Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Society, not solely the judge failed these children

Globe and Mail posted a picture of two of the three children that were allegedly killed by their father, Allan Schoenborn. Up until this moment I've been so upset and angry about this situation that I haven't been able to even blog about it. Seeing this picture of the children sort of set me off with my outrage about. I can't look into the eyes of those children in the picture without tears coming to our eyes. It truly breaks my heart.

How could this have happened?

How could we have let this happen.

Sure it's easy to blame the judge, who, after this man was arrested three times for some not so minor offences:

Mr. Schoenborn was charged with two counts of uttering threats to cause bodily harm or death to a young schoolgirl and a school official.

And then he was deemed stable enough, according to a justice of the peace to be let free. After all, apparently:

The judicial official who released Allan Dwayne Schoenborn on bail over police objections was advised at a hearing last week that there was no friction between him and his wife, B.C.'s top Provincial Court judge said yesterday.

But a publicly accessible court record shows that Mr. Schoenborn, who is being hunted by police after the slayings of his three young children in Merritt on Sunday, had pleaded guilty just five weeks earlier to violating a peace bond that was supposed to protect his wife.

Sure it's easy to go on a rant about our lax and liberal justice system. But that is shifting the blame on someone else. But I must point out that even the people involved are shifting the blame:

Attorney-General Wally Oppal told reporters yesterday he did not know if the justice of the peace had all the necessary information at the bail hearing, but said police should have. The RCMP have stated they did not know about the domestic violence allegations.

"I don't know if the JP had that information or not, but I know the police usually have that information....These bail hearings are done after hours, by telephone. The system operates well, but where you have human beings involved, you are also subject to human error."

On the phone? I've been in a courtroom once for my grade 11 Law class and so my idea of the judicial process has been tainted by too many episodes of Law and Order, not giving me a realistic idea of how the process goes. However, can be granted bail by a justice of the peace by telephone???

Not only do all parties involved need to take responsibility and stop shifting blame or who dropped the ball. We must all take responsibility, because we, as a society, failed these children.

The system failed these children.

Now what are you going to do so that something like this never happens again?

What is the problem?

Details are still coming out about this story, but we know thus far that there may have been mental illness. According to a report in the G&M, the children went from living in a bungalow last year to now living in a trailer, and thus, likely, there was poverty as the mother was trying to raise the three children on her own. Court documents also reveal a history of domestic violence. Despite his history with run ins with police and alcohol, it appears that the mother felt comfortable leaving her children with this man when she went for the store. I am not judging her decision, but we must recognize that domestic abuse does not make one think rationally (inthat we see and hear reports in newspapers or on talk shows about women who thought they could change 'him' etc...).

We must also consider not only the mother, Darcie Clarke, as the victim here, but the father, Allan as a victim too. Women's groups yammer on about violence against women, wanting the majority of money is going to the women/children. Ok, yes women/children need programs/systems so that they can get back on their feet/start a new life. BUT. If we have very little to education and rehabilitation of boys/men we will never solve the problem. This isn't a blame men for society's problems approach though. We must help the troubled boys/men otherwise we will never prevent this type of incident from happening.

This analysis is by no means expert in anyway, I am just throwing my two cents out there.

I must also point out, these three children were not the only children killed this week. In Cornwall, a 5-year-old was allegedly killed by the "acquaintance" of the mother and is in police custody.

In sum, it bears mentioning that strengthening the family unit and poverty need attention in terms of preventing this type of occurrence from happening, and stronger judicial process and rehabilitation is needed to assist with the problems now.

Update: Crux of the matter expressed similar sentiments and has summed up this blame game to silo thinking, but after a comment on both of our blogs from an Anon, we are reminded that we must remember that we are innocent until proven guilty in this country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The women in almost all cases are also to blame. Too often they bring men into their homes, with little regard or thought to their children's safety. I'm a mother of 2 daughters. If my marriage broke up, there is no way I'd bring any male into my home or near my kids until I knew him for several years. As far as this tragic story with the children being murdered, I have to wonder how any woman would hook up with this guy.

Wed Apr 09, 11:25:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Toronto this week a pregnant woman was jailed because she failed to follow through on a complaint she made about being assaulted by her boyfriend. After she had made her frantic call to 911 and the police arrested this cretin, she then refused to sign a formal complaint against him. Nor will she swear out a restraining order.The hue and cry now is that she, as the victim, is being persecuted.
Just what is 'society' supposed to do? Without this woman's co-operation, the police can take no action against this thug. However, if some time in the future he kills her or the child then it will be the fault of the police or society.
Can society place a police officer at the door of every abused woman? Can police throw this guy in jail when they have no complaint filed against him?
A number of social agencies have stepped forward to offer help to this woman, but it is up to her to accept that help. Society can only do so much to aid these victims but if they won't even go as far as to get their brutilizers off the streets it pretty well ties the hands of the legal system. At some point people must be held reponsible for their own decisions. Unfortunately it is too often the innocents who pay for this lack of reponsibility.

Wed Apr 09, 12:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Spitfire said...

Anon and Powell,

Great comments.

However, I think none of us could really know how we would act in a situation, until we are actually put in the situation. We really don't know anything about the mother, Darcie Clarke. But no matter if she was rich/poor or grew up in a married/divorced/abusive family situation family herself,

How do we raise assertive confident woman who will never accept being treated poorly by another person?

How do we raise a non-violent man who does not disrespect another human being?

I agree that at some point, 'society' can only do so much and that it is up to the individual mother to put her foot down and say, I will not accept this behaviour; however, this is a lot easier said than done.

I'm not a social worker or psychologist, so I can't speak to explaining how this happens, but suffice to say that if we treat each other better and do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour, we will have a better society. This starts with a strong family unit.

Wed Apr 09, 01:46:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a different view. The man was "charged", not convicted, and as such he has rights. Too often one phone call to the police ends up with someone going to jail and the police officer saying "let the judge sort it out." I am sure that this justice has heard many cases from the same officers and thought, "oh no, another mess, … the last 10 cases from this police department ended with ‘not guilty’" In any case, it is too easy to look back and say, "see I told you so". This case falls within the very very small minority. I would rather see every person's rights respected, and thus, only hold those who have been convicted. THIS IS CANADA and not North Korea or China. Innocent until proven guilty.

Sat Apr 12, 09:59:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or Mexico

Sat Apr 12, 10:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darcie Clarke and Frances Elaine Campione what do they have in common???

Frances Elaine Campione, of Barrie, Ontario murdered her two daughters day before they were to be taken away from her by Children's Aid Society. Representatives from BC Ministry of Children and Families requested Police assistance visiting mother of three murdered children, on three ocassions. Last visit took place April 1, 2008 was the Ministry about to apprechend these kids???

Wed Apr 16, 02:05:00 PM EDT  

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