I feel pity for Colonel Williams if he’s guilty - Macleans.ca

I feel pity for Colonel Williams if he’s guilty

Barbara Amiel on the blessing and the curse of human sexuality


Col. Russell WilliamsReading about Col. Russell Williams, the soldier who allegedly has a taste for stolen ladies’ underwear, sexual assault and murder (likely sexual murder, though police are tight-lipped on details), gets one thinking, or at least it gets me thinking, about the “why”: why do any human beings have this special predilection? As far as I know, no other species kills for sexual excitement. Possibly there exists in tall grasses or stony wastelands some terrible creature, weird bird or testosterone-filled amoeba that needs to tie up the object of desire in sticky strands of something in order to satiate needs, but wouldn’t we have heard of it were it common?

A number of animals and insects kill their mates, but for logical reasons. The victim may be a food source or is simply an irritant. They may become homicidal because a mate refuses to mate or insists on it. The black widow spider does not inevitably kill during or after copulation any more than the praying mantis, but both can do it if the male is not cunning enough to dismount at the right moment and escape being a tasty snack. The notion that these insects are aroused sexual predators is one of those myths that human beings—who may indeed need violence to achieve arousal—have ascribed to the innocent arachnid in a display of redirected psychopathy.

Perhaps our uniqueness in this matter explains our culture’s fascination with a hint of sexual murder. The presumed innocent colonel had barely been fingered and fingerprinted before the announcement was made of a book about him to be published this fall. The author is a newspaper reporter, in itself not a promising start, but so in a manner of speaking was the great author Émile Zola. All the same, were it Zola or Tolstoy, a book purporting to say anything insightful about Williams by this fall, when he will be inaccessible and any letters, diaries or genuine artifacts unavailable, can only be alluring trash at best based on tittle-tattle.

It starts with children’s books—this preoccupation with sexual murder. All those princesses who get knocked off by Bluebeard- type husbands. I remember the fairy tale of The Robber Bridegroom in which the young maiden watches another beautiful young maiden going through the Grimm Brothers’ version of date rape with her fiancé and his friends. The girl is force-fed alcohol, stripped, put naked on a table and cut into pieces and eaten. Yes, kiddies. And that’s what will happen to you if you take a chocolate biscuit from a stranger. In such fairy-tale worlds, the victim is usually a beautiful young girl, often a princess. There isn’t any explicit account of the murderer getting “off” on his nefarious deed, but there’s a fairly not-so-subtle subtext. The murderer doesn’t kill his ugly blacksmith or the old woman in a shoe. No literary genre here but what history professor Daniel A. Cohen calls a “cultural motif”—the beautiful female murder victim.

In the Williams story, she’s green-eyed 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd, who now joins a long list of beautiful young victims featured in newspaper accounts as far back as the 17th century. Actually, reporting murder trials became common in 18th-century English journalism; the 19th century went further, making a genre out of printing court testimony with all the naughty bits about what was done to the female corpse.

There aren’t really reliable statistics on sexual murder because until recently most jurisdictions simply kept track of the worst aspect of a crime (if you burgled, raped, mutilated and then murdered, the evening’s work would simply be listed as “murder”). A lot of sexual murders may never make it to print or TV. But add an incongruity between aspects of a person’s being, that’s front-page crime. Anyone can steal from the collection plate, but if the bishop does, it’s top item on the evening news.

Outstanding citizen in one facet and criminal deviant in another—it is mind-blowing. I’ve never quite looked at my dentist the same way since the British cosmetic dentist Colin Howell, father of 10, super implant man and apparently dentist to the Jordanian royal family, was remanded for trial last year on murder and indecent assault after allegedly using chloroform to drug female patients. And, of course, Britain’s Dr. Harold Shipman, whose motives are cloudy but included material ones, focused on elderly women (gerontophilia?) and murdered dozens, possibly hundreds of them. His patients, those who survived, adored him.

Williams is said to be on suicide watch. He may have confessed already—although if you are a military commander, allegedly being caught stealing used lingerie is enough to drive a man to hang himself. But as a handsome high achiever, probably good at the administrative tasks that make you a base commander in peacetime, we come back to it: what makes humans criminally assault, let alone kill, for sex when you could get bondage and sadomasochistic partners from the Yellow Pages?

Human sexuality is a blessing and a curse. You can be wired for a need that is illegal and happily becomes legal—like homosexuality and oral sex—or wired for one that hasn’t made it yet, like necrophilia. You can be a psychopath who remorselessly enjoys killing as a thrill-seeking device, or a non-psychopath who desperately needs forbidden thrills for arousal. Nothing I write should be construed as underestimating the terrible suffering his actions may have caused, but I feel pity for the colonel if he is guilty. Repressing urges, psychologists and experience tell us, can be effective or heat them up. In Williams’s case, the pot may simply have boiled over.


