This is a Love Story
May 27, 2005 9:44 AM   Subscribe

A Canadian Love Story Your husband is a serial rapist. You are a veterinary clinic worker who wants to give him something special for Christmas. How about giving your younger sister as a rape toy? [more inside]
posted by RockCorpse (87 comments total)

 
So you steal some sedatives from the clinic. He starts feeding her drinks and the camera's rolling. She's out cold and he has his way with her. Then things start to go very wrong: she throws up and chokes to death. You get away with it. So you figure it's okay to kidnap, rape, torture and murder several other girls. You get caught.

Eventually, you both are charged and convicted for these crimes . The prosecutors offer you a sweetheart deal to sell your darling husband up the river for the murder of your sister, thus reducing your sentence to 12 years and protecting you from further prosecution. This is great, 'cuz they really have know idea how complicit you actually are.

But all of Canada knows who you are, what you've done and what you look like. There are tens of thousands of web sites and discussion forums dedicated to you. You will be released on July 5, 2005. Where will you go?

Welcome back, Karla.
posted by RockCorpse at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2005


Look up "enabler" in the dictionary: Hello, Karla!
posted by wendell at 10:03 AM on May 27, 2005


Very disturbing...great post though...
posted by schyler523 at 10:09 AM on May 27, 2005


Length for a FPP notwithstanding, I have to say that's one of the best summations of the Homolka/Berardo story I've read in the recent past. Chilling story. And horrifying that anyone would want to make a movie out of this.
posted by hamfisted at 10:11 AM on May 27, 2005


Murderous women have been playing their men for suckers for eons.
posted by HTuttle at 10:13 AM on May 27, 2005


It would been far more appropriate, cheaper and faster to feed both of these people straight into a chipper/shredder. They have no right to continued life.

What an awful and sad story.
posted by fenriq at 10:14 AM on May 27, 2005


She wrote a letter to her parents apologizing for participating in the drugging, rape, and murder of her little sister. Man. How do you end a letter like that? Sincerely? Best wishes? Love? Take care? Warm regards?
posted by billysumday at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2005


I think the summation is a little vague, when prosecutors offered her the deal for her testimony they didn't have enough evidence to ensure a conviction, then a video later showed up showing them raping a couple girls (rendering the deal unecessary). It's easy to criticise the deal in hindsight but at the time they needed her testimony.
posted by bobo123 at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2005


For me what's perhaps personally most awful about it is the psychological impact of reading about their crimes. I go fenriq one step further, wishing/hoping that Paul's time in prison is spent in horrific torment, and that Karla gets murdered shortly after release by a victim's family member, and frankly, I don't feel good about myself for having these thoughts.
posted by jonson at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2005


Canadian Pulp Fiction - the movie
posted by nofundy at 10:28 AM on May 27, 2005


She's going to get offed by an unknown assailant, and the Tragically Hip will write a song about it. I don't feel bad for having these thoughts.

*fingers crossed*
posted by anthill at 10:28 AM on May 27, 2005


they filmed the whole rape, with Karla multi-tasking between filming, using the Halothane to keep Tammy unconscious, and performing sexual acts on her unconscious sister

Holy friggin' shit.

And horrifying that anyone would want to make a movie out of this.

Sounds perfect to me. Public education at the movie industry's expense.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:31 AM on May 27, 2005


And horrifying that anyone would want to make a movie out of this.

Horrifying how? Because the viewing public doesn't have a demonstably insatiable appetite for true-crime stories? Because serial-killer tales aren't a box-office staple? Because deviance - the more twisted, the better - isn't one of our favourite spectator sports?

Sorry, hamfisted, this is directed as much at self-congratulatory crime reporters like Christie Blatchford and Rosie DiManno as at you, but my bullshit detector starts screaming like a banshee any time anyone expresses a deep interest in a story like Homolka's and then feigns shock that someone would dare do something as untoward as make it into a movie. I simply don't buy the notion that "news" reporters like Blatchford aren't just as exploitive of human tragedy as Hollywood producers or tabloid-TV talking heads. Blatchford built her career on giving the public a daily dose of horrific detail from the Bernardo trial, and don't try to tell me we just wanted to know for the sake of the public good.

We're fascinated, captivated, and titillated by this stuff. It sells newspapers. How's it worse to use it to sell movie tickets?
posted by gompa at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2005


Because the movie looks really dumb.
posted by speicus at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2005


Maybe she can star alongside Paris Hilton on the next season of The Simple Life. Man, the ratings would just kill.
posted by xmutex at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2005


And horrifying that anyone would want to make a movie out of this.

Yeah, did you hear about that Bonnie and Clyde movie? Totally bombed. Morally bankrupt. No awards, no accolades. People fucking hate that shit.

(or, what gompa said)
posted by billysumday at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2005


. . . and of course that should be demonstrably. Although Bernardo was, uh, de monsta. *rimshot*
posted by gompa at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2005


bob123, there are a number of things I left out for the sake of brevity.

