A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vancouver Missing Women, We Share the Blame

Like many others I am very glad to hear that someone is finally being held accountable in the Vancouver Missing Women's case. Having once lived in Vancouver, and being aware of the fear and trauma this case has caused to so many people, it is a great relief that some finally have closure.
However, after listening to court reports for the past many months, and reading the ongoing coverage, I find myself with more questions than answers. Yes, it is clear Robert Picton was involved and may have committed some of the murders, or at least have a role in the disappearances, it is also clear that many others were involved.
What about them, when will their day in court come?
What about Picton's associates, who brought the now deceased women to his pig farm?
What about the police, and municipal and provincial authorities, who committed too few resources to the case, and actually refused to accept that a serial killer could have been at work, while more and more women disappeared?
Is it true, if these had been white women from Kitsalano, the authorities would have acted sooner?
What about the women who disappeared while authorities continued to drag their feet, are those authorities not also somehow complicant in the case?
And because most of the victims were drug addicts, what about the way we treat drug addicted people in this country, like criminals instead of people requiring urgent health care and services? Had these women been provided with the services they needed, would they have been left in the vulnerable position that led them to Picton's farm?
What about our elected officials who continue to treat drug addiction and prostitution as criminality, rather than social malaise? What about those elected officials who continue to cut funding and support to programs that are proven to reduce the harm of drug addiction, prostitution, AIDS and other issues directly related?
Are they not also somehow culpable for what has happened to so many people and, by extension, are they not also somehow to blame for the deaths of the women Picton has been convicted of killing?
Finally, what about us? Are we, the people of this province and country, who continue to elect and support politicians and government agencies who continue to either sit on their hands, or blatantly cut support to programs that may have saved one or two of these women, not also to blame?
Robert Picton is guilty, yes, but we are all to blame for what happened to these women. Every one of us who has ever voted with our pocket book, being more concerned about our own bottom line than we are with the ills of our society, is to blame. Every one of us who has ever turned our back and called a junkie a scum bag, instead of recognizing them for what they really are, people who have been damaged by a society that is primarily concerned with looking out for number one, is to blame. Every one of us who has voted for a politician who we know is going to cut our taxes while also cutting social programs, is to blame. Every one of us who did not demand the police and other authorities act, when the missing women case first came to light, shares the verdict handed down to Robert Picton!
It is our society that creates drug addicted women who have little option but to turn to prostitution to feed their habits. It is our society that creates Robert Pictons. And it is our society that is responsible for those it lets fall through the cracks. It is our society, and that makes every one of us responsible, not only for what happened to these women, but for making the changes we need to make to insure it never happens again.
Robert Picton is guilty, but so are we, and we should consider that next time we get an opportunity to make changes.

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