I feel pity for Colonel Williams if he’s guilty

  1. Where do I even begin to unpack this?

    While I wait to stop small-puking in my mouth so I can form a response, I'd like to at least point out that insects cannot become "homicidal," as homicide refers to the act of a human being killing another human being.

    • "Small-puking". Perfect. I wonder if Barbara knows that "sexual murder" has very little to do with sex, but instead is saturated with controlling and objectifying victims? I wonder if she would feel pity if her sister, mother, daughter was the victim?

      • Perhaps she needs Her head examined.

    • I completely agree. This is a horrendous commentary on a horrifying situation, but I guess we should expect nothing less from a woman who clearly values material wealth much more than any of the "great unwashed" she has been forced to interact with over the past few years.

      Ms. Amiel clearly doesn't have the slightest grasp on the criminological study of sexual murder. It is NEVER about obtaining sexual satisfaction, but rather power and control. Sex (and I use this term loosely) is merely the vehicle through which dominance can be established and is most effective. This is why castration is not a viable option for serial sexual predators.

      I pity you, Barbara Amiel. Your ignorance and lack of compassion for the victims (and there WILL be more, I guarantee it) is astounding. Crawl back into your closet of couture (oh wait, that doesn't exist anymore…whoops!) and let the real journalists do their job.

  2. "the pot may simply have boiled over."

    This trivializes at least two murders and many many more very damaged lives. If Col Williams has done everything he is charged with I strongly suspect he be declared a "Dangerous Offender" and locked up for the balance of his days.

    • I agree that saying"the pot simply boiled boiled over" is sooo stupid! I'm certain now that the writer is as empty-headed & insensitive as I thout she was. This piece of drivel is not worth reading & people like her shouldn't pretend to understand everything & it just speculating and spreading rumours. Yes, I hope Col. Williams is locked up for his entire life..that would be justice. Murder is Murder and Life should be Life. Marilu

  3. One wonders if the author also feel pity for Paul Bernardo. How about Willie Pickton? Clifford Olson? I know a guy who met Clifford Olson, so does the author too, apparently (Worthington), he's a pure psychopath not worthy of a whit of pity.

    The author is an intelligent, veteran newspaperwoman and knows full well this deliberately inflammatory column will get the public's attention. We call that trolling here on the net.

    • Intelligent?? newspaper writer..an intelligent person would think twice about such writing, I think Conrad didn't marry her for her intelligence..below her neck is what counted perhaps. That article just peeves me off.

    • Col. Williams knows what he did was wrong that's why he tried to hide it for so long..I'll bet he was thinking,even as he was in the process of the crime that at least he won't be given the death sentence for it..& I also think he enjoyed that thought so much it made it easy for him to continue. As for Barbara's dumb-as-a-stump article — let us not confuse I.Q. with E.Q. Articles about Col. Williams state that he was intelligint too..look where that got him.

      • Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Most known and successful sociopaths are highly intelligent thus enabling and prolonging their Unconscionable slaughter. Intelligence is not always an indicator of refinement, and in cases as this it's but a reminder that evil can take all forms and any disguise.

    • Well said. "I feel pity " can be construed no less than another sociopath in the making.

  4. Complete this Multiple Choice Question

    This article is:
    a) repulsive
    b) creepy
    c) distasteful
    d) nasty
    e) all of the above
    I fail to see the legitimate point or purpose of it.

    • All of the above. I mistakenly thought this was a news-item. How disappointing to find such stuff in MacLeans. . .

    • deleted6877206 wrote: – Complete this Multiple Choice Question
      This article is:
      a) repulsive
      b) creepy
      c) distasteful
      d) nasty
      e) all of the above

      To my mind, the question and the multiple choices should not have just
      limited only and merely to this 'piece of trash' article, but rather, also, in
      reference to the author herself.

      My choice concerning both the aricle and the author –
      "E- All of The Above"

  5. I note that the writer did not offer any opinion or comment on how William's should be treated or what his sentence should be for his horrible crimes, only sorrow that the condition should exist at all. I am not always in agreement with Amiel's columns but she is certainly a lot smarter and more sensitive than many of her readers. Well written Ms. Amiel.

  6. the reason WHY men commit violent sexual acts on women is because of a pervasive social division of power called patriarchy, which is a series of systems devised by men that is inherently biased in their favour and thus oppressive. we live in a world where male interests dominate cultures regardless of race or class differences, and the "equality" women have achieved is nothing more than lip service in this structure, evidenced by a number of examples – the most relevant being the sexual violence that women experience every day at the hands of men (men are assaulted too, but I refer to a social phenomenon in which it is overwhelmingly men who commit acts of violence against women). another pervasive example of patriarchy is the female author's reaction of pity for the "sexual deviant." he is not a deviant. he is commonplace. and there is nothing sexy or pitiful about his actions nor the actions of many, many men who rape and murder women daily. i am ashamed to even read this horrible media pandering at the expense of your own gender that lends credibility to the notion that all men who commit violent sexual acts against women are psychopaths that we should feel sorry for. educate yourself or stop writing.