I think the prosecution details are possibly even more labarynthine than what you suggest. There's also the details of Karla's abuse at Paul's hands. Not to mention the fantastical accounts of her time spent in prison as a party girl.
posted by RockCorpse at 10:42 AM on May 27, 2005


Send her to Texas. Let them strip her naked, drip honey on her and stake her to the top of a fire ant mound.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:45 AM on May 27, 2005


Rule .303
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2005


There was also a Law and Order episode about this that aired (for the first time) back in Feb. 2000.

I found it incredibly disturbing even within the familiar confines of a ritualized one-hour TV drama.
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:00 AM on May 27, 2005


I went to school in St Catharines, where the murders were committed. Even arriving there a year after, there was still a strange feeling around. Girls were still nervous about walking alone.

And my first day of class (I moved mid-year), I got one Tammy Homolka's English texts. That was strange.

I have to echo what bobo123 said above; the deal with Karla (the infamous 'deal with the devil') was made before prosecutors had possession of the videotape. That said, she knew the tape existed, and so did the defence lawyers involved. I personally think that the surfacing of that tape should have entirely invalidated her plea agreement, but IANAL.

It's odd thinking about what she's going to do with the rest of her life. She has one of the most recognizable faces in all of Canada; she's not going to be able to live anywhere without harassment. While I don't feel that she has in any real sense paid her debt to society, according to the legal system she has, and we must as citizens respect that. Hoping for her to get attacked is an understandable urge, but I truly hope that nobody actually does it. The legal and political minefield that would create doesn't bear thinking about.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:10 AM on May 27, 2005


thanks grammarmoses, i thought i remembered a law and order episode about that but wasn't sure.
posted by ackeber at 11:11 AM on May 27, 2005


Can any legal minded mefites comment on this; I've heard it said that the Canadian prosecutors dropped the ball when making the sweetheart deal because they didn't include any sort of provision that stated that in the event more information came to light (post-trial or post-deal) damning her and/or proving her a liar, that the deal could be undone. I'm under the understanding that this is a normal precaution written into most pleabargains. Can someone shed some light? Thanks
posted by jikel_morten at 11:15 AM on May 27, 2005


As horrible as this is, I have no problem with them making a movie out of it. There's plenty of movies about Hitler (sorry for the Godwinning, but it's the best example) and that's a good thing because it's educated us on the horrors of war and the unbelievable genocide that took place. Now that this generation isn't having that in place, Hitler again is becoming "some guy who did something" to new adults making decisions in the world.

So...we want to show how horrible this crime was and educate people on the dangers of trust? Make this movie and hope that everyone sees it.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:20 AM on May 27, 2005


She wrote a letter to her parents apologizing for participating in the drugging, rape, and murder of her little sister. Man. How do you end a letter like that? Sincerely? Best wishes? Love? Take care? Warm regards?

According to CourtTV's "Crime Library" website:

"Karla -XOXO"
posted by retronic at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2005


And my first day of class (I moved mid-year), I got one Tammy Homolka's English texts. That was strange.

Damn, dirtynumb-- that is strange.

It looks like we Canadians are going to get The Hollywood Version a little later than our neighbors to the South.

Laura Prepon, who plays Donna on TV's That 70s Show, portrays Homolka as a "woman conflicted by her conscience but unable to escape" the grasp of Bernardo, who's played by Misha Collins, the film's website says.

I heard that originally they wanted to call the movie 'That Raping & Killing Young Girls Show', but they had a hard time fitting that on the movie poster.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2005


The difference between this movie and Hitler is that learning about the horrors of war makes them (one would think) more real and easier to avoid, work against, etc.

A movie like this, though, doesn't really touch on what makes a serial killer (childhood abuse is often a factor), and even if it did, the concepts are so abstract that it's very difficult for people to do anything about them.

As has been mentioned elsewhere on the Blue, serial killers are accorded a publicity and fear entirely disproportionate to their actual effect and impact. In terms of sheer numbers of people killed, we should be much more worried about drunk or otherwise incompetent drivers.* But serial killers are, for lack of a better word, sexy; they appeal on a level that more prosaic crimes do not. Perhaps it's their very remoteness, relatively speaking, that accounts for the interest: we can be afraid of them safely precisely because they don't occur on a regular basis.

*That said, I harbour an entirely irrational fear of being nabbed by a sadistic serial killer, a la John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer.


On preview:

Yeah, Fuzzy, it was pretty peculiar. I waited until after class, and said to my teacher "um, would it be okay if I got another copy of this book?" and showed him the page where students put their names. He sort of raised his eyebrows, and said "No problem. I think we'll take this one out of circulation." He'd taught her when she was at the school, so had several of my other teachers. Strange how we end up in the middle of things like that. Remember Kayla Klaudusz? Around 1990 or so, little girl kidnapped from her apartment... across the street from my elementary school. Staff went nuts; kids were not allowed to leave until a parent arrived, and was identified by the kids' teacher.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:35 AM on May 27, 2005


I remember reading this about one of the victims (I think it was Mahaffy): her parents had enacted a curfew and were tired of her breaking it. One night she comes home too late and finds the door locked and she can't get in so she's forced to wait on the porch. Unfortunately, it was the wrong night for her parents to take a stand as that's when Paul and Karla nabbed her.

