"You, sir, are a monster."
With those words, Justice Thomas Heeney yesterday sentenced Michael Rafferty to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford three years ago. And the reported evidence presented throughout this two-month-plus trial has indeed led me to reflect on the nature of the monster we find ourselves with.
A recent book was published about the notorious sex criminal and murderer Russell Williams, entitled "A New Kind of Monster". Appropriately titled, in that Williams was an educated, remarkably accomplished, and widely respected individual, the sort who historically has not proven to indulge in such animal behaviour. Rafferty has also broken the mold, albeit in a much less noteworthy way.
Given that the basis for the prosecution's case against Rafferty was the testimony of his co-conspirator Terri-Lynne McClintic, the only witness and other participant in the crime itself, the trial seemed to drag on as fact after fact was entered into evidence relating to Rafferty's actions and deeds around and after the crime. It was seemingly the prosecution's intent to forestall the defence's assertion that Rafferty was an innocent dupe who'd been set up by McClintic... at no time did his behaviour show any rightful concern of being framed. But while the "character" of this man may have been immaterial to his guilt in the accused offences, we were shown an almost incredibly dull portrait, a remarkably depressing account of a virtually useless member of our society.
Addicted to Oxycontin, but not in an incapacitating way. Trolling dating websites and hooking up with a large succession of hard-luck women to lie to about jobs he never had. Even dipping into bad-boy territory as a small-time pimp. The narrative destroys any idyllic image of small-town Ontario. Yet obviously the fellow wasn't an idiot, displaying enough tech savvy to download child pornography and to conveniently compile reams of evidence through the use of his Blackberry. It seems as though he'd have been intelligent enough to embark on a real career if he'd tried.
See the picture of Rafferty now, the undated one which ran with every news story. Close cropped frosted hair in an overly aggressive cut; moody soul patch; requisite hipster necklace; body-hugging graphic white tee-shirt. He looks like any other schmuck his age; one of hundreds you see every day... "douchebag" at a bar; bouncer in the club; in line with his baby mama at Wal-Mart; yammering at his cellphone on the bus. No outdated spectacles, no lisp or twitch, no barely concealed paranoia as in the movies... no, the dreary reality of the monster Michael Rafferty lies in how stunningly below average he is.
He looks like any other guy. He could have been a hundred guys I've known. But he deviated into sickness, and while one could say that his evidenced behaviour certainly displays the narcissism requisite of a true sociopath, Rafferty seems to have ventured down such a destructive path for the lack of other things to do.
(And in case you were wondering, I fully concur that his desire to rape a child drove this entire event, as McClintic testified. The suppressed evidence was the final straw, in my mind.)
He became a piece of society which served no function, and no purpose, and which went cancer on the rest of the body, in the most horrible way... because, it looks like, he had nothing else to do.
That's the most remarkable part of this, for the rest of us. The two people who killed that little girl could have been the next two people you see walking through the mall.
"Idle hands are the devil's workshop"... and in a society which leaves people along the way with nothing to do, they just might create a monster.
I'm done now.