    • To say that the Williams story is all about patriarchy doesn't ring with me; to say that it is about power and how a man was insane with the idea of sexual power is more to the point, I think. I don't think Colonial Williams particularly likes the person he is, probably is quite relieved to be stopped, probably also thinks he should be punished severely, even killed. However, that does not help us solve the problems of humans, why good people can do horrible things. If we get all caught up in revenge, we simply get lost ourselves.


      • You're comment is most likely of all. I expect the Colonel was glad he was caught because they are tormented with guilt and desire. It is a terrible existence in a society full of temptation. He is out of it now…


    • How much money have we spent on your type of hate? Too much. Enough with "we hate men". How do you think the men who were little boys were destroyed at Cornwall Ontario. For over twenty years boys were marginalized because of the stupidity of your "we hate men" view of life. In Ontario schools we don't bother catching woman sex offenders because we can simply blame men for everything. That is sick! Where are all the assults center to defend little boys from male and female sex offenders? We don't even allow the Ombudsmen / Ombudsperson into schools which are dominated by female teachers. Open the doors of your mind and close the door of hate. Turn the page already. Enough is enough. Protect people from crime. Make our systems work not feed this male hating silllyness.

    • Patriarchy? Perhaps in your world….perhaps in a 3rd world country or middle eastern culture…but I just went through a divorce trial…and I can tell you right now, if this is presumed to be a "man's world"…it's definitely a womans Family legal system. My former spouse manipulated the courts using terminology and keywords that women's lib have created and manipulated in order to gain personal and gender bias. An involved and loving father and husband for 15 years was completely discounted.

      It's a WOMAN'S world….and we men are finding ourselves in an awkward position of "where do we fit"……the pendulum has swung to the extreme other side, and men of this generation are suffering for the mistakes of past generations.

      As for Williams, he is a psychopath…his actions are that of a psychopath, NOT of all men in any patriarchal society. His mental problems are his own, no one elses. Unless you can get into his head, his thoughts throughout every step of his life, anything you say is nothing but speculation and theory.

      • My heart goes out to for having been abused by the system (for the record, I am a 64-year-old female). Not sure that I agree with your view that it's a woman's world. To apply your own reasoning, your situation is your "own, no one elses". It is dangerous and inaccurate to extrapolate from an individual case, and apply it to all. However, you are right on the money when you say that we cannot get into Williams' head, nor to make assumptions about all men. He is most certainly not Everyman, and I feel very sorry for women like Fazeela who perpetuate hatred towards men.

        Good luck to you, "justaguy"!!

        • Identifying and critiquing a patriarchal society does not mean that one hates men. This is a misrepresentation, and one of the oldest ones in the book. (from comment below, but it seems to need to be made again):

          No one with a feminist analysis in these comments made any claim requiring justification or indicating that they hate men.
          I see a lot of people working themselves into a froth over feminists hating men only to find that if they listen carefully, we don't hold the views they've rashly attributed to us. It's a classic debating trick to exaggerate and therefore misrepresent another person's positon. If knowing someone's understanding of the world differs from yours causes you to lose a sense of perspective when talking to them so that as soon as you hear certain trigger words you start grafting inaccurately assumed attitudes onto them, you're no longer communicating- you're merely rehearsing your own prejudices. Like saying “You just hate God” to someone who says “I'm an atheist” or saying “You're close-minded” to someone who says “I don't believe in ghosts” or saying “You think you know everything” to someone who says “I'm a scientist.” It's exactly the same to say “You just hate men” to someone who says “I'm a feminist,” which is truly close-minded.

    • Well said and I agree…she should stop writing.

    What scares me is that we talk, talk and talk about what ifs and really we do nothing to stop this from happening. Good people are thrown in jail for speaking up like Perry Dunlop who almost single-handedly with his investigations stop repeat sex offences in Cornwall Ontario. More recently, James Black a former Justice of the Peace, twice nominated for the Order of Canada, and nominated Prime Ministers teachers award and yes a teacher recognized for having his students invited to New York City by the September 11th Fund in 2002 reported by Macleans Magazine. What did he do so wrong that the Ontario College of Teachers fined him $1,000 and suspended him two years from teaching in Ontario. A total of $181,000 in penalty and fines. He opposed sex offenders being allowed to teach in classrooms where there was a very good chance a victim or family member would be forced to attend the same school.

  8. I read where he confessed to the dirty deeds and took the police to the ditch where Lloyd's body had been placed. It's too bad someone didn't kick the s..t out of this guy years before he joined the Canadian Forces. [I hope the author of the article does not get hauled up in front of a Human Rights Commission somewhere in view of some of the people who seem to be all perturbed by her article]

    Canada, we have to suck it up and stopped blah blah blahing all the time. It is time we had Whistleblower legislation through-out Canada to stop institutions from ignoring their moral responsibilities to children, and stop institutions from overlooking victims who face sex offenders in classrooms. We need Whistleblower legislation just in case some one figured out how young woman end up suspiciously dead and want to blow the whistle on even a Military Officers. Who should we feel sorry for? The next victim!