I remember reading that and wondering what kind of "this is our fault" hell the parents must have put themselves thru. I'm not a parent, but reading about that creeped the bejeezus out of me.

As to the movie thing... when I was younger I wrote some screenwriting software which sold pretty well in Canada. I hated doing support as most of the people who called me could barely turn their computers on and asking them "what do you see on the screen?" over and over was a nightmare. As a result, when people in Toronto called, I'd make house calls as it was easier to go there for 15 minutes than spend 2 hours on the phone. One day, I'm giving support to a guy named Ace, owner of Way Cool Tattoos, who looked like a motorcycle gang member. While I'm fixing his software, he starts talking about the script he is working on which is about a husband and wife serial killer team named Paula and Karl. "I'll just change the names and no one can do anything!" Then he tells me that he has copies of the videos P and K made ("got 'em from an RCMP buddy") and do I want to watch them? I tell him no, so he starts describing their contents (I still have one of the images in my head). Last house call I ever made.
posted by dobbs at 11:51 AM on May 27, 2005


I'm sure the movie won't sensationalize the raping and murdering so that some kid watching it won't get the idea that raping and murdering is cool. That would never ever happen.

dirtynumbbangelboy, you are right, serial killers do affect alot more people than they should. Same thing with the DC Sniper deal, the pair had most of the east coast paralyzed and scared for their lives. And Gacy scares me, Dahmer not so much but maybe that's because I'm not a small Asian boy.
posted by fenriq at 11:52 AM on May 27, 2005


I witnessed a much less horrible serial murder. I'd be really pissed to see the facts of that event twisted and tweaked to titillate movie audiences.

Publication bans are problematic, but they do lessen the pain and anger of survivors. I was really pleased not to be confronted with graphic details, and I am sure the families were too.

LIke the murders themselves, Homolka's deal with the prosecutors really shocked and traumatized victims of crime in Canada. THis film is going to be very unpleasant for many, many people here. It's trafficking in human misery. I'm not going to hassel anyone for seeing this, but I am going to be really pissed if anyone talks about it in my presence. I just feel that privacy is sign of respect for the dead.

But a good post.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2005


Holy shit, that sick bitch is now penpals with a convicted murderer, a guy who killed his girlfriend, and officials say the letters are sexual in content. This broad is never going to be rehabilitated, I wish she would just fall off the face of the earth.
posted by zarah at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2005


There goes my illusion that Canada was a kind, gentle place. Wow. I'm surprised that she didn't get shanked in prison for raping and killing a young girl.

(My parents are in law enforcement, and both have told me that even hardcore criminals dont take well to child rapists and murderers..)
posted by mrbill at 12:09 PM on May 27, 2005


dobbs, yeah it was Leslie Mahaffy, and I had the exact same "this is our fault" thing going through my head. Apparently, Leslie was quite "rebellious". I don't know exactly what that means...she was a teenager. Poor parents.
posted by RockCorpse at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2005


Wow, everyone's talking about this. Can't wait for the movie!! Thanks for letting me know. I hope the special edition DVD will include the deleted lesbian prison scene. ;-)

So, is she hot or not?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:29 PM on May 27, 2005


mrbill writes "There goes my illusion that Canada was a kind, gentle place. Wow. I'm surprised that she didn't get shanked in prison for raping and killing a young gir"

I would think "she didn't get shanked" because Canada is a "kind, gentle place". Prisons are certainly a reflection of the society who maintains them.
posted by nkyad at 12:36 PM on May 27, 2005


weretable and the undead chairs writes "Send her to Texas. Let them strip her naked, drip honey on her and stake her to the top of a fire ant mound."

Do fireants like honey?

dirtynumbangelboy writes "Hoping for her to get attacked is an understandable urge, but I truly hope that nobody actually does it. The legal and political minefield that would create doesn't bear thinking about."

Wouldn't be a minefield if it was done quietly. If some nut stabs her on the steps of the prison or something it'll be big news but if she's quietly and anonymously sniped while on a walk in the woods I doubt there be much more than a 30 second blurb on the evening news.
posted by Mitheral at 1:41 PM on May 27, 2005


RockCorpse: Where will you go?

She could stay with any one of the (disturbingly) understanding people who signed the guestbook at her fan site.
posted by blendor at 1:52 PM on May 27, 2005


So you're saying, Mitheral, that it's okay for someone to kill her?

My point about the legal and political minefield is that should someone kill her, that person must be brought to justice. Murder is murder is murder, and in Canada at least, the only time killing is permitted is in the context of war, or certain situations when police are dealing with suspects (like, say, the guy downtown who was shot last year as he was holding someone hostage). Vigilante justice is an oxymoron.

The issue becomes, then, how does the justice system treat the person who shoots Homolka? Do they get prosecuted to the full extent of the law (as they should)? Do they get a slap on the wrist, and thus make the statement that our justice system is a joke? Do they walk away entirely? How aggressively would the police investigate?

