Thursday, April 01, 2004

Murdered Children

This week's news has been punctuated by two stories on CBC radio about missing children whose bodies have been found and identified this week. Cecilia Zhang is the young girl who was taken from her bedroom about five months ago and who so captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere in the province. Although all the evidence has yet to be processed, it appears she was murdered and her body left in a woodlot in Mississauga near a church.

Also this morning on CBC Radio, I heard of another body found northwest of Toronto of a boy missing since leaving school on December 12th of 2003. Police were notified when he didn't arrive home after school that evening. Rene Charlebois's body was found in a landfill site and police have already confirmed that foul play was involved. In both cases, dental records were used to confirm the identity of the victims.

Heart, in the heart of south-western Ontario, a place to grow and live that is probably as safe as any in the world, we still hear of such stories and tremble as we think of our own children. My youngest son often comes home late from high school after a team practice. My eldest son often walks to his job and to the homes of friends in our quiet suburban neighbourhood. Is it any wonder that parents immediately identify with threats, real of imagined, to their own children.

But it's true. Despite thousands of years of cultural and social evolution on top of the millions of years of primate evolution, children are still murdered by adults. We may have developed incredibly institutions and created societies of great depth and breadth, and yet still the unspeakable can, and sometimes does, happen. We need to keep both perspectives constantly in mind when we greet the day and turn on our radio.