Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Murderer of Tracy Latimer - In the News Again

Stephen Drake the research analyst for Not Dead Yet has commented on the recent decision to loosen the parole conditions for Robert Latimer, who killed his daughter Tracy in 1993.

Drake has been connected to the Latimer case for almost 15 years. He admits that his involvement in the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide grew out of the lenient attitude people have towards Robert Latimer.

Drake also introduces us to another blogger who has been trying to ensure that justice is served in the death of Tracy Latimer.

I have avoided writing about Latimer because he was serving his sentence for second-degree murder. I have started to comment on Latimer more recently because I am disgusted by the lenient conditions the parole board is placing a Latimer, a convicted murderer of his daughter, who due to her physical nature was dependent on him for her care. Please read Stephen Drake's comments:

Robert Latimer - Murderer of Daughter Tracy Latimer - In the News Again

I can't explain the feelings that go through me when Robert Latimer surfaces in the news again. Robert Latimer's murder of his daughter Tracy was pivotal in getting my attention directed at the euthanasia movement and in providing a solid foundation for my opposition to the movement.

Even though it looks like I haven't written anything here on the blog about Tracy Latimer's murder, the role the public debate about her murder played in my turn to activism has long been a part of my official bio:

During his years at Syracuse, one key event turned his interests and passions toward assisted suicide and euthanasia. In the early 1990s, Robert Latimer, a Canadian farmer who murdered his disabled daughter, Tracy, became a "poster child" for the Canadian pro-assisted suicide groups. Tracy Latimer was not dying and she did not ask to die. In 1996, while growing increasingly alarmed over the "better dead than disabled" rhetoric of the pro-euthanasia movement, he learned of the formation of Not Dead Yet and dropped everything to join its first protest action.

How far did the euthanasia activists in Canada go in embracing the killer of a nonterminally ill child who never asked to die? What did the champions of autonomy have to say?

Here's one example from a Canadian "right to die" leader, quoted in a 1994 NY Times article on Robert Latimer. She is reacting to the imposition of a 10-year prison sentence:

Marilynne Seguin, executive director of Dying With Dignity, a Toronto-based group promoting freedom of choice for physician-assisted deaths, said that the Latimers had already lived under a sentence during the 12 years that Tracy was alive and that to add the 10-year punishment "is quite unconscionable."

Link to the New York Times article from 1994: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/22/world/mercy-killing-in-canada-stirs-calls-for-changes-in-law.html
It's not often that people you didn't know were your enemies declare themselves so openly. When Seguin equated parenting Tracy Latimer to being under a prison sentence, it also meant that her murder was a release - but not for Tracy. By her reckoning, it was Robert Latimer who engineered his own "release."

Alex Schadenberg has posted about the latest round in news coverage - which revolves around efforts to get Latimer's parole conditions loosened. I recommend reading Alex's post on the subject.
Link to Alex's post: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2010/09/tracy-latimer.html

I found a blogger who has written two posts on this latest round of press coverage that seems to touch every single element in the complex mix churning in my own stomach every time Robert Latimer is in the news again.

On August 19, Trouble posted a blog entry titled "This post is about Tracy Latimer's Murderer":

OH YAY! Gentle reader, I'm here to inform you that once again Tracy Latimer's murderer is in the news, which means we can deal with another week or two or months or years of people wibbling on about how Tracy Latimer's murderer is such a sweet innocent man who only murdered his disabled daughter because Tracy wasn't really a person and deserved to be murdered, and how he's such a victim of the system, and woe is poor him, and how cripples really DO have no life and it's totally okay for people to murder disabled children, as long as they don't have a disability and murder their own non-disabled children. Those people are menaces and should be locked up forever!!!!!!!!!!!

Link to the blog comment by trouble: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/617988.html
That was just for beginners.

She followed up with the post "it has begun":

I'm sure this weekend and into next week will be full of these shit-tastic stories, and I'm going to spend the whole damned week in a state of rage, and people will tell me to calm down because, you know, it's okay, it's just some 12 year old girl whose been dead since 1993.

Link to this blog comment by trouble: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/618502.html?#cutid1

She also left a comment in that section on the second post that accurately describes how Tracy Latimer is treated in stories about her own murder. And it's a treatment that I've seen repeated in countless stories involving the murders of both adults and children with disabilities:

It's also something it's really hard to talk about. I try to blog about it calmly and rationally and then I remember that these people think that Tracy should be a footnote in her own murder, and I lose it.

I confess to having many of these same thoughts and feelings churning inside on a regular basis. Some days, it can be very difficult to write "calmly and rationally."

Please read both of Trouble's posts on Tracy Latimer's murder. I only shared a small excerpt and her posts should be read in their entirety. Link to trouble's blog: http://trouble.dreamwidth.org/.

Link to Stephen Drakes blog: http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/

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