’ continued Levin. ‘The perpetrators have not previously been involved in criminal behaviour. Nor do they tend to be on drugs or drinking heavily when they commit the crime. However, if psychologists had seen them in advance, they would have spotted the warning signs. They would have noticed how the person reacted to things not going his way – the irrational rage and the blaming of others. These people often also regard their partner and children as their own possessions.’

These men are ‘irrational’!

These men treat their partners and children and, presumably, their homes as their ‘possessions’!

How outrageous, eh? How strange! What kind of insanity possesses these men?

And women, of course, would never do or feel such things, eh? 

No Sir. When women fight tooth and nail to keep hold of their homes and their children – through fair means or foul – they are not treating them as ‘possessions’. No Sirree. They are victims

But here we have Ms Lorna Martin and the Guardian newspaper trying to demonise men for reacting badly when they are undergoing almost unbelievable torment.

Men “reacting badly”?  Be still my heart.  These stories are unbearable.  The Guardian article cited here tells stories so very similar that you could change the names and not know the difference.  The stories are all the more unbearable when they are reported as though there is no critical work that leads to an understanding of what’s happening in this patriarchal frickin’ world.  It’s fucktaballooned.

I’m as mad as Angry Harry but I wouldn’t dream of trying to rationalize murder just because I’m pissed!  And you know what?  If I did, I wouldn’t feel free to hang my rationalizations up on the web.

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When We Don’t Believe Women

About abduction, sexual assault, assault, rape:

Three unsolved murders in our area [Boca Raton, Florida] are about to get new, national attention.

Investigators need all the help they can get in tracking down the killers of Nancy Bochicchio and her daughter Joey, as well as Randi Gorenberg.

Those murders may also be connected to an attack on another woman and her young son, who managed to get away.

Dateline NBC will be sharing with the nation the terrifying Town Center Mall tragedies and incidents we here in South Florida now know all too well.

Dateline’s Boca Raton shoot wrapped up Wednesday.            

Correspondent Dennis Murphy and the Dateline team are now ready to reveal new details in the murder cases that all have ties to the Town Center Mall of Boca Raton. 

Boca Raton Police explain how they believe an armed robbery at Mizner Park could very well be the work of the same suspect from the Bochiccio and August incidents.

Police also explain why responding officers did not believe the victim from the August attack, we call her “Jane Doe,” the victim who got away.

For the first time, she comes out of the shadows and speaks in disguise.

Dennis Murphy: They asked you to take a lie detector test, didn’t they?

Jane Doe: Yes.

Dennis Murphy: You’d been a crime victim. What did that say to you?

Jane Doe: If they needed me to, for whatever reason, I was gonna do it. I wasn’t hiding anything.

Dennis Murphy: If there was a request for a lie detector test from the woman abducted, did that say something about initial hesitation in believing her?   [more]

The police thought that the report made by Jane Doe about the abduction of herself and her son was not believeable.  Mall security was told that the complaint was “not believable”.  One and a half weeks after Doe made her complaint, the police file was “inactive”. 

Faced with probable law suits and national press attention, including a report on 20/20 this evening, Boca Raton police are coming up with the usual excuses.  They say they never told mall security not to worry about Doe’s abduction – “why would we?” – and they say that just because Doe’s file was listed as “inactive” doesn’t mean they didn’t believe her.

Oh sure.

Check out the story at 20/20

As the story goes, police are now looking at the husband of Randi Gorenberg.  That’s typical too.  While it’s true that many women die at the hands of their boyfriends and spouses, it’s dangerous to make that assumption.  Sometimes, police do it when they haven’t done their jobs and are looking for some PR to make it look like they have.

Beyond the Pale

vet29.jpg

The RCMP murdered Robert Dziekanski.  That’s what I think.  Of course, no charges will be laid against the officers.  The more that is revealed at the Braidwood Inquiry, the more firm I become in my view.  I can hardly bear to read it.

The RCMP tasered Dziekanski twice though he had done nothing more than wave his arms at them and walk away when they didn’t want him to walk away.  That’s my take on the video.  Help yourself – go watch it, as I have, again and again and again – mesmerized by the brutality, stupidity and inhumanity.  Watch while a passenger in the terminal chats with Dziekanski and calms him down.  Watch while four macho RCMP officers move in, don’t talk to him and behave in a way that would threaten anyone, never mind a non-English speaking person who’d been on a plane for hours and hours and hanging around the terminal looking for his mother for hours and hours and who hadn’t hurt a goddamned flea.