  10. I agree that humans, of all cultures to varying degrees, commit atrocities in the process of entertaining, clothing and feeding ourselves. I do take major exception to the belief of PETA types that simply eating meat makes me a barbarian, when I do my best to ensure that animals dying for my consumption are treated humanely and killed humanely. There is nothing ethically wrong with eating meat – if there were, all carnivorous animals have to be considered unethical, and that logic does not hold.

    As for Amiel, she is elitist trash.

    • Elitish trash??? Come on she got you contributing didn't she. That is her job to get you thinking. We all come to grips with the real world in our own way. If she is "elite" what are you classified as…non elite. Look at Tommy Douglas he was so elite he was tracked by the RCMP. Some things are just foolish as in the case of Tommy D. while what happened to these woman is just wrong. Now if you do nothing about making it possible to report people like the accused Williams…shame on you and shame on any one who says anything about this case. Demand we have Whistle Blower legislation in this country and demand a review of policing in Canada. We owe it to all future victims of such crimes.

      • A lot of us who wrote comments didn't need Barabara Amiel and her rape apologist argument to get us thinking. We were already thinking.

        We're speaking up because it's the quickest, most direct tactic with which to try to undo the damage that this kind of argument causes to women, arguments that advance the ideologies that depoliticize and therefore support violence against women.

        • What is the logic in this…. I believe so therefore it must be true.
          " damage that this kind of argument causes to women," you must be kidding. Saying nothing and doing nothing allows the problem to continue.
          I still think I shouldn't eat my carrots or patatoes that will stop men from crime…Yah right!

      • Yes, I am non-elite – i.e. I don't continually pontificate about how hard it is for me to live my life as an upper class, wealthy, snobbish, person with a massively inflated ego and sense of entitlement, always coming to the defence of such helpless victims as Conrad Black, Roman Polanski, and now Williams.

        If you think Tommy Douglas is an elitist, I don't think you know what the term means. If Williams committed these crimes, he deserves life in prison without parole. In the meantime, he deserves the presumption of innocence and a fair trial, nothing more.

  11. One Brave young woman apparently said it just before she was murdered by Paul B and Karla B. "Enough is enough."
    Now do what we can to protect members of our society and get on with it. Keep Canada boring with little or no crime, put our police officers and the courst out of business or get them doing as litle as possible. That should be our objective.

  12. If this is in fact a situation where feeling sorry might be possible why didn't the alleged perpetrator feel sorry for himself and seek counselling the first time he became aware of his deviant feelings.

  13. I found Barbara Amiel's article very interesting and provocative. I knew a future serial killer in his teen years, before he had killed, and from his comments back then believe he was trying to repress suicidal tendencies, and get control of his life. He felt inadequate and lonely, even empty. This was a bright young fellow from an upper middle class family. A lot of teenagers have these feelings, but they were more acute in this fellow. The pot boiling over idea makes sense for him. And it may have boiled over for Col Williams, as well, if he is indeed guilty of these crimes, but I would expect much earlier, by his twenties.

  14. Gee I better stop eating carrots or patatoes. Wouldn't want to hurt the little things.

  15. Brilliant analysis, Bluemlein. We also do not know if this is cureable.

  16. Why does Maclean's continue to publish the puerile ravings of the world's biggest golddigger who, not long ago, tried to defend Roman Polanski for raping a 13-year-old child. It doesn't sell subscriptions; I cancelled mine long ago because of this woman and now I only read it online. For free. Start charging, and I'm out of here.

  17. Any comment~any~ WHILE THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT is in extremely bad taste and could reflect on the outcome of the trials to come.
    The presumption of innocence is now destroyed. The chance of a fair trial is now impossible.
    The fault lies with the media and those that comment in threads such as this.
    Why don't you all just shut up and allow justice take it's course.
    Including my dear old friend Babs, and all other writers contributing nothing in daily weekly and monthly publications.
    The defense will have a ball with this noise, and can argue it is impossible for the incarcerated Colonel to get a fair and imjpartial trial anywhere in Canada.
    Again, all of you. Just shut tghe hell up!

    • I was just about thinking of writing you comment as a reply.You Did It.So all of the involved . WHY DOND YOU JUST SHUT THE F**&&^% UP

  18. Mr.Carr has hit the nail with a very large hammer.
    Too bad he didn't use it beginning when the colonel was first arrested, tossed into a cell to rot for the next year or so til this comes to trial.
    Mrs. Lord Black has a propensity to add her quivering voice to subjects she has no knowledgs of.
    This is oe of many.
    Could good old CONrad be tutoring her from his jailcell at Coleman Pen in Florida.
    When he is released in about 5 years. Old Babawa will be rotting in a grave in the better part of the cemetary.