This woman has to live for the rest of her life with the knowledge of what she has done. While it's debatable as to whether or not she will ever understand--her refusal to participate in psychiatric testing makes it difficult to determine if she is a psychopath or not--she will certainly suffer for the rest of her life. As much as those three poor girls did? Of course not. As much as she deserves? I doubt it.

But the rule of law is an important thing in this country, and as such, the idea of someone killing Karla Homolka, no matter what she may have done to, in some peoples' minds, deserve it, is morally repugnant.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:56 PM on May 27, 2005


Wouldn't be a minefield if it was done quietly. If some nut stabs her on the steps of the prison or something it'll be big news but if she's quietly and anonymously sniped while on a walk in the woods I doubt there be much more than a 30 second blurb on the evening news.

I think dirtynumbs meant while it may be hard to have sympathy for KH, vigilante violence is not a good idea. How do you deal with the distraught mother of a rape victim who assaults KH? What's fair then.

Canadians really do feel like their justice system has failed them, and I agree. We should be protected from convicted murderers and rapists, and we should have enough of a sense of justice that we aren't tempted to take the law into our own hands.

Karla Homolka wants to visit St Catherines. Canadians are not typically prone to vigilante violence, but asking people to face this woman, who is quite frankly a monster, is a lot to ask. I don't think I could keep my composure.

This movie is rubbing salt in open wounds.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 2:06 PM on May 27, 2005


blendor: Her father stated that she had plans to move to the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood in Montreal. Curiously, the residents there seem to have a problem with that. Realistically, she should move to Argentina or that gigantic ice floe that's bumping around McMurdo Sound.
posted by RockCorpse at 2:08 PM on May 27, 2005


I wonder what set of circumstances, what aligning of the stars needs to happen to allow two so completely repulsive people to hook up. This story reminds me of the Moors Murders (remember the Smiths song?) in Britain in the 1960s. The couple involved in those murders also audiotaped and photographed their victims.

Dirtynumbangelboy makes a good point about the fear of serial killers in proportion to the crimes they commit. I think stories about serial killers are almost like Grimm's fairy tales for adults. Instead of a witch in the forest who wants to shove you into her oven, there's a yuppie in a Volkswagen with no passenger-side door handle.
posted by Sully6 at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2005


Wait, this sounds familiar. Wasn't this aired on HBO or The Discovery Channel? Oh, here it is.
posted by riffraff at 2:15 PM on May 27, 2005


"But serial killers are, for lack of a better word, sexy; they appeal on a level that more prosaic crimes"
I'm curious about that.... why are just plain killers not sexy? Are combat vets sexy? I'm teaching my wife how to knife fight and I don't have a fan club. I'm not disputing it, I just think it's weird. More for the people who are attracted to them.

"if she's quietly and anonymously sniped while on a walk in the woods"
I could do that. I won't, but I could. That would be a real challenge hunting serial killers and killing them. Most dangerous game sort of thing. Purely as a concept, not a reality.

"Murder is murder is murder...
Vigilante justice is an oxymoron."
I wholeheartedly agree. With the exeption being, in my mind, revolutionary practices.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:18 PM on May 27, 2005


"How do you deal with the distraught mother of a rape victim who assaults KH?"
Temporary insanity. Let her walk. Depending of course on how premeditated it is.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:19 PM on May 27, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy writes "So you're saying, Mitheral, that it's okay for someone to kill her?"

Nope, I'm saying that I doubt there would be much impact if she was killed; no political minefield would be created unless the killer was really messy and even then not much. Vigilantism is wrong, even in this case and the majority of Canadians see it that way. It'd it have to be a pretty slow news week to even make the front page two days in a row. I'd guess there might be an impact legally but I can't imagine the assassin, if caught, getting off just because the victim was Karla Homolka. If they did _then_ we'd have a legal minefield.

But the rule of law is an important thing in this country, and as such, the idea of someone killing Karla Homolka, no matter what she may have done to, in some peoples' minds, deserve it, is morally repugnant.

Agree without reservation.
posted by Mitheral at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2005


I don't think Homolka can find a place in Canadian society. I think her death will create an uproar, particularly if/when she is murdered.

People really hate her, but few Canadians support the deathpenaly, and even fewer support vigilantes. Particularly outside of Alberta.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 2:34 PM on May 27, 2005


A friend said she wants to move to Montreal. He also said it's the only province that doesn't have laws that forbid criminals from profiting from their crimes (ie, son of sam laws) by writing books or whatever. Is this true?
posted by dobbs at 2:37 PM on May 27, 2005


There goes my illusion that Canada was a kind, gentle place.

I guess no one should mention the story that has been "gracing" the covers of most of our dailies over the past few days.

Personally, I cannot believe that the defence would (or, more apt -- could) hold on to the tapes knowing what they contained. I understand the legal reasons for doing so given that the possibility of a mistrial but still, from a moral standpoint, I would have found some way of getting this information to the authorities. Drop a few hints and the police could have "found" the tapes as I'm sure they had search warrants for the house.
posted by purephase at 2:40 PM on May 27, 2005


I would venture to guess, dobbs, that laws like that are federal, not provincial. But that's just a guess.