They tasered him twice and then noticed, while he was face down and cuffed, that he wasn’t moving.  They stood around for a bit and then called paramedics (never did call the on-site Emergency Response Team) and then wouldn’t let the medics treat him – wouldn’t remove his handcuffs so that he could be properly examined.  Robert Dziekanski died face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back.  But that’s okay.  The paramilitary RCMP were just doing their jobs, as defined by them.  No one will hold them to account.

In the ’60s, we had a word for cops like these.  As I always told my sons, respect the police.  They kill people.

“Others” Kill Women

Most Torontonians, and many Canadians, will remember the tragic murder of young Aqsa Parvez.  Toronto Life magazine has written a story that asks some pretty creepy questions:

Over the fall of 2007, Aqsa Parvez shuttled between friends’ houses and youth shelters. She was afraid to go home. Her father, Muhammad, was enraged because she refused to obey his rules. He swore he would kill her.

On the morning of December 10, Aqsa huddled in a Missis­sauga bus shelter with another Grade 11 student, a girl she had been staying with for the past couple of days. They had plenty of time to make it to their first class at Apple­wood Heights Secondary School. As they waited, Aqsa’s 26-year-old brother Waqas, a tow-truck driver, showed up at the bus stop. He said that she should come home and get a fresh change of clothes if she was going to be staying elsewhere. Aqsa hesitated, then got into his car.

Less than an hour later, Muhammad Parvez phoned 911 and told the dispatcher that he had killed his daughter. Within minutes, police and paramedics arrived at 5363 Longhorn Trail, a winding suburban street near Eglinton and Hurontario, and found Aqsa unconscious in her bedroom. The 16-year-old wasn’t breathing. The para­medics started CPR, found a faint pulse, and rushed her to Credit Valley Hospital, 10 minutes west. A few hours later, she was transferred to SickKids and put on life support. She died just after 10 that evening. The official cause was “neck compression”—strangulation.

In the days following her death, Aqsa’s story was widely reported in the Canadian media as well as on CNN and the BBC. Was her murder an honour killing or simply a gruesome case of domestic violence? Worldwide, an estimated 5,000 women die every year in honour killings—murders deemed excusable to protect a family’s reputation—many of them in Pakistan, where the Parvez family had emigrated from.

Canada prides itself on its multiculturalism and, to varying degrees of success, condemns institutionalized patriarchy. But there is growing concern that recent waves of Muslim immigrants aren’t integrating, or embracing our liberal values. Aqsa’s death—coming in the wake of debates about the acceptability of sharia law, disputes over young girls wearing hijabs at soccer games, and the arrest of the Toronto 18—stoked fears about religious zealotry in our midst. Is it possible that Toronto has become too tolerant of cultural differences?

Hate crimes against women, crimes resulting from men attempting to enforcing the masculinist code of patriarchy, are a curse upon womanhood and we ought to do everything we can to change the world so that women aren’t deprived of their lives in this way.  But “spousal” assault and femicide are crimes that cut across cultures and all socio-economic groups.  While there may well be cases where certain cultural or religious beliefs increase the danger to women, broaden the gender “crimes” for which they are maimed and killed, or restrict the lives of women more than others, it makes no sense at all to suggest that crimes against women are increasing in Toronto or in Canada because of multiculturalism and people not integrating into “our” way of life.

It would be constructive to look specifically at the lives of some women to see how we can reach into their families to help them.  To blame their “culture” is to miss the point.  It further isolates these women and their communities.  It’s racist and ethnocentric.  And it lets “Canadian-born” men off the damned hook!

In response to this irresponsible piece of reporting, the Toronto Urban Alliance on Race Relations has posted the following “call to action” on Facebook:

On Tuesday November 11th, join us in a “Don’t’ Believe the Hype” Campaign! We are asking you to raise your voice on the important issue of violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia.

Get Involved in Three Ways!!

1) EMAIL or PHONE Toronto Life Editor in Chief, Sarah Fulford. Once you do that, call up five of your friends and get them to do the same. You can reach Ms. Fulford at 416-364-3333 ext 3063, editor@torontolife.com or letters@torontolife.com

WHEN? Between 9am – 9pm on Tuesday November 11th (If that doesn’t work for you, anytime is better than never!)

WHY? Violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia are issues that affect all of us in diverse and important ways. Join us in voicing your concerns and helping to call attention to misrepresentations that are all too common in our media

WHAT TO EXPECT? This number 416-364-3333 ext 3063 will take you directly to Sarah Fulford’s office, where her assistant will either pick up, or you will be put through to her assistant’s voicemail. You can leave a personal message or voicemail recording for her assistant to pass on to Ms. Fulford.