  19. "…probably good at the administrative tasks that make you a base commander in peacetime…"

    Well since the femnazi and "meat is murder" weirdos haave already gone to town on the other pendantic drivel in this "article", I wanted to address this particular line above.

    I know Babs lives in a tight little bubble bought, paid for, and secured with 'Lord' Black's filthy luchre, where she does need to let those silly little 'facts' the lumpenprole cling to interfere with her taking on the burden of pondering "wither the little people", but lemme shine a little light into the dark corner. Cont…

  20. The Canadian Army is AT WAR with the muj-wannabes and the dead-end Wahabbists. You know, the nice fellows who have publicly expressed their desire to murder and mutilate every last one of us filthy kufir out here in the Dar-Al-Harb (which is a hilarious tanget to get onto another time…). The lads from 1 PPCLI are tonight under contact and returning fire with this subset of jackholes who have declared themselves the sworn enemey of the Great Satan and the Little Satans (that includes us, Babs, if you're paying attention and keeping track). Whike most of the sheeple are at war only with their waistline and their CC debt or perhaps the lines at the mall, the CF is in an actual declared shooting war. And guess where those poor bloody infantry grunts start their journey off of the continent… Here's a hint; TRENTON. And think on where the bullets those grunts are firing start their journey to the eventual destination of the jihadi's brain pan. Yup, TRENTON. Of any base in Canada, if only one is at war, it is Trenton.

    Some people's kids…

  21. Does anyone take Barbara Amiel seriously? What a pompous hack.

  22. I have given up on humans. We were created with a defect in our genes. Study history and war is always the underlying factor. Humans were designed to kill. Given the right time or circumstances, we all can be like William Russell. I feel sorry not only for the victims, William Russell and Amiel but the whole human race. We are a creation mistake. The sooner we are gone the better.

    • There is no time or circumstance that can make 99.9% of the population be like William Russell i.e. terrorize 4 and kill 2 people for sexual or control issues. Even a select group like those who join the police or military in most cases have to overcome a revulsion to killing to do their duty. Some people can't bring themselves to kill even in self defense and die for it. The person I feel sorry for is Hopeless who is hopelessly wrong and focusing on one extreme of humanity, the dreadfully flawed without even mentioning the wonderfully noble other extreme and the vast majority of people who have no desire to harm anyone.

      • Dacher Keltner: Born to Be Good
        Berkeley Arts and Letters

        Do you have any explanation for greedy guys in government. They're already so rich. Why do they need more money? What are they going to do with it?

        Go to: 59:44 point in below video http://fora.tv/2009/01/21/Dacher_Keltner_Born_to_

  23. From the author, misdirected pity for the pitiless. From some of the man-hating commenters, an attempt to extrapolate the sins of another psychopath like Gamil Gharbi (better known as Marc Lepine) to all men, including our fathers, brothers, sons and husbands. All in all a bad misfire (no pun intended).

    • By looking at the problems of a society based on an analysis of masculinist dominance or claiming I am a feminist, I am not claiming to hate men. This is a misrepresentation. No one with a feminist analysis in these comments made any claim requiring justification or indicating that they hate men.
      I see a lot of people working themselves into a froth over feminists hating men only to find that if they listen carefully, we don't hold the views they've rashly attributed to us. It's a classic debating trick to exaggerate and therefore misrepresent another person's positon. If knowing someone's understanding of the world differs from yours causes you to lose a sense of perspective when talking to them so that as soon as you hear certain trigger words you start grafting inaccurately assumed attitudes onto them, you're no longer communicating- you're merely rehearsing your own prejudices. Like saying “You just hate God” to someone who says “I'm an atheist” or saying “You're close-minded” to someone who says “I don't believe in ghosts” or saying “You think you know everything” to someone who says “I'm a scientist.” It's exactly the same to say “You just hate men” to someone who says “I'm a feminist,” which is truly close-minded.

  24. I used to think you were an intelligent woman! Pity?!!!! Perhaps you require some "help"?

  25. Wow, what a piece of garbage journalism. I believe Mr. Williams is a sociopath…….someone with no conscience. Feeling sorry for him is exactly what he wants. Could we please find someone educated in the field to write these stories? That would be the responsible thing to do.

  26. Oh Babs, where to start…
    Sexual deviants don't kill for "excitement", they kill to get rid of the main witness against them. Duh, duh, duh. And the remainder of this column is utter bullshit. Looks like you've developed a kinship with thugs and rapists and murderers. Would this have anything to do with hubby Blackie's new found fame?