Nice to have you back, btw.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:43 PM on May 27, 2005


"Murder is murder is murder...
Vigilante justice is an oxymoron."
I wholeheartedly agree. With the exception being, in my mind, revolutionary practices.


Vigilante justice is either an oxymoron or it is not. You cannot draw these little lines here and there where it seems to fit your purposes.

You don't seem to be really debating the issue whether vigilante justice is morally acceptable or not, you seem to instead be asking when it is that something truly qualifies as such.

The sniping of serial rapists/murderers, I would opine, does qualify.

Each to their own.
posted by xmutex at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2005


nitpick: So, if you hear about a story from a TV show ("America Undercover: Autopsy 8" on HBO a couple nights ago) vs. from the internet, you don't need to cite your source?

Regardless, this is a sick and twisted story.
posted by pmbuko at 2:54 PM on May 27, 2005


jikel_morten wrote: "Can any legal minded mefites comment on this; I've heard it said that the Canadian prosecutors dropped the ball when making the sweetheart deal because they didn't include any sort of provision that stated that in the event more information came to light (post-trial or post-deal) damning her and/or proving her a liar, that the deal could be undone. I'm under the understanding that this is a normal precaution written into most pleabargains. Can someone shed some light?"

I am a prosecutor in Canada, and though I don't know the specific details of the plea arrangement, I can say that:
a) I've never seen a written agreement for a plea negotiation
b) it's my understanding that the video was discovered after she'd been sentenced for all the offences, which means that the courts no longer had authority to deal with her for those offences - she could plead autrefois convict. See sections 607-610 of the Canadian Criminal Code, especially s. 610(2).
posted by birdsquared at 2:56 PM on May 27, 2005


I also saw the HBO retelling. The Autopsy series had access to home movies and pictures and the striking thing is how attractive this couple were-- the Prom King and Queen. I have no doubt at all that Paul could have had as many women as he wanted, but I guess consensual sex just didn't thrill him as much as rape.

I wonder what set of circumstances, what aligning of the stars needs to happen to allow two so completely repulsive people to hook up.
posted by Sully6 at 5:10 PM EST

Under different circumstances Karla probably would have lived out her life as non-murderous housewife. It would be interesting to see a psychological study done on her:

What buttons did Paul push?

How did she arrive at the decision to allow Paul to rape her sister?

The sexual play she engaged in with the other victims, did she derive any sexual satisfaction out of it or was it an exercise in bonding with her mate?

There is documented evidence that Paul beat her, so how much of her behavior was thrill seeking and how much punishment avoidance?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:03 PM on May 27, 2005


Vigilante justice is either an oxymoron or it is not. You cannot draw these little lines here and there where it seems to fit your purposes.

not to draw little lines or anything... but I personally wouldn't call armed revolution "vigilante justice"; it seems more like an "act of war". While there are some (many) who are oppposed to war at all, I don't think that anyone seriously believes killing is wrong within the scope thereof.

Almost on topic, if we were to become governed by serial rapists, sign my ass up for the armed revolution.

Actually on topic, I wonder what it feels like to be the prosecutor who got boned on this one.
posted by Vetinari at 3:07 PM on May 27, 2005


"You don't seem to be really debating the issue whether vigilante justice is morally acceptable or not"

Vigilante justice is an oxymoron.
Shooting someone to futher a revolution is not justice either, but the hair I was splitting is that revolutionary activites aren't in the same column with any sort of justice. It's war.
One is morally acceptable, the other isn't. I would never consider voting with a bullet. But if El Dictator comes on t.v. tomorrow and says he's suspending the vote, all rights, declaring martial law, etc., I'm going to fight that oppression.
In the case of shooting serial killers - we have the rule of law in place. To subvert it by taking the law into your own hands and meteing out death takes the rights, powers and responsibilities away from the people and does the exact same damage to it as El Dictator.
...but I didn't want to type that much.

"Each to their own."
Not so much. As soon as you start hunting humans I'd support the LEA to stop you. ('You' in the general sense, as in 'one'). Precisely because we have laws in place. 'Deserve' has nothing to do with it. None of us have the power to grant or the insight to judge what everyone deserves.
The alternative is chaos. And if you think Homolka is a monster...
posted by Smedleyman at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2005


Do fireants like honey?

Fireants like everything. They prefer to eat insects but will eat plants, snakes, mice, turtles, lizards, and whatever else they run across.

As for the honey, some fireant baits include it. I think it is less appealing to fireants than some ant species.

Staking a person to a fireant mound is torture enough I suppose, but the honey would just make it even more miserable.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:13 PM on May 27, 2005


Y'know....I can't help but wonder what the hell these people's parents did to them that made them turn out like this.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:16 PM on May 27, 2005


Y'know....I can't help but wonder what the hell these people's parents did to them that made them turn out like this.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:16 PM PST on May 27 [!]


