COLUMN: Responding after a child is killed

I can’t get the image of five year old Taliyah Marsman out of my head.

Taliyah Marsman

Taliyah Marsman

Sometimes I have trouble finding a topic I feel warrants a column. Not this week.

I can’t get the image of five year old Taliyah Marsman out of my head. If you don’t recognize the name, she was the young girl that was the subject of an amber alert in Calgary last week and was later found murdered, along with her mother.

The whole week, I held my breath hoping she would be found safe.

The first 24 hours are key in any abduction and as the time slipped away, I was left with a feeling of dread.

The Calgary Police Service should be commended for excellent police work for not only finding Taliyah but also arresting and charging a suspect.

This is where I struggle.

I am not normally a proponent of the death penalty.

I disagree with the premise ‘blood for blood’. The ways in which the death sentence is carried out seems counter to our basic humanity but here comes the conflict.

In cases where a child is killed or harmed, I am filled with rage and hatred towards the perpetrator. I know that is wrong and I am not proud of the fact but never the less, there it is.

I will never understand any circumstance in which a child gets hurt or killed deliberately.

Young Taliyah had no idea what was to be her fate. It breaks my heart to think of her pain. It makes me want to inflict a similar pain on the accused.

I don’t personally know this family, who lost two precious souls last week. All I know is nothing can prepare them for what is sure to be a lengthy process.

They will have to sit through hearings, meetings with police and lawyers. Every time, it will be like reliving the nightmare. Over and over.

If they are lucky, the accused will plead guilty.

In my opinion, our legal system does not have a suitable punishment for those that hurt a child.

So what is justice for Taliyah or other children that get hurt and killed every day?

One of the arguments against a death penalty is the chance for error.

That is a big risk to be sure.

In  cases where there is no credible witness testimony and the evidence is circumstantial, maybe that is a valid argument.

Obviously it is early days in the investigation in Calgary but given what has already been released, it sounds like the police got their man.

So I struggle. I am angry that someone would willfully harm a young soul.

Taliyah was going to be somebody, she had a future.

Her family was robbed and it’s not fair.

As news broke of Taliyah’s amber alert being cancelled on the discovery of her body, I hugged my six year old son.

Humans can be so cruel.

It defies logic.

Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.