Sunday, December 16, 2007

Parole Board Lunacy

Robert Latimer, who presents no risk to re-offend, is slammed back in prison. Robert Gary Wallin, well he's another story entirely. The Canadian Parole Board has decided that Wallin, who strangled a girl in Stanley Park, leaving her brain damaged, is still capable of violence, but is to be let out early anyway.

In 2002, Korean student Ji-Won Park was jogging through Stanley Park. Wallin attacked her, choking her with the wire of her headset and then using his hands. She's in a wheelchair and can no longer speak.

So the parole board believes Wallin is still capable of doing the same thing but - this is the best part - he's made some changes to his life and is supported by family. So, out he goes.

Sorry but if you believe the guy's a risk to cause further violence to the public, keep him inside. He can have Latimer's cell.


KC said...

What really puzzles me is how someone whose violent assault left the victim brain damaged is even considered for parole so few years later. Commiting a violent assault that leaves someone so badly disabled is almost as morally culpable as murder.

Anonymous said...

This is one more in a sad line of parole board stories that the average person just can't understand. Unfortunately it doesn't just happen - policies and practices over the last number of decades led to our current system that is dysfunctional and pro-convict. Latimer refused to kiss the boards butt and pretend to be sorry, Wallin knew the drill and told them what they wanted to hear. Sad but it is neither unusual nor by accident.

Gayle said...

It would be nice if you linked to your source on Wallin so we have more facts.

I must say it is offensive to suggest a comparison between Wallin and Latimer. Latimer murdered his own daughter, and to this day he feels justified in doing so. He does not deserve parole. Would you feel different if his daughter was not disabled? Do you think the millions of other parents in the world who have disabled children love their children less than if those children were "normal"? Millions of parents deal with children just like Tracy, and they do not kill them. That is because they love them. Sadly for Tracy her father was not capable of that kind of love.

Not only that, but he still cannot put his family ahead of his own selfish needs. He asked for parole - not to go to a halfway house in Saskatchewan where he could be near his wife. Oh no, he wants to go to Ottawa - because he feels the SCC did him an injustice and he wants to be close to them so he can hound them about their decision. Does anyone see any value in that?

I believe people who sympathize with Latimer would not do so if they had to walk in his shoes. There is a reason why parents of disabled children consider this man to be a monster. Odd how people without disabled children think otherwise.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry if I've offended you Gayle however you've tried to shoehorn me into a position I haven't taken. The first thing is that neither you nor I have walked in Latimer's shoes. Some just pretend they have.
Of course I would feel different had Latimer's daughter not been disabled. I would have felt just as different had his daughter been disabled but not in constant pain and suffering. It's not the disability that factors into my view, it's the girl's suffering and the future that awaited her.
You can't speak to what love Latimer had for his daughter nor can you presume to dismiss the anguish he must have gone through in taking her life.
You conveniently ignore the conclusions of both the judge and jury who heard the evidence in this case. Both of them were disposed toward great leniency for Latimer - because they heard all the evidence which must have included a lot of fact that doesn't enter your conclusions. You can call him a monster if you like. I'll take my lead from the judge and the jury in the Latimer case.

Anonymous said...

I think more people should educate themselves on Latimer's daughter. Disabled? 43 pounds with the capacity of a 4 month old baby, whose bones were growing and twisting inside her so bad that regular surgery was needed, oh wait, surgery without any kind of normal local...doctors had decided that putting her under would cause her to with Tylonel and freezing and then listen to her scream in pain for weeks....ya...walk a mile in those shoes. He did what he did out of compassion for his daughter, he knew he'd serve time in prison, he knew he would have to pay to end his daughter's unbelievable pain and suffering and yet he paid that price, what more do you want out of the man?? Your right Mound...walk a mile.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks Anon. You've certainly added a lot of perspective to the ordeals of Robert Latimer and his daughter. I think this case illustrates how ill-equipped we are to weigh these situations. The jury and judge did what they were compelled to do but they obviously found that repugnant. And you are right that Latimer realized that he would likely be convicted of murder and, as far as I can recall, did nothing to conceal his actions or avoid the authorities.
He comes across as a stoic guy and I suspect that might be interpreted, by those whose interests seek to condemn him, as a callous killer. I think the fellow has endured enormous anguish before and since taking his daughter's life. The fact that he remains convinced it was the right thing to do doesn't change that.