WHAT TO SAY? Identify who you are and where you are from. State that you are leaving a message for the Sarah Fulford, Editor In Chief and express your dismay with the article on Aqsa Parvez. Bonus Points: Talk about a personal experience that proves to you why addressing this issue is so important and urgent.

Here are a couple of talking points about the article that may help. Feel free to use them directly or make up your own:
1) Aqsa’s murder must be looked at through the larger context of violence against women in Canada. The problem is not limited to any one community or religious faith.

2) The article calls Aqsa’s murder “Toronto’s first honour killing”. Approximately 25 women a year are murdered in incidents of domestic violence. The use of the term “honour killing” is an attempt to sensationalize the situation by invoking common stereotypes about the prevalence of “honour killings” among South Asian Muslim families, thereby suggesting that domestic violence is not occurring at alarming rates across Canada. Instead, we should be working to end violence against all women.

3) The article associates Muslim religiousity with a tendency towards violence. In other words, the more religious a Muslim is, the more likely s/he is to engage in this type of violence. This is false and based on Islamophobic stereotyping.

4) The question, “Has multiculturalism gone too far?” suggests that Muslims and immigrants are threats to Canadian society, rather than contributing members to Canadian society. The idea that “our” tolerance or respect for cultural diversity has let “them” continue their oppressive and dangerous behaviours is not only based on racist and Islamophobic stereotyping of diverse Muslim and immigrant communities, but also ignores the ongoing racism that exists in Canada despite our public commitment to multiculturalism.

5) The focus should be on violence against women, not hijab. The article sets up a false dichotomy between Muslim women who wear the hijab as oppressed and Muslim women who do not wear the hijab as liberated. Furthermore, it reinforces the idea that all young girls want the same things, completely ignoring the diversity and richness of Muslim women’s voices and lived experiences.

2) COME TO THE SPEAK OUT AND PRESS CONFERENCE on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM at YWCA located at 80 Woodlawn Avenue East, Main Lounge. Panelists include representatives of: Muslim Young Women, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children, Urban Alliance on Race Relations. For more information contact
michelle@urbanalliance.ca
416-703-6607 x 3

3) SUBMIT TO THE AQSA ZINE # 1. It is a grassroots zine that is open to all 13-35 year old young women who self-identify as Muslim. This issue’s theme is self-defense and resistance. It is a creative avenue for us to express ourselves, share our own experiences, and connect with others. Submissions deadline is December 1, 2008. aqsazine@gmail.com Blog: aqsazine.blogspot.com

Let’s All Harass Kelly Ellard

After a THIRD trial, Kelly Ellard was convicted in the death of young Reena Virk on the basis of gossip and conflicting testimony.  The B.C. Court of Appeal has set it right.  For now:

A B.C. Appeal Court has overturned the conviction of Kelly Ellard and ordered a fourth trial for her role in the murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk.

Ms. Ellard was convicted in the beating and drowning of Virk near Victoria in 1997 in a case that stunned the country because most of Ms. Virk’s attackers were teenaged girls.

The B.C. court cited inconsistent testimony and the charge to the jury in its 60-page decision released Friday.

“I would allow this appeal, set aside the conviction and order a new trial,” wrote Justice S. David Frankel, writing on behalf of the court.

A 15-year-old at the time of the killing more than a decade ago, Ms. Ellard has been tried three times in Ms. Virk’s killing.

Her first conviction was overturned on appeal, and her second ended in a hung jury before she was convicted at her third trial.

Justice Edward Chiasson concurred with the decision to allow the appeal, saying that instructions to the jury over one witness’s testimony were in error.

“In addition, the history of this case suggests in light of the error, the verdict cannot stand safely,” Judge Chiasson wrote.

One of the three judges on the panel dissented.

Stan Lowe, spokesman for the provincial Crown prosecutor’s office, said the Crown is reviewing the ruling and will decide how to proceed in the coming weeks.

Several other teenaged girls were convicted for their part in an earlier attack on Ms. Virk. She was then followed from the scene, beaten again and drowned in the Gorge waterway, near Victoria.

Warren Glowatski, who was also a teenager at the time of the killing, was convicted of second-degree murder for his role in Ms. Virk’s death in the waterway that night. Mr. Glowatski was granted day parole last year.

Ms. Ellard’s lawyer argued at a hearing in May that the jury based its second-degree murder conviction on lies, rumours and inconsistent evidence.

But Crown lawyer John Gordon told the court the jury was aware of the poor credibility of witnesses, rampant teenage gossip and rumours – and convicted anyway.

