Judged By The Company We Keep


It has been a terrible week in the city of Woodstock with the news that the murderers of Victoria Stafford had been arrested after 6 weeks on the lam yesterday.
I’d like to say thanks to the local police and to the OPP who have worked(and are still working) massive overtime and who searched through dumps and sheds, backyards and ponds in an effort to bring the 8 year old girl home to her parents but to no avail. It must be tragic for those people as well who invested so much time searching for her.
I think that 6 weeks is a pretty fast period of time to bring in a murderer after having very little evidence in the first place as to what went down or to where the little girl had gone. It almost seemed as though she had just trotted off the face of the planet with some person. That person seemed to know the child as the child seemed to go willingly with her. There was little evidence of any type of struggle.
Lots of people seemed angry at the start of the investigation into the disappearance of Victoria after police refused to issue an amber alert after discovering the disappearance didn’t meet the criteria for that Amber Alert system response. Perhaps the Amber Alert system needs some type of update.
By the time the child was reported missing to police, three hours had lapsed giving the killers added time to do their deeds. There has been no explanation as to why the parents waited the three hours to report the child missing but I guess it was their child and they can do as they wish. Me, I would have made the call about 3 minutes after my child failed to return home, but that’s just me. No one can really blame the parents of the missing girl for any of this.There is no law that says you must report your child missing in short order. Perhaps they didn’t even know she was gone. We’ll not find out any of those answers for sometime to come. An entire community waits with baited breath.
The community in some way turned against the Tara MacDonald/James Goris clan after bits of news leaked out concerning drug addiction, and once more Oxycontin was the culprit behind that story which made things even worse as we have an entire city of people here addicted to Oxys and to crystal meth and crack.
No doubt people became suspicious of the mother and the step father. Their own actions seemed to relay that feeling to all of the people who stood around watching the daily news conferences from the Frances Street home of MacDonald. Something just seemed amiss to many of us who watched this tragedy unfold.The lack of emotion, the odd limousine ride, the bickering and fighting between the estranged parents of the 8 year old girl, these things all added up to something that the people of our community could not accept. It was all too surreal.
The police spent their time looking into past drug connections and associates of the mother and step father. The step father has an extensive criminal record for drugs and thefts, bringing more police attention to that person as a result of their own misdeeds.
One thing that I do know is that we are all judged by the company that we keep and it is difficult for anyone to escape that judgement at the hands of friends,neighbours and relatives. All of us are prepared to condemn the next one of us based on assumptions that we harbour about our own neighbours.We are all prepared to ride down the witch and burn her at the public stake of our public indignation.
We can sigh a breath of relief for today, that our community has found the people responsible for this most heinous of crimes, but will we learn anything from this entire horrible story? I would imagine that tomorrow we will see children running the streeets with no parents in sight, and no doubt there will be another time in our future when another child runs off to play and never returns. What will we do then?And who will we blame?
As a father and caregiver I think the answer for that is quite simple. I will not be letting my children run the streets alone, and I hope that my neighbours will do the same. Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing small children wandering the streets alone. Our city has hundreds of parents that have no idea where their children are. The only way to protect ourselves from pedophiles, rapists and murderers is through parental due diligence, nothing more and nothing less, and yes my friends, we are all judged by the company we keep.
No one wanted to condemn these people in this community, but I’ll tell you, the innuendo came from somewhere, and usually there is some element of truth to the bizarre stories we hear on the streets.
Like I said, we are all judged by the company we keep.



  1. Anonymous
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I just finished watching the CBC broadcast a bunch of misinformation regarding Amber Alerts and now here’s another suggestion that an amber alert might have made a difference. Do you know why they’re called AMBER alerts? The signs over the highways that carry the alert use amber lights. They display information pertaining to the vehicle the abductor used. You’re supposed to notify the cops if you see a vehicle matching the descrition.

    There was NO vehicle involved in the abduction. Police had NO information to display on the signs. Their best and only option was to use the news media to get the message out and that’s what they did.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Besides,there are 60,000 children reported missing each year in Canada. If an alert is issued for each one,they would quickly become meaningless. The police in this case did the right thing with the information they had.

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