Author Topic: Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial  (Read 25923 times)

deBeauxOs

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« on: January 22, 2007, 09:18:20 PM »
As appropriate to the spirit of this forum, the discussion in this thread will focus on the women who were killed by Robert Pickton (allegedly) and how the defense handles those issues.

Among the dozens of news items today, this one jumped out at me:
Quote
Donelda Kent didn’t realize she was "escaping the clutches" of an accused serial killer ... The Halifax woman said her childhood years in an adoptive Sydney home led her to run away to the streets of Vancouver when she was just a teenager.

"It’s the same stories as the rest of the women," she said. "I was one of the lucky ones."

Mr. Pickton would frequent the stroll, she said in an interview Sunday night, looking for a prostitute to connect with a drug dealer on his behalf.

She was one of those tricks.  .... Ms. Kent, now 57, says she was likely spared by her age. "I think I was one of the older ones," she said, noting she was careful not to "bother him or rip him off."

How many other women 'escaped' being murdered by listening to their gut feelings and using their survival skills to placate the accused?

This trial will publicize grotesque and extreme forms of sexual and intimate terrorism against women.  But we know it's only one end of a spectrum that includes the 'common-place' varieties of violence that target all women.

Many of the women murdered were Native, or of First Nations ancestry.  
Quote
... Beverly Jacobs, president of the Ottawa-based Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC).

Jacobs plans to be there because many of the missing women were aboriginal. The NWAC has undertaken a five-year research project called Sisters in Spirit to raise awareness of the high numbers of missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada.
from this news item.
Quote
The sounds of chanting and rhythmic drumming echoed across the concrete concourse before the trial began as more than a dozen women gathered to pay respect to the alleged victims and support their families.

The women, many of them from the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, performed an aboriginal women’s warrior song.

"To me it means strength," said C.J. Julian, clad in a black and red robe. We are here to represent (the missing women), it is an honouring song."
from here.

What I find interesting is the use of the word alleged and allegedly in most of the news items, for the purpose of indicating that Pickton stands accused of murdering the women, and has not yet been found guilty.  Yet the victims are not given the same respect in the reports, as in 'alleged' drug-addicted prostitutes.

kuri

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 11:04:22 PM »
I really think that there's more to this than Picton. I've heard rumours that even police officers used to join in at the "parties" on the Picton farm, which might explain why there was so much complacence for so long.

skdadl

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2007, 06:58:26 AM »
From this CBC site I found this link, which has profiles of 70 women missing from Vancouver Eastside  (there seems some discrepancy in the numbers?).

See also this lovely memorial site.

There are a couple of other links on the CBC page that either don't work or seem to have been inactive for a while. I remember in particular Native Women Missing and/or Murdered in Canada, which was an overwhelming collection of biographies -- I think we  have discovered before that it isn't up any more, which is a shame. I wonder why.

deBeauxOs

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2007, 10:22:03 AM »
Quote from: kuri
I really think that there's more to this than Picton. ...
There have to be reasons why others have not been charged.  He wasn't alone in doing this.  I think that the crown attorney has carefully separated out the cases that have evidence to squarely convict Pickton on his own, in the hope that once convicted, he may provide information about others who participated.  By then he'll have nothing to lose so he may rat out his accomplices - and yes, I've often wondered if some of them were cops.

skdadl - it appears that the 'Sisters in Spirit' section of the Native Women's Association of Canada is incomplete.  Perhaps it's being updated - I'll write to them to find out what's happening there.

arborman

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2007, 12:05:42 PM »
I'm already appalled at the ghoulish feeding frenzy that the local media is embarking upon.

Gruesome details to come!  They shout at me from the headlines.  Day 1!

The occasional token commentator or article about the lives those women were leading, and the social issues and problems that facilitated the sick bastards in doing what they did.  

But mostly it's just about the gruesome details.  About as much attention to the plight of women as was paid in the OJ trial (domestic violence).

I've already had to turn off the CBC 3 times in the past 2 days.  I may have to become a media hermit, to avoid this awful second exploitation of those women and their sad lives.
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lagatta

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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2007, 12:32:22 PM »
Yes, it is already making me sick. I've happened on far more graphic reports in news from other countries, and a horror film that actually celebrates Picton as an "urban cleanser".  :cry:

I've probably already posted this, but here is a mural in Montréal (just north of le Centre d'amitié autochtone/Native Friendship Centre in memory of the missing and murdered Vancouver women:

http://www.missingpeople.net/montreal_mural1.htm

http://www.missingpeople.net/montreal_mural_tribute.htm Tributes in French, English, Mohawk and Inuktitut

http://www.missingpeople.net/mural_in_m ... homage.htm

There are many links on this site.