Psychopaths, if I'm not mistaken, and I could very easily be mistaken, have something biologically wrong with them. They just have no understanding of morality. And sometimes good people come from very bad backgrounds. I wouldn't blame it all on the parents. That's like saying, "man, I can't help but wonder what the hell these parents did to turn one of their daughters into a rapist/murderer and their other daughter into the victim of a rapist/murderer." Those screwy parents!!
posted by billysumday at 3:24 PM on May 27, 2005


Smedleyman: I don't know how you draw a line between voting with a bullet and taking up arms against El Dictator other than degree and clarity of cause. It seems that the latter is simply voting with an army of bullets. And I, like you, think that this can be morally acceptable at some point at which there is an El Dictator.

But I think that's vigilante justice, just a clearer case than that of the sniping of serial killers. Revolutionary activity is very much justice, and on a grand scale.

And lastly, we do have the rule of law in place, and I think any person honest with themselves who took it upon themselves to rid the world of Joe Serial Killer would recognize that the law has every right to come for them, and that they should expect it and, finally, that the chosen task of ridding the world of Joe Serial Killer would carry with it the burden of accepting that legal punishment. And there could very well be someone out there who would consider that burden bearable.

I'm not advocating this. I am simply saying that I do not find such an activity to be necessarily immoral.
posted by xmutex at 3:27 PM on May 27, 2005


There but for the grace of God go I. And you, too.

All those people who think murderers should be executed, by their own standards, deserve to be executed.

Personally, I think it's good that they caught these fucked-up people and locked them up. Hopefully they can stay in a secure mental hospital until they're either cured or dead. And if they do get cured before they die, they can tell us all, in detail, exactly how their heads got so fucked up, and what we as a society can do to make sure fewer people get fucked up that way in future.

But killing them? Becoming as bad as they were?

Won't help anybody, as far as I can see.
posted by cleardawn at 3:44 PM on May 27, 2005


Hmm, I'm just not convinced that killing someone who raped and murdered their sister and other girls in a fashion that implies they could well do this again makes that person of equal moral standing.

I am not just seeing how that could be.
posted by xmutex at 3:46 PM on May 27, 2005


I'm not advocating this. I am simply saying that I do not find such an activity to be necessarily immoral.
Fair enough xmutex. You can not find it that way. We disagree there.
I would argue though that killing during a revolution like during a war is not justice. It may socially be justice on a grand scale, but on an individual level your going to be icing those it is expediant to kill. In the same way I don't see what killing a rapist after the fact does - what benefit there is other than some folks feel better about it. If I saw it in the act I would kill them without hesitation to preserve the life of the victim. From a practical standpoint, as a killer myself, I'm not seeing why putting another body in the ground is useful in any way. There is catharsis of course, but that wouldn't motivate anyone not personally involved. And anyone personally involved is too close to the situation to judge it properly.
The 'preventing future death' thing is a fallacy. And of course Joe Serial Killer is someone's son or brother or whatever and if our vigilante is willing to bear the burden someone else is willing to kill that person, etc. etc. It becomes an infinite regress. The whole 'eye for an eye leaves everyone blind' thing.
No, the best way to stop the killing is to stop. Simple.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:17 PM on May 27, 2005


What others thought

7.9
based on 27 votes

posted by insomnia_lj at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2005


Personally, I am not philosophically opposed to the death penalty, but practically, it is:
a) irreversible if you've gotten it wrong
b) more expensive than natural life incarceration (I don't have a quick link for this one, but I have done research on the death penalty in law school, and with the automatic appeals, the cost to the state to impose death is often more than decades of jail - in the US - I don't recall the economics in Japan, the other country I researched).
posted by birdsquared at 4:27 PM on May 27, 2005


I'd like to suggest that you-all consciously choose to not support the makers of the film, who are profiting from crime.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on May 27, 2005


And sometimes good people come from very bad backgrounds.

True. And vice versa. It's just something I can't help thinking about. Personally I grew up treated with kindness. For the most part I'm very very nice to people, but in certain situations I'm a fairly bloodthirsty 'necklace of ears' type of guy. I don't know what I would have been if I hadn't grown up in nearly idyllic circumstances. And sometimes psychopaths are abused.
(link says she wasn't necessarially a psychopath, I don't know about him)


man, I can't help but wonder what the hell these parents did to turn one of their daughters into a rapist/murderer and their other daughter into the victim of a rapist/murderer." Those screwy parents!!
Well, yeah. Where the hell were they when these girls were being abused? You don't notice cum on your 15 year old daughter's pillow? Hello?
A dark figure in the bushes outside my daughters window is likely to catch some serious hell. "Oh, it's my son in law, y'know I've been meaning to ask you how Karla keeps walking into doors." (he beat her so bad on one occasion she had to be hospitalized).
I'd've put him in the ground. Which reinforces my point about the morality of vigilante justice. I'm exactly the kind of person those laws are there for. It is wrong, I know it's wrong, but...
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2005


I wonder if that means Laura Prepon will be doing a nude scene in the movie?

