One week ago today that I found that I could only barely ask myself how a mother could possibly do that to her own child. And noted that if I was suppose to be feeling some sort of pity or compassion for this woman, was suppose to consider that there must have been horror in her background or some uncontrollable mental illness that caused her to do what she did, I was unable.
A commentor wondered why I would even care if there was some horror in the mother's past and questioned whether I would ask the same question if the boyfriend had killed Karissa. They went on to note that "when men kill they are demonized, when women kill they are analyzed".
So. First let me restate that what I said was that I couldn't even ask myself such questions, that I couldn't get past what this so-called mother had done to her child to even care about any supposed "why".
But, in a sense, I do think Anonymous made a valid point. As Tam pointed out, also in comments, "it is always more shocking when a mother kills a child". I might extend that sentiment to "when a parent kills a child" and yet, yes, I suppose in some way, it does seem even more horrendous when it is the mother.
Perhaps it's because it's beyond what we can fathom; that as mothers, we quite simply can not imagine ever doing such harm to our children - children we carried in my own bodies - therefore, there must be some reason for it, no matter how far we, as a society, have to stretch to find one. This despite the fact that the argument could be made that anybody who intentionally kills any child must be operating with some serious mental health difficulties.
But speaking of "the boyfriend", I caught most of the televised interview with Vernon McCumber on CTV earlier this week. And was admittedly surprised to find him coming across as very sincere and genuine. How many "boyfriends" do you know of in similar situations who have come forward to the speak to the press? Although there may well be some, this is the first situation I am aware of where this happened.
The first news article I read concerning Boudreau's guilty plea referred MacCumber having "no way of knowing Boudreau would take Karissa's life when he told her shortly before the murder that Boudreau had to choose between keeping Karissa or him". I also heard and read different takes from various news services, everything from a statement that McCumber issued "an ultimatum" to Boudreau to his having commented that their place was cramped since Karissa had moved in. Quite a big difference from a comment that the residence was cramped to the issuance of an ultimatum, implying that it's either me or the kid.
On the CTV interview McCumber set out yet a different version, that Karissa and her mother were fighting so much that he told Penny that this wasn't constructive, they had to get some counseling. This, incidentally, is in agreement with the original news story that broke when Karissa first went missing.
As I wrote at the time that Karissa's body was first found:
On Sunday, January 27, 2008, 12 year old Karissa Paige Boudreau went for a drive with her mother. Mother and daughter weren't getting along so well (no real surprises there as any parent of a daughter that age will tell you) and apparently mom was applying some of that parenting advice that talking in the car, when you don't have to actually "face each other", sometimes works better. Eventually they stop at a local grocery store and mom goes in while Karissa waits in the car. When she returns about 15 minutes later, Karissa is gone.MacCumber said that although he had some suspicions, he didn't know what Penny had done until she confessed to the police. That also dovetails, in some ways, with the Agreed Statement of Facts entered into court on the guilty plea wherein Penny stated that she drove Karissa to a Sobey's parking lot, "where she phoned her boyfriend to say Karissa had gone missing".
He spoke of loving Karissa, of being in agony over what had happened. Of being wracked with guilt and regret since finding out the truth. Of realizing that if he "had just insisted to go, she would have been okay".
Apparently MacCumber gave a similar interview to the Chronicle Herald, shortly after which paramedics and police were called to a north-end Halifax apartment building where a man who was thought to be Vernon MacCumber was threatening to commit suicide.
Look, I don't know the truth here. Quite frankly, probably none of us ever really will.
All I can say is this:
- That in the televised interview, MacCumber did seem surprisingly remorseful and sincere.
- That nothing will ever bring back Karissa.
- That it would be just fine by me if Penny Boudreau were to rot in hell.
- And that it seems highly unlikely that the police will be able to use their "standard" mob sting when they suspect parental killers as much as they use to given that they've now told the whole world how it works.