On the Corner is a feature film about young Aboriginal people caught up in Vancouver street life: http://www.telefilm.gc.ca/data/producti ... =LM&y=2003 It stars Mohawk performer Alex Rice, from Kahnawake: http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/eng/rose/rice_a.htm

Mohawk artist and Aboriginal activist Ellen Gabriel has also done works in memory of the missing women ... I'm trying to find them.
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pogge

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2007, 12:36:46 PM »
Quote from: skdadl
I remember in particular Native Women Missing and/or Murdered in Canada, which was an overwhelming collection of biographies -- I think we  have discovered before that it isn't up any more, which is a shame. I wonder why.


It moved.

fern hill

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2007, 12:37:38 PM »
Yeah, I've had to leap up to turn the radio off. What are they thinking, giving all these horrible details? I think I'll join you in media hermithood, arborman.

Toedancer

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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 12:53:04 PM »
The mute button is getting a lot of play here, can't get to it fast enough.
I keep thinking of all the kids who have total control of their own TV's.
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lagatta

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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 12:53:59 PM »
I often tend to listen to the news in the opposite language when there is a gruesome story, so only Radio-Canada news these days. So far, the reports have been respectful of the victims and their surviving families and friends.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
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deBeauxOs

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 01:05:48 PM »
It seems from the start that the words used to describe the women killed, 'allegedly by Pickton' (those women were murdered, some tortured, their bodies desecrated - no disputing that, right?) did not respect their humanity and the fact that all were daughters and most, sisters and mothers of people who grieve them.

Out of curiosity, I looked quickly at how the men who Aileen Wuornos was found guilty of killing, were described in the media.  Most websites simply called them men, or named their profession truck driver, salesman, etc.  Many provided heart-wrenching details about the victims' lives, making the point that they did not deserve to die in this manner.

ETA - lagatta is right, SRC has been more subdued and respectful of the victims families in its coverage.

skdadl

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 01:12:34 PM »
Quote from: pogge
Quote from: skdadl
I remember in particular Native Women Missing and/or Murdered in Canada, which was an overwhelming collection of biographies -- I think we  have discovered before that it isn't up any more, which is a shame. I wonder why.

It moved.


Oh, thank you, pogge. That is the site. It is brilliant -- I'm glad it's still there.

arborman

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Critical perspectives on the Pickton trial
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2007, 04:32:34 PM »
Quote from: deBeauxOs
It seems from the start that the words used to describe the women killed, 'allegedly by Pickton' (those women were murdered, some tortured, their bodies desecrated - no disputing that, right?) did not respect their humanity and the fact that all were daughters and most, sisters and mothers of people who grieve them.


Well, they have no choice on the use of the word 'allegedly' - he hasn't been convicted of anything yet.  News media are not allowed to convict someone before a trial does.

That said, I don't know if it is more beneficial for the media to talk about the women and the lives they were leading or not.  On the one hand, it points to a major problem in our society, which the killer (probably Pickton) exploited in a brutal manner.  On the other hand, it smacks of a ghoulish glee in picking apart the lives and deaths of the poor women.

If I thought the media could handle this in a remotely respectful manner, I'd be less appalled.  But so far, two days in, the headlines and announcements - going into gory detail - are enough to make me give up on the fourth estate altogether.  They are practically licking their chops at this trial, slavering to spread all the awful details across the land, all under the guise of 'news'.  I feel ill.
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Herr Magoo

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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2007, 05:02:48 PM »
Quote
Well, they have no choice on the use of the word 'allegedly' - he hasn't been convicted of anything yet.


He's also — uh, allegedly — admitted to 49 murders.  So I think that could be reason enough to soften some of the usual rules around here.  I'm sure we all understand that only a proper trial, verdict and sentence can make him guilty in the formal criminal sense.  But if he says he did it, wouldn't it be practically disrespectful to doubt him?
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arborman

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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2007, 06:38:29 PM »
Quote from: Herr Magoo
He's also — uh, allegedly — admitted to 49 murders.  So I think that could be reason enough to soften some of the usual rules around here.  I'm sure we all understand that only a proper trial, verdict and sentence can make him guilty in the formal criminal sense.  But if he says he did it, wouldn't it be practically disrespectful to doubt him?


Actually, he pleaded not guilty.  Pled?  Pleaded?  Ack.

But he wouldn't be having a trial if he had pled guilty.  It is most definitely not just sentencing (no jury needed for that).  So the media has no choice.

And, in the interest of a just society, it would probably be worthwhile to at least consider the unlikely possibility that the cops were so desperate to arrest someone they falsified the evidence.  Probably not, but these are the police after all, and if (as mentioned above) there were any police involved at the 'pig farm parties' prior to the arrest, then all bets are off.  Highly unlikely - but that's why we have a right to trial by a jury of our peers.

All that said, I have little doubt the scumbag did the things he is accused of.  And I also have little doubt there were others involved (and probably other women lost) that may or may not come to light over time.  May he spend the rest of his evil miserable life in prison (if he is guilty).
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

 

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