Obviously, I don’t know what role Kelly Ellard may have played, if any, in the tragic and horrific death of Reena Virk.  The point is, neither does anyone else.  If the Crown can’t get a conviction after three shots, I say quit.  Leave Kelly Ellard alone.  And don’t put Reena Virk’s family through the process again.  This opinion may not be popular with “law and order” folk who just want to see someone go to jail, even if they didn’t commit the crime, but why would I care about that?

US DoD & Sexual Assault

What are they afraid of now:

Heartbreaking stories of sexual assault perpetrated against female soldiers and military contractors, including those of Maria Lauterbach, Jamie Leigh Jones, and Lavena Johnson, have shown that women in the military face risk harassment, rape, and even murder.

At an oversight hearing on sexual assault held by the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs last Thursday, Mary Lauterbach, the mother of Maria, and Ingrid Torres, a victim of sexual assault and an employee of the American Red Cross working with military bases, were called to testify. The subcommittee had also subpoenaed Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SARPO) office, and invited Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary for defense, to testify.

But Whitley didn’t appear before the committee. When Subcommittee Chairman John Tierney (D-MA) inquired why Whitley hadn’t shown, Dominguez said he instructed her not to testify before the committee. Tierney and Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) noted that it was illegal for Whitley not to appear before the committee with a subpoena. “Dr. Whitley is in serious legal jeopardy,” Tierney said. “This is an unacceptable position for the Department to take.” As a result, he dismissed Dominguez before Dominguez even delivered his testimony.

It’s unclear why the DoD isn’t willing to cooperate with hearings on sexual assault, but from the Tailhook scandal in 1991 to what appears to be deliberate resistance to cooperation with Congress today, the DoD’s record on sexual assault is far from stellar.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, but chances of sexual assault on women in the military are worse. Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) recently said that 29 percent of women in the military have experienced sexual assault but as little as 8 percent are referred to courts marital. The Pentagon reported (PDF) this March that 6.8 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men in the DoD had experienced “unwanted sexual contact” in the previous year.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) preliminary report (PDF) released at the hearing last week surveyed a sample of servicemembers at 14 bases domestically and abroad. Roughly half of the 103 who said they had experienced a sexual assault in the previous 12 months chose not to report the incident, the report found. Women who experience sexual assault in the military seem not to report for a variety of reasons, including “the belief that nothing would be done; fear of ostracism, harassment, or ridicule; and concern that peers would gossip,” says the GAO’s report.

Woman’s Death Doesn’t Matter

The only thing important about this woman’s death is that her body was found in a neighbourhood frequented by “prostitutes” who are, of course, the cause of everything evil that threatens the “neat green spaces” that some people are trying to protect in the area.  Of course, nothing evil ever happens to sex trade workers.  At least, nothing that’s more important than protecting nice gardens:

The body of a woman found in an alley behind a high-rise building in the east end is being investigated by police as Toronto’s 38th homicide of the year.

Police received a call just after 7:30 a.m. Saturday reporting the body behind 191 Sherbourne St., near Shuter St. and the Moss Park Armoury.

Homicide Detective Michael Barsky said there were “obvious signs of trauma” to the body, which is yet to be identified.

The woman is likely between 30 and 40 years old, said Sgt. Craig Somers, who was also on the scene. 

Several residents and neighbours said they did not know about the death and did not hear anything Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Forensic officers were collecting evidence and searching the surrounding area, but Sgt. Somers said police would not divulge more information until the post-mortem results were returned and the next of kin notified.

Sgt. Somers said that it was a “suspicious” death given the location.

The Sherbourne and Shuter intersection is infamous for drug dealings, residents say.

“This is crack central. That’s what they call it here,” says Kenny Tynes, 47, who lives in the neighbourhood. “This is worse than Jane and Finch.”

Tynes has lived in his Sherbourne apartment for 19 years and says the area is rife with “knifings” and “crack.”

The Sherbourne and Shuter street corner is also popular with sex-trade workers, neighbours say.

Patrick Keyes, 65, has lived here for 22 years, just across from the alleyway where the body was found. He says he has watched pimps drop off prostitutes here and drive away.

“With prostitution goes drugs and with that people get high and stupid. They get noisy,” Keyes said. “I don’t know what causes it but it’s a nuisance. It brings people in this neighbourhood looking for action (sex and drugs) and that is not desirable.”

The front of the 19-floor building is surrounded by a black fence, green lawn and neat flower-beds. Residents say there is a security guard at the front door and there is an intercom security system.

The red-brick back of the building overlooking the alley is also surrounded by neat green spaces.