When reasonable people yearned for the death penalty - Macleans.ca

When reasonable people yearned for the death penalty

The big news: Travis Baumgartner locked up for 40 years without parole


Jason Franson/CP

Travis Baumgartner, a 22-year-old armoured car guard, was sentenced yesterday to 40 years in prison with no chance of parole. No one in Canada has served that harsh a prison term since the country was still executing its convicted criminals. Then again, few Canadians have murdered three of their co-workers, nearly missed killing a fourth, and run away with about $400,000 that was sitting in the team’s armoured car.

Forty years with no chance of parole was actually the result of a plea deal. The judge could have laid down a 75-year sentence, but Baumgartner benefited from several factors, which the National Post reports included his “age, his lack of a criminal record, and his willingness to plead guilty.” So he spends every day until his early 60s behind bars.

Baumgartner’s punishment wasn’t enough for many of his victims’ families. They remind us that, no matter how often we applaud ourselves for collective tolerance, or whatever we choose to call our rejection of the death penalty, reasonable people who’ve suffered terribly speak what sounds unthinkable to so many of us.

“My way of justice is back in the old days—hang him,” said Joseph Rejano, the brother of one of the murdered guards. “I think he should just be taken out behind the shed and put down, personally,” said Victor Shegelski, the husband of another murdered guard. Janet Stosky, the aunt of a murdered guard, was the most diplomatic among the crowd. “I am not sure, when you are going through this level of pain, if you can ever feel satisfied with the justice that is available,” she said.

Talk about restraint.

What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail  Quebec’s government wants the private sector to adopt its secular charter.
National Post  Gérard Bouchard says the PQ is responsible for Quebecers’ cultural anxiety.
Toronto Star  Thousands of medical scans are being reviewed due to possible errors.
Ottawa Citizen  The Conservative Party’s lawyer sat in on robocall witness interviews.
CBC News  The Syrian government has complicated Barack Obama’s case for a strike.
CTV News  Prince William has left active duty with the Royal Air Force.
National Newswatch  Canada’s undelivered fleet of new helicopters has already cost $1 billion.

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Canadian miners. If Romanian politicians don’t approve a billion-dollar mine proposed by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources, the company says it will launch a billion-dollar lawsuit that claims the Romanians are violating a series of foreign investment treaties. Gabriel claims its case is strong and that Romania’s “effort to attract foreign investment will suffer greatly.”
THE GLOBAL China in Africa. Chinese state broadcasters are investing heavily in their own bureaux, as well as stakes in existing African media, on multiple platforms in a spate of countries. They’re using their newfound influence to broadcast a pro-China agenda across the continent. African journalists are concerned that Chinese investors will attempt to censor editorial content.
THE QUIRKY Impaired driving. A 34-year-old Alberta man was stopped by police for driving without licence plates on his vehicle, which was hauling a horse trailer. The cops realized shortly thereafter that the man’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit. They towed his vehicle and trailer, and the man, who still needed to get home, rode his horse about 30 kilometres.


When reasonable people yearned for the death penalty

  1. “They remind us that, no matter how often we applaud ourselves for collective tolerance, or whatever we choose to call our rejection of the death penalty …. ”

    NatPost – “Below is a look at the 93,755 induced abortions reported in 2009 …. ”

    Pj O’Rourke – The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors–psychology, sociology, women’s studies–to prove that nothing is anybody’s fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you’d have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view.

    • I’ve been thinking the same thing for many years now.

    • It’s funny how many libertarians like PJ gloss over just how complex
      these kinds of moral questions are. So he resorts to the intellectually lazy card – it must be because liberals are f*cked up.
      The principle reason the death penalty was rolled back was because people
      were sick and tired of sending innocents to their deaths…that’s also wrong you know!
      Coming up with sweeping generalization about whole schools of thought makes for good comedy, but often little else…unless you name happens to be Twain.

      • Well then how about life at hard labour somewhere up north? If the person is innocent he’ll be released. If guilty he’ll have the rest of his days to consider his actions. Life should mean life without parole.

