a German Ne0-nazi leader, Stefan Jagsch, was rescued after he crashed his car and given first aid by Syrian Refugees in Germany. Jagsch is a member of the German National Democratic Party (NPD), a far right group who won 10% of the vote in Germany's last election. Even Hesse state NPD chief, Jean Christoph Fielder, had to admit that the refugees had "likely performed a very, good humane deed." Local police arrived after the refugees had left. Jagsch had two broken legs and a cut to the face.
It is such an irony that Syrian refugees save a political enemy while terrorists in Brussels, possibly radicalized by ISIS who has claimed responsiblilty, have set off a series
of explosions that killed more than 30 people. Arab immigrants to Belgium have faced a number of problems. The traditional face veils have been outlawed, many jobs require multi-lingual skills in Flemish, Dutch, German, French and English. Arab immigrants speak Arabic and French so many jobs aren't available. Culturally, they remain distinct with resentments building- a breeding ground for radicalization.
The tragedy of Belgium is the deaths of innocent travelers, Belgians and others. They and the ordinary Immigrants are both victims of problems so complex that it will take years of international cooperation to solve.
On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went to Columbine High School and killed 12 students, 1 teacher and wounded 24 other students, some critically. They intended to do much worse but their propane bombs and other explosive devices didn't detonate as planned. The boys died at the scene by their own hand.
Sue Klebold is Dylan's mother and after 16 years, her book, A Mother's Reckoning, Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, is an account of the killings but most importantly, her search
to find answers to the questions, "How could those boys' parents not know what their son was going to do?" and "What kind of terrible parents were they?"
Dylan Klebold's death was ruled suicide; he was not killed by the police or by Eric Harris.
As his mother delved further and further into the horror of Columbine and what had driven her son to commit such heinous actions she was led into the dark world of suicide victims. Dylan Klebold was an intelligent, intellectually gifted young man. He did have trouble fitting in with the "jocks" and those "who mattered" at Columbine. Although he had friends, he was much more of an outcast than his mother realized. There were signs but subtle that he was clinically depressed and may have had other personality disorders. The last "journal", a collection of scraps of writing tucked into books, scribbled on napkins showed a deteriorating mind and a diseased world view... yet no one knew. Sue Klebold does not try to vindicate her son. She believes his abominable actions on April 20th were a result of his depression and suicidal thoughts but she blames herself and her husband for not knowing or discovering how brain sick (her words) Dylan was. If only she had known, she'd have tried to do something.
We all think we know our children. So did Sue Klebold, right up until the day Dylan shot his classmates at Columbine High School. Her plea is for people (especially those with teen children) to look for subtle changes, to investigate unusual behaviours. Adolescents do not present with the same symptoms of clinical depression as adults do. She believes the killings at Columbine, for Dylan, were his way to commit suicide.
This was a difficult book to read. Sue Klebold has spent 16 years wondering what she did wrong, wondering how she could have raised a "monster" without knowing. It is a cry for understanding but more than that it is a plea to reach out when things might be going south for a young person.
Nothing is more tragic than the death of a child. In 1992 after a decade as head pediatric pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Charles Smith was made solely responsible for the autopsies of children who died sudden or suspicious deaths. For the next few years he was the demi-god of forensics when a child was autopsied to determine the cause of death. Thirteen criminal charges and convictions resulted from his expert testimony based on his forensic findings. In 2008 the chief forensic pathologist for Ontario ordered the Goudge inquiry into wrongful convictions in cases of shaken baby syndrome, cases that Charles Smith had done the autopsies for. Out of 44 reviewed cases, 20 with substantial problems came to light and had, as stated resulted in 13 convictions.
Yesterday, March 1, one of the persons convicted in this time, Maria Shepard was cleared and her conviction overturned. In 1992, she had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her three and a half year old step-daughter rather than chance a much longer sentence if she went to trial. Strong evidence against her was based on the flawed results of the autopsy performed by Charles Smith. She is one of several cases that have been overturned and she has forgiven Smith for the two years she spent in jail for a crime she didn't commit and for the 25 years she lived under the cloud of her guilty plea.
This miscarriage of justice should never have occurred. Even those in the most elevated and important positions should not be above scrutiny. Thank goodness that the mistakes and the hubris of Charles Smith are being addressed. He has lost his medical license and is living in BC.
Forensic science is a wonderful tool for investigators. Because it is specialized, the concepts are not easily grasped by the general public and must be open to supervision or checks by more than one person. Miscarriages of justice taint everyone involved.
I've been writing on and off for years and this is where my more serious pieces will be.