(yes, I probably will burn in hell for that...)
posted by Snowflake at 4:50 PM on May 27, 2005


This entire thread is sick.
posted by tkchrist at 5:17 PM on May 27, 2005


tkchrist: Thanks for the insightful opinion.
posted by xmutex at 5:20 PM on May 27, 2005


Someone like this will do something horrible again. Hopefully she will do it stupidly enough to get caught and finally put away for good.

Sad that someone's probably going to be victimized by this one again. Watch out, you who live wherever she re-settles.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2005


Thanks, tkchrist. Without your clearly well-researched and informed opinion, most of us would have sat here thinking we had dealt maturely and intelligently with a divisive and complex issue.

How very kind of you to enlighten us.

On preview:

zoogleplex, I think (as a non-professional) that it's unlikely that Karla would reoffend, barring her becoming involved with someone similar to Bernardo. While she's clearly not blameless in the matter, it seems obvious that it took Bernardo's abuse/coercion to get her to the point where she could live for two weeks (!) in the same house as a kidnapped girl, and do nothing about it. How much coercion it took is, of course, up for some debate. There's some great writing on criminal pairs, though the only stuff I can remember reading is by Robert K Ressler (he's one of the founders of the Behavioural Sciences Unit at the FBI), and it suggests that there's a synergy between the two people that leads to these sorts of outcomes. Bear in mind, of course, that Bernardo had, by the time of the murders, been terrorizing women in Toronto as the Scarborough Rapist for years. Thus, he'd already been living that violent, objectifying of women lifestyle for quite some time before Karla came on the scene. And then, of course, for some time after as well, before he 'graduated' to more 'mature' thrills.

What he did, in some sense, is no different than what most abusive men do: embark on establishing complete control of another human being. Sure, he had flashes of that control when raping women, and had it even more intensely when kidnapping, raping, and killing them. But with Karla, he had that absolute control day in and day out. Yes, she was a willing accomplice, granted. But one has to wonder how much of that willingness was innate, and how much was indoctrinated into her by a very charming and brutally violent sociopath.

What I'm trying to say is, even though she's got a taste for these sorts of things now, it's unlikely that she would re-offend without some sort of outside stimulus to make it happen.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:02 PM on May 27, 2005


Quote from the Wikipedia article on Karla Homolka, linked in the post:

[MYTH #10] The home videos were discovered after the plea-bargain had been fixed. Had they come to light earlier, she would have been sentenced to life in prison.

* This is vastly oversimplified. Prosecutors had an opportunity to both "break the deal" and charge Homolka with additional crimes for a period of 8 months between when the tapes were found and authorities agreed not to charge her with additional crimes. The police were in possession of the tapes in September of 1994, although the "deal" had been signed in 1993 (and they had been working under the deal under a verbal agreement long before that) they were still able to prosecute her for "Jane Doe", and for lies that they uncovered in her earlier testimony (an absolute deal-breaker was lying during her interviews with prosecutors) since they knew she had lied; Stephen Williams published memos where the Crown discussed these lies amongst themselves. Officials agreed not to prosecute her for the "Jane Doe" incidents, and they chose not to break the deal with Homolka on May 18, 1995. That decision was final.


("Jane Doe" referring to a teenager they drugged and raped, and videotaped, but did not kill - first six paragraphs of article in link.)

That took me right aback. All this time I'd been hearing they'd made that deal with her and couldn't change it because the tapes were found afterwards, so she only got 12 years in prison. But this is saying because she'd lied and so forth, they could have broken that deal.... and didn't? WTF?
posted by Melinika at 7:20 PM on May 27, 2005


I wouldn't mind her as my neighbour. But I live on the east end of Montréal, not in NDG, so she probably doesn't want that.

so she only got 12 years in prison.

I wouldn't call 12 years in prison 'only 12 years'. That's an awful long time. Maybe not long enough in your opinion, but you don't become a better citizen in prison, on the contrary. I hope she got psychiatric help in that prison, that might help better then locking her up.
posted by kika at 7:39 PM on May 27, 2005


This morning I read some of the articles in this post and thought that maybe I had died and woken up in hell. I'm still not sure....
posted by wobh at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2005


my two cents, I think people in general have a hard time dealing with the fact a women can be just as much of a cruel animal as men can be. We're taught (raised to believe?) women are warm caring nurturers and when someone like Karla comes along ... I think it makes it easier to comprehend by placing some of the blame for this on Paul's (or her parents eg: "she might have been abused as a kid") shoulders but we'll never know for sure if she was pushed into doing this or not. I don't have any sympathy for her what-so-ever and think she is a junior woodchuck psychopath like Paul is.
posted by squeak at 11:04 PM on May 27, 2005


To be fair, squeak, I'm fully aware that women can be just as vicious and cruel as men.

However, the idea of Karla being the Beta to Paul's Alpha is fairly widely regarded amongst experts in the field to be an accurate model of their relationship, both criminal and otherwise.