  27. The Barbara Amiel I knew over 50 years ago and the Maclean's Magazine that I subscribed to for many years would never have written or printed such drivel. Russell Williams is no longer a Colonel nor is he to be pitied. When first apprehended, it was reported that he led the police to the body of one of his victims as well as to some of the women's clothes he had kept. Barbara should "pull up her socks" and set her sights on better horizons and Maclean's should stop insulting the intelligence and decency of its readers!
    Samantha N. Brown

  28. I am in shock that any thinking, feeling human being could offer pity to such a beast! I am still experiencing post-traumatic stress from an attack on me by a previous sexual offender in 2002. Despite being brutally victimized, I can still not fully relate to the pain of the families, the victims, and all of the others who's lives were casually dumped by the twisted Col.Williams. Barbra's attitude for me signifies the numbing of society to violence, especially sexual violence against women. I cannot comprehend how people can disconnect when they watch the horrors on CSI and the like. When I glipse or hear these shows, I live out the horror in my mind, and I see the psychopathic eyes of my attacker!

    The evil is real, Barbara Amiel, and you and your kind are promoting it! Why don't you send the psycho a love letter in jail! Maybe you and he can have a pity party when he's convicted!

  29. I found the article went nowhere and used all kinds of wierd examples to try and justify some vague idea. It is a shame that someone gets paid for producing this article.

  30. Barbara raises an interesting and timely question: What causes people to do these awful things? As long as we continue to howl for retribution and lament about demons and monsters we will be no further ahead than our medieval ancestors in understanding this phenomenon and no closer to preventing future tragedies.

    I will also note that very little is known of the facts of this case. Almost every media report is based on anonymous sources which may be true or exaggerated or local gossip. I have a sense that there are a lot of surprises ahead in this case.

    One last comment: All or you amateur psychiatrists who have jumped to the conclusion that Williams is a sociopath are missing the obvious. Sociopaths don't confess, don't lead the cops to the bodies of their victims, don't tell them where they can find evidence of their guilt and don't admit to other crimes. If indeed Williams has done any of these things (as has been reported, thanks to various anonymous sources), then it's unlikely that he's sociopath (or psychopath). His behaviour, if the reports are accurate, is more in line with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

    • Jane Dough they have been studying these animals for what seems forever. Some people are just wired wrong…Period! I don't feel sorry for this sicko…pump a round into his head and be done with it!

  31. i do not appreciate these kinds of pictures showing an accused army person suggesting, oh he's fine… hes a nice guy, nicey this and nicey that…yeah right…stop that macleans…you are attempting to sway public opinion sympathy just like you did in the child killer latimer case who should stay in prison for life….that was a hate crime and he has not shown any remorse…thinking oh what i did i advanced humanity…sick men… sick… sick… depraved weak lil men…

    • Latimer was by all accounts a loving father to the disabled daughter he killed to ease her pain and avoid further surgeries. You may disagree with his decision, preferring to watch your own child suffer to spending time in jail yourself, but there is no evidence to call it a hate crime.

  32. Say Barbara…do you want to marry him too? You could join that little known list of women who marry killers while they're incarcerated. Which usually is a good thing, after all, they are killers.

  33. Ooops sorry. Can't say the bs word here. Here is what waht "deleted by the administrator."

    Oh Babs… where to start. Rapists don't kill for "excitement", they kill to eliminate the main witness against them. Duh. As for the rest of this article, utter bs.

  34. Barbara, don't let these small-minded misogynists get you down. It's just anger for your husband's misdeeds misdirected at you. Ad hominem attacks are poor excuses for rebuttal, and speak more to their authors' pettiness than to your article. Keep your spirits up in this time of public stoning and keep showing these cowardly, rude, anonymous internet bullies how you became what they, by dint of their lack of character, can never hope to be.

  35. See what I mean?

  36. Amiel– U are simply saying these things- 2 provoke!!! Tell us what U really think? For psychopaths–or any other type of killers– there is only one answer– a bullet!!! They cannot fit themselves into society– don't think normally–have 2 hide their feelings–never divuldge–2 anyone– what their mind is capable of–their whole life is a fraud–nobody can change their way of thinking–it's b een proven over & over again–most of them say– they don't even know why they do i t!!!!!

  37. Barbara, there is a pig farmer in BC whom would like you to extend similar sympathies to him. However he did not attend UCC like your incarcerated husband, he did not graduate from U of T and did not excel as a glamourous flyboy driving expensive cars. However he does share extreme hatred of women with Williams so how about it?

  38. Barbara , if you are really interested in this subject , get a copy of "Hostage to The Devil" by Malachi Martin. In it he documents 5 cases of living Americans who were possessed by evil , and how they were delivered from it.

    This type of reading is not for the faint of heart, but does give a glimpse of how some people are more affected by "evil" than others.

    Best regards.

  39. This perpetrator has no conscience. He feels no kinship with human beings, because he only appears to be human. Like so many of his kind, he has perfected a facade to disguise what he is, and he is a consummate actor. These "things" live among us, largely unremarked. They are the spousal abusers, the workplace bullies, and yes, the rapists, the contract killers, the serial killers. What fool would feel pity for such remorseless evil?

