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Canadians have breathed a collective sigh of relief that Clifford Olson has died today. He is our country’s most famous serial killer. For those of you that don’t live in Canada, he targeted, raped and tortured children and young adults. He was convicted of 11 murders on the west coast of Canada. Canada’s innocence was taken. He changed the face of trusting a stranger for an entire generation of kids. Even hitchhiking was now perceived as unsafe due to him.

Clifford Olson tormented the families of his victims. He taunted them while in prison, made outrageous claims, and made these poor people re-live their tragedy every two years with him applying for parole. He tried to stay in the media. He was very much like the Canadian version of Charles Manson in that regard.

Though I’m fortunate that I am not personally tied to Clifford Olson through family or friends, I did meet and play soccer for one of the victim’s parents back in the early 90’s while living in Vancouver. There are very few times in my life, where finding out about a person’s past caused me such grief and sadness. I felt my coach’s loss. I felt like throwing up. It effects me to this day, almost 20 years after finding this out.

I’m torn as to wanting to say nasty things about Clifford Olson. Why? I guess I think that when a person is dead, there is no point in wishing extra death or suffering upon them. They are dead. I’m tempted to though. He was evil. But there is no such thing as karma in my opinion. The world is better off without Clifford Olson for sure, but there is no balance now that he’s dead. His victims families still suffer. I can’t see anyway to level the playing field. At least these families can feel a bit of relief they don’t have to deal with him anymore.

Today will be a day that many people discuss how they hope he suffered when he died, that he lived far too long, and that if there was anyone that deserved the death penalty, it was him. In fact, as I sit here in the coffee shop on my lunch break, a lady said that he lived far too long. I agree with her. But, not for the same reasons. I wish he died soon after being convicted so as to not torment his victims, but that it not be society’s responsibility to make that happen.

If there is one thing that Clifford Olson incited, was the public debating the pro- and cons of the death penalty.  One quote today I read on Google+ summed up why it’s better to have a life sentence rather than the death penalty…

Now this is JUSTICE! If we had the death penalty he would have died painlessly instead he lived in hell for over thirty years in a 6 by 9 cell worrying everyday who would shank him first and now a slow and painful death of cancer….

via Randy Roberts

I’ll leave it there. I’m glad he’s dead, and that he didn’t die in his sleep dreaming of rainbows and unicorns…

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