Mike McIntyre and Wilma Derksen, the mother of murder victim Candace Derksen, visited Red River College to talk about McIntyre’s book, Journey for Justice: How“Project Angel” Cracked The Candace Derksen Case.
I have thought about this visit, the book, and crime in general way too much over the last few weeks and I apologize in advance because my thoughts are all over the place.
The book was written concisely, and that worked because it made the read a quick one. The content sounded like fiction, however; particularly when McIntyre drew quotes from conversations Candace’s parents, Wilma and Cliff Derksen, supposedly had in bed. To me, that did not work because it did not sound believable.
When I ask what makes excellent journalism, I question if what was written was a worthwhile allocation of resources. In my opinion, Journey for Justice: How“Project Angel” Cracked The Candace Derksen Case, was not a worthwhile allocation of McIntyre’s resources as a crime reporter. The Candace Derksen case has received extensive media coverage and Have you seen Candace?, a book about Candace’s disappearance by Wilma Derksen, was published in 1992 and again in 2002. Journey for Justice provoked the same thoughts I had before: What happened to Candace Derksen and her family is a damn shame. Mark Grant is a freak.
The book covered the overwhelming amount of support the Derksens received following Candace’s disappearance. This is another reason I found it to be a poor allocation of McIntyre’s resources as a crime reporter. Knowing so many people dedicated their efforts to the search for Candace and continued to support the Derksens afterwards did not make me think I should be doing my part to help out, because so many people were helping already.
On the contrary, I think Nick Broomfield allocated his resources effectively when he made Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. It is a documentary film that follows Aileen Wuornos, a hitchhiking prostitute who killed seven men in Florida, in her final months on death row. If I merely read about Wuornos in the news, I would likely find her to be a crazy and terrible person. Watching the documentary provoked me to think about Wuornos as a victim, not a killer. It provoked me to think about why she did what she did (specifically the part where she tried her hardest to describe her family as good people and finally broke down and said if she would have had love and “something decent” in terms of a family, she could have been an “outstanding American.”) Finally, it provoked me to think about what I can do to change things for women like Aileen.
Journalists can learn the importance of allocating their resources wisely from McIntyre’s book and the Candace Derksen case in general.
My reaction to the book and the presentation at first involved questioning how fulfilling a career as a crime reporter would be to me. I continued to think how reading that book provoked very few new thoughts and no desire to do anything to help find missing children, since so many people, it seemed, already are. It provoked zero desire to help a woman-hating heartless, soulless killer like Mark Grant.
Yet I want to tell (“crime report”) Wuornos’s story to the whole world after seeing the documentary, and I will never stop believing that she has a heart and soul. But why?
Candace Derksen asked her mother to pick her up from school on the day she was abducted. When I asked about the value of crime reporting when McIntyre and Derksen came to Red River College, Wilma said reporting on crime can take the blame off the victim.
Mike McIntyre was only a few years younger than Candace when she was abducted, they lived not too far from each other, and her body was found on his birthday.
My mother was a victim of domestic abuse and Aileen Wuornos was provoked to kill because she was abused by men all her life.
The personal is political, right?