  40. How can you have pity on a psycopath? Such a person has no empathy or remorse.

    One person in 100 is a psycopath and males being the way they are means that females should not feel free to roam on their own in nightclube, trails, woods etc. or even be at home alone unless well secured.

    When I say males being the way they are, I mean stronger, more preditory and more sexually oriented.

    Most men would never kill but a psychopath would, in fact most men are protectors.

  41. One guest asked if a psycopath could be 'cured', well the answer is a resounding NO.
    The brain is already wired this way and connot be undone.
    My question would be, is this damage done befor birth or after; if after then adults would have to know how to treat infants, but remember, some parents are psycopaths, mentally ill, drug or alcohol addicts etc.
    Normal parents should be able to learn the facts if society would wake up to the situation.

  42. Barbara Amiel is a creep.

  43. Amiel knows better and is just yanking everyones chain – worked didn't it?? this is an article about nothing – she must have a bad case of writers block to come up with this drivel. Come on Babs – give us all a break and go back to Boca Raton and do whatever it is you REALLY do… this proves it – you aren't a journalist anymore.

  44. Oh my God Barbara Amiel , hope you can save some pity and sympathy when the Devil is in hell. But by that time he wont need it.

    For some people sexuality -is- a evil devious twisted knot, Hollywood stories are rife with imaginative serial killers and rapists. IN real life America, the plague of serial killers are jaw dropping and frightening, check it out sometime.

    That we are need of a genuine response in this country to missing women that moves beyond reactions of indignation and yawning indifference only behooves those dedicated to this misbegotten cause to me more stalwart, unwavering and immovable.

    In my opinion, it is this slack jaw attitude is something that should be removed from our body politic as a country of peoples.

    But my self, I pity more his family and his associates, underlings, peoples respect he had "earned" and peoples who hired him.
    Dined with him, laughed with him….right up to his arrest.

  45. "Psychopathy is also a problematic diagnosis because the PCLR tool used to diagnose it is severely methodologically flawed. "

    I'm interested in hearing more on this – I hope you'll post again.

    I've had extensive personal experience with someone I believe to be a psychopath (a privately violent and sadistic family member who is publicly a well regarded medical professional), and a fair degree of exposure to what Hare would call sub-criminal psychopaths in business. But, in my opinion, the PCL-R traits don't adequately describe the individuals I've known – they seem to be biased towards identifying incarcerated criminals (and only the males at that) and don't adequately capture traits of socially competent predators. Nor is there much study of psychopathy and/or sociopathy in women.

  46. Re: your first statement – "a good attempt" by Ms. Amiel – I couldn't disagree more. I completely agree with item e) in sprite1949's MC questionnaire. The only possible good that could come out of this abomination of an article is that we more fully examine how the Colonel Williams of the world are created. Ideally we would do that without having to read this type of drivel.

  47. "having examined his background more closely one might make a case for williams ritualistically assaulting and murdering the object of his deepest hatred and confusion, his mother"

    I think you've made an important point. However…

    I'm always astounded that, even though it's widely know that there is frequently SEVERE childhood abuse in the past of many violent criminals, and even though bodies like the CDC have identified that the majority of violence against children (including murder) is committed by women, when we theorize about the possible family background influences of male rapist-murderers, we invariably point to trivialities in terms of their female care-givers, like "feelings of abandonment" over divorce. I'm not trying to skewer women here (nor you), quite the opposite. If we truly want to treat women as equals we need to be prepared to call a spade a spade. Human violence is about power relationships, not about gender. Men and women are equally capable of it.

  48. Why is Amiel still a columnist for Maclean's? She used to write well (her first autobiography was great). But recently, her columns are drivel. Self-absorbed, pompous, insignificant drivel.

  49. I usually do not agree with Amiel and I think she could have worded her piece better BUT I too feel sorry for people who are born or become monsters. That in no way means I think sexual and violent predators should be allowed among people. Society does almost nothing to protect potential victims. Is there anyone who does not think a restraining order is a ridiculous response to a history of violence? Does anyone think a repeat or, in many cases, even a first-time sexual offender should be among the general populace? is anyone asking about the history, in the military, as in the Catholic church, of transferring known or suspected offenders of all kinds rather than dealing with them?

  50. Hello thoughtfulresponse,
    You response to bluemlein is both right, and wrong. Your anger is understandable.

    It's true we shouldn't prejudge C. Williams mother, there isn't enough information to make any accusation like that. But there isn't enough information either to say that anyone in his family is just a "poor victim". Criminals like that don't spring up out of nowhere. Where ddi he learn this? There is always some influence to start them down the wrong road, usually from the family. We need to keep an open mind either way.

