If you want to know what rattles the cages of any victim of crime, look no further then attempts to identify offenders as victims. It’s bad enough that victims already feel they get the short end of the stick in funding, with the lion’s share of cash going to offender support groups (witness the recent disclosure that Canadian murderess, Karla Homolka’s federal prison tab amounted to $2 million over a 12 year stay); but to have your position of vulnerability suddenly co-opted by the other side is a galling to a power of infinity.
So how are we to respond to the recent article in The Independent Weekly (under the perplexing sub-heading “The Religious Left”), House helps death row families in which the mother of convicted murderer, Elmer Ray McNeill Jr., decries, “It’s like having your child kidnapped and his life threatened and there’s not anything you can do about it, because nobody’s going to help you, I hear about mothers dying while their sons are in jail.”
Well maybe Elmer Ray should have thought of that before he forced John Ray and Mike Truelove to the back of a Food Lion and shot them execution style for $2,300 in cash. I think the pain and loss that the Truelove and Ray families suffer could literally drive one to despair and death.
I take no mark at Roberta McNeill. She grieves, she suffers. But if journalists would spend half as much ink on the plight of victims (their neverending suffering; first through the initial tragedy, then at the hands of a cynical justice system that makes them a spectator, giving them no place to participate) as they do on the death row moratorium discussion (they’ve virtually celebritized the debate), then I might be open to conversation about restoration and resolution between victim and offender.