Friday, July 16, 2010

Murder: "It's All in the Context" *updated*

When is strangling someone to death not worth a day in jail?  When the perp's a female, Muslim immigrant to Canada and the victim is her daughter.

"At first blush (a suspended sentence) may sound like a get out of jail free card. It is not" -- said The Judge.

Marilyn Millions of St. James Anglican Church, was overjoyed with the suspended sentence, saying, "... it's all in the context."

Indeed.  Killing one's daughter, or anyone's for that matter, is all a matter of context. The context was, in this case, an unruly, impossible-to-handle teen, strangled with a scarf, for three minutes, until dead.

Compare the Calgary Herald coverage, "Calgary mom who strangled daughter gets suspended sentence" with that of Fox News "Muslim Mother Who Strangled Daughter Won't Be Jailed, Judge Rules".  In the Calgary paper, not a word is mentioned of the woman's Muslim background.

Irrelevant detail?

What role did the perp's sex play in her acquittal? If she had been a man, would she have walked? -- it's all in the context.

Or the fact she was Muslim.  If she had been a Christian or an atheist mother, would she have walked?

Or the fact she was an immigrant, with the allowances that we are told must now be made for the stress of coming to Canada, and all the differences of culture that, we are told, we must now take into account. If the perp had been a native-born Canadian would she have walked?

It's all in the context, apparently.


Frances makes some good points.

There were extenuating circumstances. The daughter was by all accounts violent to the point of dangerous, perhaps extremely so. Whether the mother was attacked that day, we don't know. However -- she was not acquitted of murder, she was found guilty of manslaughter.  And 2-3 minutes is a very, very long time.  Somewhere in there there's surely premeditated intent.

We know that women are held to a lower standard by courts and get lighter sentences -- that's not in dispute. What is in dispute right now is whether the woman also got "points" for being an immigrant and a Muslim. Maybe she just came before a leftist-judge who would extend the same "get out of jail" courtesy to anyone.

Barbara Kay weighs in here.


Frances said...

This was a family with a violent and tragic history. Setting aside their origins as refugees, the daughter in particular was not adapting to Canada well. There were reports of her using violence and threats against classmates and teachers, and she had been in care several times.

In this context, I think the use of 'honor killing' is misleading. Rather, from the evidence, it seems that a family arguement turned physical and violent, with tragic results.

What bloggers are not commenting on is the third member of the family: the son with muscular dystrophy, a fatal disease. If the mother is sent to prison, which would probably be the most fitting penalty, what is to happen to the lad? He has just a few years left, and I suspect the really hard, though not addressed, question in the judge's mind was how much further he should be penalized.

RkBall said...

Hi Frances,

It didn't sound like an honor killing to me.

I would be worried about her son's safety.

No mention of the father -- was he killed in the war?

The Grey Lady said...

E-gads, I find it a tad silly to present the rational of letting the mom free for killing a difficult child because she has a another child that has very difficult life circumstances that she needs to care for. I figure you kill your own child by wrapping a scarf around their neck and squeeze it for around THREE minutes, you kinda give up the right to plead "But my other child needs me to see them thru a terrible time". Ummmm maybe she is not an appropriate care giver here? I can't believe that child wasn't seized by authorities and put into care.

Anonymous said...

It's a get out of jail free card which is only available to non- Caucasian, non-Christian females. The rest of us need not apply.

RkBall said...

The remaining child has an aunt in town.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"