Does that excuse or absolve her in any way? No, of course not. It does, however, provide an understanding of what was going on in that house.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:42 AM on May 28, 2005


My comment wasn't directed at you specifically, it was just a general observation on how we handle the creepier parts of life and the difference between how we view men vs women and violent acts. I'm aware of what the crime buffs have said but its kinda mute, as far as I am concerned, in the greater scheme of things, she did it. *shrug* Does it really matter if she is a psychopath or not? Does it matter if she was abused by Paul or her family? Will it change your view (or anyone else's) of her actions if she was? Does it somehow make it more "forgiveable"? Does it matter which one of them came up with the idea first? For me her actions speak volumes not other events (like claims of abuse) that lead up to the crime itself. How could you drug a relative, rape them, video tape it and stick around afterwards?
posted by squeak at 2:07 AM on May 28, 2005


I hope she got psychiatric help in that prison

She repeatedly refused all help and requests for her to submit to psychiatric examinations. She's also never expressed one word of remorse for what she did to Leslie and Kristen.

it's unlikely that she would re-offend without some sort of outside stimulus to make it happen


You think she's not going to look for a replacement for Bernardo right away? She's penpal dating a guy who murdered his girlfriend, who will be out of prison in the next couple of years, for crissakes. The only thing that's going to stop her from reoffending is constant, invasive scrutiny of her every action and her every relationship. Here's hoping the petition to grant this sort of surveillance over her is granted.

Maybe her penpal murderer boyfriend will kill her too eventually.
posted by zarah at 7:26 AM on May 28, 2005


I live a couple of blocks away from the prison where Paul Bernardo is housed.

As an American newly arrived in Canada, they appear way too lenient on crime and convicts. Non-drug crimes that would routinely net 5-10 years in the midwest only get 2.5 years and probation here.
The pacifism is disgusting.
How do they expect a society to function when basic human rights can be violated with only minimal consequences?

I also heard that Karla received a BA in Sociology through correspondence from the University of Toronoto while in prison--entirely funded at tax payer's expense. The irony is unbearable. She has no business studying sociology at all, and should have been outright rejected for admission to the sociology department.

As a student going into massive debt just to barely scrape by I find this kind of shit to be insane and unfathomable. What kind of idiot bureaucrats support this policy?

For all the US's faults with right-wing fundie whackjobs running the peanut gallery, an unhealthy obsession with firearms, being the world's leading exporter of militarism(i.e. terrorism), international jingoism, racism, and the largest inequalities of wealth, at least there is pretty much universal acknowledgement that prison and justice serves one purpose: punishment first, rehabilitation second, and only as a subordinate afterthought.
posted by archae at 9:24 AM on May 28, 2005


The pacifism is disgusting. How do they expect a society to function when basic human rights can be violated with only minimal consequences?

And yet somehow, we do function, and judging by all statistics, function better than your homeland.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 AM on May 28, 2005


The pacifism is disgusting. How do they expect a society to function when basic human rights can be violated with only minimal consequences?

The word Guantanamo comes to mind.

Oh, and get the fuck out of my country. Up here, we have a silly notion about justice: that if we rehabilitate the criminal, or do our level best to try, then they're much less likely to reoffend. Take a look at Canada's recidivism rates versus those of the USA, as well as crime rates in general, murder rates... for crying out loud, NYC alone has more murders per year than Canada does, if memory serves! You're likely to see a shocking disparity in our favour.

But seriously, get the fuck out of my country. We have absolutely no use for people like you here.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:12 AM on May 28, 2005


archae writes "there is pretty much universal acknowledgement that prison and justice serves one purpose: punishment first, rehabilitation second, and only as a subordinate afterthought."

Do you think this is part of the solution or part of the problem?

archae writes "The pacifism is disgusting.
"How do they expect a society to function when basic human rights can be violated with only minimal consequences?"


And yet they aren't the Canada as a nation functions much better than most other countries in the world. I am not Canadian also, but my wife visited for a while and has only good things to say about the country and the people. I think their alien (to you) view of the justice system's function is just a part of what is, as a whole, a very civilized society. As for human rights, contrary to the prevalent view in the US and many other countries (alas, mine included), some of us think that someone who has committed a crime does not automatically cease to be a human being or forfeit all his/her civil rights - and that when concern about rehabilitation comes way before punishment the whole society benefits from less crime, less recidivism and more productive citizens.
posted by nkyad at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2005


I wouldn't call 12 years in prison 'only 12 years'.

for what she did, the word *only* is appropriate
posted by ackeber at 12:17 AM on May 29, 2005


I recently read Karla. It's an interesting take on the whole affair.
posted by deborah at 1:21 PM on May 29, 2005


"As an American newly arrived in Canada, they appear way too lenient on crime and convicts. Non-drug crimes that would routinely net 5-10 years in the midwest only get 2.5 years and probation here."

This is the clumsiest troll I've seen in a while.
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 PM on May 29, 2005


...at least there is pretty much universal acknowledgement that prison and justice serves one purpose: punishment first, rehabilitation second, and only as a subordinate afterthought.
posted by archae at 9:24 AM PST on May 28 [!]


And how's that working out for ya?
posted by jikel_morten at 9:41 PM on June 2, 2005


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