What are victims worth? When they’re women and children, not much. They’re dead, they only have us to defend them, and we’re doing a poor job.
Marco Muzzo, a heavy-drinking baby man born into great wealth, has asked a court to cut the damages claimed in a lawsuit by the remaining family of those he killed while driving very drunk in Vaughan in 2015.
The victims were Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2, as well as their 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville. The children’s grandmother, Neriza Neville, was seriously injured as was her mother, Josefina Frias.
Muzzo survived. Still in prison — he may serve only three years — he wants $10 million taken off the $25 million the parents are seeking, appearing to suggest there should be no punitive damages because he is already being punished. Muzzo’s family is worth about $1.8 billion.
It is difficult to quantify the worth of dead children. They won’t need anything ever again; they’re dead. But the parents, Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake, will endure a life of pain.
The reaction to horrific crimes is sometimes warped by a refusal to face hard facts. Fact: Muzzo is monstrous. Fact: the Neville-Lakes cannot work, will need psychological help and may wish to move far away. They are broken and money will help.
Similarly, the reaction to Nova Scotia ex-corporal Lionel Desmond, who killed 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, wife Shanna and mother Brenda — three generations of women in one family — has been warped by a misplaced sentimentality and a misunderstanding of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The killer, who then killed himself, was often uncontrollably violent, although it seems treatment at a local hospital was in fact available to him.
But look at how he was described in news reports. He was “a hero,” “one of our go-to guys” who “always had a smile on his face.” “He was just the guy to light up a room.” One story referred to his “tragic unravelling.”
But we don’t know if he “unravelled” or was ever ravelled or if he had PTSD, which is usually more of an internal torment than an invitation to slaughter. It haunts many fine Canadian veterans and they deserve treatment.
But why praise Desmond? Shanna feared him. Maybe seeing death in Afghanistan made Desmond want to see more of it at home.
PTSD doesn’t turn sufferers into beasts. And as columnist Elizabeth Renzetti wrote recently, PTSD has made us forget VAW, violence against women.
Fact: Desmond was not a victim, he was a family annihilator. Why was he allowed to have a gun?
Here’s an equally troubling case: why did news stories discuss the brilliance and talent of a doctor who allegedly beat and strangled another doctor, the mother of his three children, put her corpse in a suitcase and dumped it?
His particular medical talent was spines. Did he break Dr. Elana Fric’s neck? Did he break the hyoid bone, a sign of strangulation? Why are men like him praised?
I want to hear about the victim. She was a fine physician, intelligent, a loving mother who delighted in the world, a devoted runner trusting enough to take long paths throughout the city.
Domestic violence is often the precursor to extreme violence. The most dangerous time is when women prepare to leave or have left these fragile, angry hateful men. Do police know this?
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who killed 86 people on the Nice promenade, beat his wife and his mother-in-law and regularly had violent outbursts, reports Huffington Post. Why was he free?
Omar Mateen of Orlando beat his wife before he committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been arrested for assaulting his girlfriend before the Boston bombing? Other mass killers had restraining orders, Peeping Tom arrests, and even faced charges of murdering their wives.
In the hierarchy of worth, men tend to rate women lowest yet cannot bear rejection by these base creatures. Though the Fort Lauderdale Airport alleged killer had been arrested twice for domestic violence, he was not prosecuted and jailed. After he was held by the FBI in Alaska and appeared deranged, he was released and given back his gun.
Controlling men are the worst. They kill and the signs were often in plain sight. Yet we coddle them and make excuses for them, even as the bodies of women and children are lowered into the ground.