The saga of Russell Williams is mostly over. All that remains is for him to sit out the remainder of his wretched, pathetic life in a protective custody jail environment. What lingers, though, is the shameful smell of how his “trial” was handled by both the prosecution and the salivating media.
Under the combined guise of sanctimony and the public’s “need” to know, both of these bad actors reveled in their essential role in bringing out every gruesome, revolting and horrifying detail of Williams’ perverse and twisted documentary. Why?
The prosecution had a mountain of evidence, including a detailed confession. It made an actual trial academic. A concise verbal narrative of each count would have been more than sufficient to sustain the pleas (and the mandatory sentence – there was no issue as to any aspect of that). It should have taken no more than a couple of hours, at most. But no, for their own reasons, the prosecution decided to put on the Russell Williams Freak Show, complete with video, still photographs and disgusting, lurid detail.
Maybe they got carried away with the fish in the barrel aspect of the exercise; maybe they just got a case of Lance Ito disease. What they didn’t was give some thought to how this might play out for the families of the victims – whether or not they were present in the courtroom for the the narrative.
That’s where the media tag-team member came into play – tweeting, blogging and sensationalizing every rancid detail of Russell Williams depraved odyssey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more hyperbole mixed in with steroid-reinforced moralizing – Robert Pickton got a free ride in comparison. What? Like we needed some media pinhead to reinforce how ‘evil’, ‘heartless’ and ‘callous’ Russell Williams is? How about how many people and organizations he “let down” with his behavior? Puh-leeze!
Lets just say that it’s not a great stretch to think that Jerry Springer might have used greater tact, diplomacy and good sense in presenting this sad chapter in Canadian public life.