        • Why does it have to be hard labour? It sounds like you’re more interested in revenge then justice.

          • No, I’m interested in punishment. If the sentence is life then I no longer care about rehabilitation.

          • in that case it’s illogical to support a life sentence rather then the death penalty. In my opinion being locked up for 40-50 years with your own piss pot and no hope of ever redeeming oneself is a worse and crueler punishment then death.

          • Then execute them. Murderers have committed one of the more heinous crimes by killing. Either execute them or give them a true life sentence. Being alone with their piss pot for the rest of their lives will give them plenty of time to contemplate what they have done. The killer in the article killed for money, which makes it worse in my opinion because there are ways to get out of money troubles.

          • Why should they not earn their keep? And force them or let them perish.

        • Life in prison is extremely unpleasant. You should try it before running off your mouth about it.

          • Life in prison is tough, Boo Hoo. They committed a crime so they do the time. Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to feel bad in prison.

          • I don’t think anyone is saying they shouldn’t gi to jail, and that jail should be pleasant.

            The fact that jail s unpleasant is good. It is also sufficient punishment.

    • You started of right, the liberal creed. Fuzzy thinking, or fantasy dreamer could be added. Take economics, they totally ignore reality. Just print more debt without recognition of where it always ends.

      • Ummm… have you been paying attention to the CPC and their deficit spending & debt load?

    • Dear Hester Eastman,

      The Solution to your dilemma is surprisingly simple.

      Unwanted baby’s do not receive the love they should receive.
      If a baby does not receive love in the first year, it will become a criminal.
      This is based on research with over 20.000 adopted children, a personal friend of Ayn Rand brought this up. The conclusion was that if a person did not receive love during the first year, then little can be done, 20 years of consecutive psychological counselling may turn him at best into a car thief instead of a murderer.

      Now, in challenging neighborhoods, if a woman can choose for abortion when she is not in the right situation for having a child, we see a large reduction of criminal activities. Because when the same woman is more settled, with a stable partner, and in a condition to give love to a wanted child, this problem disappears.

      Don’t you think that every child has the right to be wanted ?
      And an unwanted child is tomorrows murderer.

      Abortion is the solution, not the problem.

      And further I resent you used the term “unborn babies”, a fetus is a long way from being a baby, and cannot exist on its own.

      And, the dead penalty is too good for these type criminals, it stops all suffering, You should try incarceration yourself for a week. It is very hard, not being able to go to a night shop to get your favorite food or soda. Not having your basic freedom is much harsher than you think.

      Uwe Hayek.

      • Oh stop. Don’t want a baby then don’t have the sex that starts the process. We can’t hang a murderer but we allow someone to vacuum and dismember a living being (I’ve seen my child’s heart beating at eight weeks in utero) from someone who finds it inconvenient to have the baby.

        • You have the right to decide for your child, you do not have the right to decide about other’s people lives. The fetus cannot live on its own. Therefore it is not life, it is a parasite. The mother who carries it decides if she wants to continue to do so.

          Uwe Hayek.

    • What does abortion have to do with the death penalty?

      Nothing, nothing at all.

      • The idea about abortion in the comments is that we as a society abhor and therefore ban capitol punishment of the worst criminals while allowing the killing of the innocent on an industrial scale.

        • Even if what you say was not complete nonsense, they are still two separate things.

      • It was about the link between abortion and criminal behavior.

        Being against abortion puts every body at risk being the next victim of a murderer who was an unwanted child.

        Uwe Hayek.

  2. I do not diminish the pain and suffering of the families of these victims with political garbling like Hester and keyboard challenged John below. Murder 1 is a disgusting act that should be punished and also understood. An element of science could give us that understanding and test after test after test should be conducted every day of every year to understand what leads to this kind of behavior. Maybe religion, drugs, upbringing, TV, lack of parenting could have contributed. We have 60 years to figure out so we can help the next poor person who might be thinking of going down this path. Yes, Mr.Eastman, there are reasons things happen and people do stupid things. Ex. Religion causes people to say stupid things and not stay on topic…?