Gayle said...

Don't be so quick to assume things.

My beautiful niece had her first seizure when she was a few days old. When she was a few months old she had brain surgery. She cannot walk, talk or feed herself. After years of trying to get her to eat her parents have been forced to allow her to be fitted with a feeding tube. She is blind, and she continues to suffer from seizures however since the doctors already removed a huge portion of her brain they can remove no more without killing her, so she has to live with the seizures.

Because she has never walked, her muscles do not develop. She has already required bone surgery and will require many more such surgeries. As you know, these surgeries are painful.

She suffers - greatly - as do her parents, who feel every pain she feels. You do not know what it is like to watch a mother while her baby is screaming as they wait for a doctor or a nurse to do something, anything, to stop the pain. You do not know what it is like to attend a baby's christening in the pediatric ICU the day before some doctor is going to open up her skull and remove a huge portion of her brain. You do not know what it is like to hold a 6 year old girl in your arms while she is crying and you have no way of knowing what hurts and what you can do about it.

You may think her parents are brave, and special, but they are not. They are just parents who would do anything for their child, who celebrate every success (like when she learned to laugh at age 3), and cry at every set back. It does not take a special person to parent a child like this. You would do the same, as have the millions of parents who came before, and as will the millions of parents who will come after.

Her mother actually understands why people support Latimer. She knows that people on the outside looking in feel sorry for her and her child. She knows that people who have not walked in her shoes would want to believe it is OK for her to kill her child - like the jury in Latimer. However, not for one second would she consider doing such a thing.

Robert Latimer was not the first man to have a severly disabled child who had to live with pain. He will not be the last. You people talk about the jury - do you not think it is relevant what other people in Latimer's position think? Do you not think it is significant that no one who has walked in his shoes supports him?

It is NOT OK for him to murder his child. Until he recognizes that simple fact he will be in jail.

I do not think he is a callous killer no more than I think he is stoic. He feels justified in doing what he did - that is why he went through with his trial. He could have been remorseful - he could have called evidence that his anguish over his daughter's pain was so great that he did not have the capacity to form intent, and that would have left the door open for manslaughter (and since the jury was so sorry for him they convicted him of second degree when he was clearly guilty of first, his conviction likely would have been reduced to manslaughter if given the chance), but he simply refused to accept that what he did was wrong. The fact that he wants to go to Ottawa in order to pester the SCC rather than go home to his wife speaks volumes.

The Mound of Sound said...

Gayle, you know nothing of my experience with my own children so it is you who is resorting to assumption. It's something I have no intention of "sharing" with you anyway. The experience of your niece is very sad and her parents deserve much support and comfort. I'm sure everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about Latimer; I have mine, you have yours. On another point, I don't know how much you understand the workings of the SCC but you needn't worry about Latimer or anyone else "pestering" them. That's quite preposterous.

Gayle said...

I was responding to this:

"The first thing is that neither you nor I have walked in Latimer's shoes. Some just pretend they have."

Which led me to the assumption you do not operate from the same base as my niece's parents, who most certainly continue to walk in Latimer's shoes.

And my point is that their experience with their disabled daughter is just as joyful as their experience with their "normal" daughters. It is not sad.

As for the SCC thing, I am not concerned about Latimer being successful. My point is that he is so egotistical that he wants to use his parole as a means to confront the SCC about the "errors" in their decision rather than commit himself to his family.

To me that says he is not all there - which probably explains why he did not run his original defence by going for manslaghter rather than justifiable homicide - which was doomed no matter how sympathetic you think him to be.

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