Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Mother's Agony

How cruel life can be for far too many people; losing a child and leaving the rest of life to mourn their loss. Bad enough a serious illness, an accident, some untoward circumstance of fate, but for those parents who have lost a child to the kind of chance that drew a murderer's path across that of their child,there will always be the horrible spectre of what their child faced, felt, feared and mortally succumbed to.

The mother of Michael Oatway, the 23-year-old man who was accosted, bullied, then murdered by an obliviously unrepentant younger man of brutish temperament, looking for someone vulnerable enough to fall victim to his psychopathy will never free her mind of the torment of his death. For her there is no rescue from the thought of her son desperately attempting to fend off the vicious attack that ended his life so precipitously.

She sat in the courtroom while her son's killer heard the presiding judge explain his reasons for pronouncing on his sentencing as an adult, one who demonstrated no remorse whatever at having murdered another human being. Cathy Oatway looked for some sign, however slight, in the face of Shawn McKenzie, that might lead her to believe that he felt the slightest remorse, regret for killing her son.

There was nothing at all to be seen, other than his irritation at the inconvenience to his near future occasioned by the murder charge and the resulting judgement. And there, seated in the courtroom, were the symbols of his oppression, the family of the young man he had murdered in the heat of contempt and rage and uncontrolled fury that anyone would have the nerve to deny his demands of them.

In the psychopath's mind, a refusal to submit to demands are tantamount to being humiliated before his friends, gathered around him, a living, breathing concatenation on a public transit conveyance of hardened young hoodlums. Overbearing boors, nasty little minds, social misfits, budding criminals. Looking for the vulnerable to prey upon, to serve their miserable egos.

The murdered man's mother sought out the humanity in the eyes of her son's murderer.
"Even at the sentencing, he was asked if he had anything to say, and he didn't. And as he was leaving, he was still staring us down. He's defiant. I think he feels we have been a great inconvenience to him." As for the mother of the sentenced felon solicitously offering her condolences, no such thing.

Instead, the convicted murderer's mother claimed, "It's just a random incident. You can't name my son as a killer. A killer is someone out there like that pig man", referring to serial killer Robert Pickton. Well, society's vicious psychopaths have to start somewhere, don't they, and her son started his career in a very public venue. But no, not her son: "That's a killer. They have that killer instinct. My son is an accident".

Not at all; rather a killer awaiting the right moment, and he chose that moment, to deprive another human being of his most precious asset. The difference between this woman's son and the British Columbia serial killer is merely one of maturity; each sought his opportunity, but in different ways; the serial killer discreetly, her son arrogantly, publicly. But he will have other opportunities, once his sentence has been served.

Michael Oatway's mother bemoans her dreadful loss. Recalling her son's smile, his laugh, his childhood years. She finds comfort in finding bird feathers, imagining her son is sending a message to her, from afar. She cannot imagine a mother raising a child without loving discipline, without insisting that the child learn respect for others and to take responsibility for their actions.

She, like the mother of the murderer, was a single parent, raising children on her own, having to work outside the house, struggle to make ends meet, and meet her responsibility to raise dependable, loving and socially well-adjusted individuals. She succeeded through sheer force of personal responsibility, love for her children and strength of character.

She knows that a mother incapable of facing her child and declaring him to have been guilty of a monumental crime, and turning to the victim to offer her own regrets, was capable of failing the emotional and practical needs of her child. Knowing that, and understanding how different this woman is from herself, brings her no comfort, however.

Nothing can comfort her in her unspeakable loss. But it might help her recovery toward accepting that loss if she knew that sheer evil did not roam the world in the guise of belligerent young men raised by irresponsible mothers incapable of teaching them respect, compassion and social responsibility.

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