There have been so many calls for vigilante justice after the death of Rehtaeh Parsons that her mother has made a statement asking for authorities to investigate and for citizens to stand down.
She says, here:
“I don’t want more bullying. Rehtaeh wouldn’t want more bullying. I don’t think that’s justice,” Parsons said.
She called the police investigation into the case horrible, but said she doesn’t want vigilantes to go after the boys, none of whom have been charged.
“I think they need to be accountable for what that they did,” Parsons said. “I don’t want them to be physically harmed.”
The RCMP also matched that message, issuing a warning Wednesday night reminding people not to take matters in their own hands. They asked anyone with information about the case to contact police directly.
She’s right. They should not be physically harmed, but there should be full accountability and justice served, after the horrible mess RCMP made of this case and the treatment of Ms. Parsons.
As a mother, I can imagine the desire for vengeance. It would be overwhelmingly strong, I’m sure. I can feel it in myself as it is, and I don’t know this child, or Jane Doe from Steubenville or Torrington, or the young man in Toronto assaulted by four women. There are so many cases right now it’s hard to process, to think rationally.
I do know, though, that while an eye for an eye feels so good and right in the moment, it doesn’t heal the root causes of the problems. It leaves little splinters of hate in those wreaking the revenge, and leaves much bigger ones in the families of those being revenged upon.
We’ve seen this, not just in cases like this, but in entire nations. Just look at the strife in the Middle East, or in Ireland. Killing, attacking, bombing, causing pain? Causes more to come back.
There is no vulnerability there, is there? Just armor and anger.
These young men, whoever they are, they are in trouble. They have some serious problems both in themselves for what drove them to do what they did, but legal ones. I imagine that their feelings are intense, and whoever knows who they are, well, that’s got to be a toxic system right there.
They do need to be prosecuted, and again I’ll point out again that currently prisons don’t do a good job of true rehabilitation. They do a great job of torturing people, and a rape for a rape is a torture. Some would call for that. I wouldn’t.
There needs to be a real sea change in how we punish, to mete out justice yes, but to keep mercy in mind, even if the attacker showed none.
I hold up Ms. Parsons mother in high regard. She states that her daughter wouldn’t want people harmed. I believe it. It makes me even more sad that such a light of peace was put out before her time.
Those young men need to truly understand what’s happened. But we don’t get to be the ones to punish them, not like this. That makes us no better than them. I think Ms. Parsons wouldn’t want that, and it would be a shameful treatment of her life if they come to harm.