    • If anyone would just read some Alice Miller, society would finally wake up and realize that monsters are not born, they are made. They are made via their moms and dads etc. I expect the ex-Col. to have suffered horrible horrible abuse as a child. I also expect that no one will talk about it and they would sing the praises of their parents. That's what abused children do. That's why their bodies scream out in pain like the joint pain the ex-Col was speaking about. The body doesn't lie. The brain does, that's how one survives an abusive childhood.

      • Thanks so much for posting this. As a survivor of severe childhood abuse myself I find it frustrating that what we're seeing in court is covered as being so shocking and so rare, when the truth is that hundreds (if not thousands) of children regularly endure this type of abuse. The only difference being that it is rarely seen or investigated, and it doesn't hit the news. And the media trots out only those "experts" who won't mention it.

        In case you get a hard time for saying things like this, here are some sources to back you up:
        Health Canada Publication: http://dsp-psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection/H72-21-143-
        Prof. who treat offenders: http://www.theright2besafe.org/education.htm (the relevant link is "Chapter 4: Females and Child Sexual Abuse) http://www.trowbridgefoundation.org/docs/victim_i
        CDC – links between childhood abuse and adult disease: http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm

  51. I feel piety for hte fool who raped and killed women.. but hey they are just women right.. poor sick soldier.. maybe if he kills and rapes a few more it might cure his diseases.. poor guy.. maybe he killed and raped little girls in afghainstan and iraq ..but that doesnt' matter coz athey are not canadians and hence have lesser value in the human food chain.

  52. What do black rapists inherit?

  53. This man is pure evil. Why would anyone feel pity. What would you say if it was your daughter Barbara.

  54. I am sorry Barbara, you may be a great writer but what you just wrote is bull … even I a 70 year okd mother and x service member knowns this

  55. Well, goodness knows, Ms. Amiel could tell us a thing or two about men who do strange things and end up in prison…..but I digress….

    How odd of the woman to put human homosexuality (that is sexual relations between consenting adults) on the same linear progression as necrophelia (where, by definition, there can be no consent). Truly a weird way of looking at the unfolding of human history. I pity her gay friends.

  56. Remember this sicko's military career has nothing to do with understanding him – except when Lady Black is feting him…

  57. I agree with Rae's thoughts, just above – comparing sex acts between consenting adults and the things Williams did. Breaking into houses was deviant enough – he, uh, also tortured and murdered.

    Where is the pity for the victims?

    It leaves me shocked. What is Macleans or any magazine doing pubishing this twit? Very weird.

  58. When he broke in to houses, he didn't just steal lingerie, he wore the items proudly, to make him like their owners. His sexual excitement would have been matched by his simultaneous fear of being discovered. To use the alcoholic or drug addict analogy, he needed to increase the thrill and risk; hence assaults and murders and maybe even a hope of being caught.

    • I believe he had no idea who he was, when he wasn't in military command mode. He needed a manly occupation to mask his feelings, which he hated and suppressed. Although he was desperately in need of psychological counseling years ago, he was either ignorant or resistant to that fact. Besides, how could the Queen's pilot and commander of the country's largest Air Force base go to his boss and say, "I have these urges and compulsions to be and dress like my Flight Attendant and am insanely jealous of her; so much so in fact that I could kill her." How would that have gone down? At least he would have just lost his job and two females would still be alive.

      These writings by Carl Jung sum it up very well. http://psikoloji.fisek.com.tr/jung/shadow.htm

  59. Agreed.

  60. I am a young woman. I do not like violence , I am very against men violating women sexually or otherwise. I am all for punishing such wrong doers , murderers and the likes who are unfit to be let loose in society.
    But I did read the article by Mr Black with great interest. She is like so many have insinuated by way of pungent comments not favouring violence against women, murder or advocating dismissals without punishment of the likes of William Russel. She is merely deliberating intellectually on what provokes a human mind to suddenly become so maniacally destructive of its own kind. contd

  61. It is paramount for us all a human beings to understand the psychology of why one of us causes such damage to another individual or a few other individuals. we must take time to study the cause of such aggravated deviant behaviour. Such studies help us amend situations where such extreme violence could be born.
    In the case of Williams, what could a theoretically successful man who looks good on paper, who has lived a pretty public life in our Military , the motto of which organisation is to defend and protect suddenly became a sexual predator, rapist and a murderer.
    To quote Mrs Black
    'what makes humans criminally assault, let alone kill, for sex when you could get bondage and sadomasochistic partners from the Yellow Pages?'
    It is very important for the advancement of human civilisation to understand and study such erratic behaviour in order to stop it.
    so with all due respect to comments hereabouts, i re iterate me being a single young woman who is very traditional and is not open to any sexual deviance and is definitely not attracted to violent men sure want intellectuals to openly debate and study why the human mind suddenly turns predatory and preys on its own. As only then can we pave way to stop it.

  62. You lost me at “pity for Williams”.