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

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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.

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