    • Actually Ron I don’t care what led to his act of murder. I’d prefer the guilty working up north somewhere to help pay for his life in the penitentiary. As an aside, I prefer the short and to the point comment as opposed to your somewhat rambling diatribe above.

      • Why up north? Why not not the city dump recycling 100% of the city garbage, punching license plates, tanning leather and making shoes? Why not furniture manufacturing? Why not taxes and rent that consumes 99.5% of their income.

        And if they don’t work or protest, down to bread and water.

        • Up north so if they escape they’ll have hundreds of KM’s to cross before reaching civilisation….or the bears get them, which ever comes first.

        • In fact, shouldn’t be too hard to find a prisoner who could be forced into doing John’s job for free. His boss might very well be interested, get a leg up and force the competition without access to free labour out of business, what hey!

          • Prisoners already attempt to do my job while in prison. I’m retired.

      • You should care what leads up to murder so you don’t end up being one yourself. You’re already calling for the death penalty isn’t killing on purpose murder? Oh sorry, Old testament says otherwise I suppose.

        Northern prisons are often mentioned and may have some credibility. It may even have peripheral benefits as well. Its worth looking at. It may establish sovereignty in the region its built and provide local employment and your right, be damn hard to escape from.

        I would think that something as serious as murder and the punishment should be more thought out than a one liner don’t you?

        A rambling diatribe on my behalf? No, it was Hester who rambling and non sensical and your one liner supported that garbage! He could not even keep on topic!!

  3. While I can well understand the victims’ families desire for vengeance, the reason we don’t have a death penalty is simple: you cannot bring an innocent but dead person back to life.
    We have seen too many wrongful convictions overturned to ever be certain we wouldn’t be killing the wrong person.

    • That is an important reason. Another is that many jurors, when faced with putting someone to death, will feel just too unsure to make such a life decision — and that would mean more guilty people found not-guilty, and walking away from justice with no punishment whatsoever.

      • Yup, doesn’t bring the murder victims back, doesn’t actually ‘punish’ anyone, does often convict the innocent….and doesn’t solve anything.

        Because we have new murderers born ever day.

      • If a juror is unsure only based on the penalty, they shouldn’t be convicting anyway.

    • Hardly, what is the wrongful conviction rate? 1 in greater than a million?

      The criminal walk rate however is much higher.

      But re-offense rate for many crimes are like 70%. So 700,000 victims to save one innocent? Hm, I don’t like it but that is reality.

      • You mastery of criminology statistics is impressive.
        I always thought that the recidivism rate for murder was 99.999999% and wrongful conviction was 1 in 10 billion.
        Thanks for the clarification.

      • You put one innocent to death and it is state-sanctioned murder, period. At least if they are still alive when their innocence is proven, they get SOME of their life back.
        Let’s say YOU are the wrongfully convicted; how would you feel about the death penalty then?

    • Why not just that if killing someone is wrong, then killing someone is wrong. Period.

  4. Remember how those four rcmp cops in the Vancouver Airport lied about how Robert Dziekanski died?

    Meet the same kind of cop who will be lying in court where the death penalty would be imposed if the suspect is found guilty!

  5. What a tragedy this whole event was, and this horror will live over and over in the minds of the victims families , the murderer’s family and of course Travis Baumgartner after he spends his 40 years in jail. From the media’s point of view, in the courtroom he had appeared disinterested in court, and had a smug look on his face. I believe there will be a point in time, when he will realize his full actions and all the pain and suffering, and he will
    certainly take his own life in prison. It is understand his natural father was never around as parents divorced , when he was quite young, so in all honesty, we hear more and more of this violence when there is no Father figure to be the authorative figure growing up. How can you hate on his family though? As you do not know what your child will grow up to be in life……as parents we need to focus alot more love and attention to our children, and remind ourselves WE are never too busy to listen and spend time with them.