Wednesday 9 May 2012

Remembering Tori Stafford

I’ve been following the trial for the abduction and murder of little Tori Stafford.  She was lured from her school, assaulted and killed by two strangers.

It’s a terrifying story for any parent.  Although we all know the majority of attacks on children happen with people they know, the stranger-abduction is the bogeyman lurking in our subconscious closets.  Mainly because there’s almost nothing we can do to prevent it.  No matter how much preparation you try to do, children are trusting innocents.

There’s been a lot of speculation about what will happen since the woman involved, Ms. McClintic, has changed her story since her initial arrest.  At first she claimed her boyfriend, Mr. Rafferty, orchestrated the entire thing and killed the little girl.  At trial, she has testified that she is the one who struck the final blows.  The boyfriend claims McClintic was the one who planned the abduction and that he did nothing wrong.

It literally beggars the imagination.  The best story he could come up with is to claim he knew there was an abducted little girl in the back of his car and he did nothing?  Neither of them deserve to see the light of day again, in my opinion.  Neither of them has the moral judgment to be anything other than a danger to society.  If you’re too stupid or easily manipulated to call the police or otherwise interfere when you know a major crime is taking place, then you can’t be trusted without constant supervision.  Or you’re arrogant enough to think we’re all stupid enough to buy that idiotic story.

My thoughts are with Tori’s family.  I hope they get the closure they deserve, especially after having to listen to all the graphic descriptions at trial.  I hope they get the help they’ll need to heal.  Nothing can ever make it okay that their daughter is gone.  But they can have whatever comfort they can glean from knowing those who hurt her are behind bars.

But there’s one more thing that bothers me about this trial.  It’s something that bothered me about the Bernardo-Holmolka trials and I’m seeing it again here.  When a man and a woman pair up to commit a heinous crime, there seems to be an assumption that the woman is somehow duped or coerced into participating.  The woman often receives a lighter sentence than her male counterpart.  This bothers me because I believe women can be just as cruel and callous as men, sometimes even more so.  Gender doesn’t automatically lead to empathy and goodwill. 

I believe the assumption is a holdover from the days when women weren’t considered responsible for their actions.  Men were responsible for their wives and daughters.  Or women simply weren’t considered bright enough to be deliberately malicious.

Both McClintic and Rafferty are equally responsible for Tori’s death.  I’d be pleased if they were both declared dangerous offenders and denied any chance of parole for the rest of their lives.

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