Friday, 30 March 2012


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?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


When Beverly Rowbotham was murdered, she was wearing an undershirt.
Pathologist Dr. John MacDonald said it in court on Feb. 21. He said her feet were bare, 
and her jean jacket was buttoned at the wrists, and not the front. 

A young and beautiful Bev Rowbotham.  
Probs around my age here.

But the undershirt, to me, is the most painful detail. She must have put it on that day because in October it gets cold. And if Bev Rowbotham could sense a breeze on her back, she could feel the blade on her fingers when she raised a hand to protect her face. 
Thinking about that makes her real to me, despite that I did not know her. It makes what happened to her possible. 
I watched her husband, Mark Stobbe, in the courtroom. He pleaded not guilty, by the way.
Hours later, I was feeling sad and I put on my television. On Golden Girls, Blanche was at a comedy club with Rose and Sophia, and Dorothy performed at amateur night.

Trying comedy was on the do-before-you-die list Dorothy made when she was young. Beverly’s wristwatch washed up on the riverbank. Those things made me think of time. And I am young, so I made a list of my own. 
At the top, I wrote about living in Manhattan and drinking Coke out of a glass bottle. By the bottom I scribbled something about feeling God at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, even though I did that last summer.

Four lines down, I wrote that I want to help free women from violence.