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There Is No Justice When A Child is Murdered

Updated on November 7, 2014

Another young woman has been found murdered in Virginia. Evidence connects her murder to that of another murdered girl. The case is also connected to one, maybe two, rapes. And we wonder how many others there might be. Too many young women are still missing from the same area. Their families still have no answers and for some, it has been a long, long time. Is one monster responsible for them all? Will we ever know?

What is Justice?

There is a reverberating question going around and around in my brain. I hear it no matter what I am doing and I can’t make it stop. As I stood at the kitchen sink methodically washing up the dishes, I heard it. “What is justice?” As I swept the fallen leaves off the patio today, there it was again. “What is justice?” When I sat picking at my lunch, it sat with me and echoed “What is justice? What is justice? What is justice?” Each time my response is the same. “There is no justice.”

There is no Justice.

There is no justice for the families of the missing or murdered here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There is no justice for those who have lost a friend or for those that put their lives on hold for weeks while they searched for answers. There is no justice for a community gripped in fear that a monster is prowling the streets looking for another victim. There is no justice.

My core beliefs are shaken

I am heartbroken and I am angry. There is a struggle taking place within me. I have argued for fairness in our judicial system. I have carried the banner for civil rights and due process. In years past I fought for restoration of voting rights for those convicted of a crime and argued that all people deserve a second chance. Those opinions now lay like shattered glass on the surface of my heart. I don’t know what I believe anymore.

My anger speaks.

There is no justice. There it is again. I need to confront it; stare it down until it backs off a bit. So I tell myself, “of course there is justice”. But there is no justice.

The death penalty is too easy. Yes, it robs the monster of air and water, sun and stars. But it’s easy. It doesn’t hurt and it’s over in seconds. It’s so much easier than what the victims of this monster endured.

Life in prison? No, that really is too easy. It won’t take the monster long to spin his lies and build a visiting list of young women who believe he got a raw deal. Why should he get three meals a day? His victims weren’t fed before they were brutally murdered. Why should he have the privilege of recreation time? His victims will never feel the warmth of the sun on their face or feel the gentle breeze blow through their hair. This monster doesn’t deserve to live in prison where he can read and listen to music and even play softball. I’m sure his victims would love to do those things just one more time.

There is no justice. The monster took liberties with his victims, He took away their choice. He robbed them of an education, a career, and, the chance to have a family of their own. He did those things without a conscience and when he was finished, he tossed them aside like they were little more than garbage. He left them alone in the woods unable to tell us what other atrocities he committed against them. He took away their voice and left their broken bodies to tell the story. There is no justice, the monster got away with it for too long.

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

— Martin Luther King

Again, what is justice?

What should we do with the monster? If death and prison are too easy, what should we do with him. We are a civilized society. We can’t hurt those that he loves and make him watch. We can’t hang him in the center of town and torture him. Our system of justice doesn’t allow us to lock him away and never let him see another woman. Oh no, the monster has more rights than any of his victims and that just makes me angry.

There is no justice. The monster will sit in a climate controlled cell and sleep on a mattress until his trial. His victims were left on the cold hard ground. They weren’t warm and sleeping on a soft mattress. The monster will get a fair trial at our expense. That’s so much more than his victims got. And, no matter what the outcome, it will take years to get through the appeals. The monster will have medical care provided at our expense. He will have opportunities to learn and develop skills; all things that he stole from his victims. The monster will make phone calls to his family and friends while the families of his victims long to hear their voice again. Is that justice?

The irony of our system of justice.

The monster, if he is convicted, will be protected. There are many inside the prison that would love to have five minutes behind a closed door with the monster. There will even be staff at the facility that would like those same five minutes with the monster. But no, we will protect the monster from becoming a victim of violence. We won’t let anyone hurt him and if they try, he will be moved and placed in a more secure setting. They call it protective custody. Why should we protect him? He’s a monster. Is that what we call justice?

There it goes again, the reverberating question….what is justice…what is justice…what is justice? Perhaps I am better off not knowing the answer.

© 2014 Linda Crist


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  • ValKaras profile image

    Vladimir Karas 

    19 months ago from Canada

    Linda---By the end of what I am about to say, you may not be willing to believe how I am deeply empathizing with you and with the emotional echo of all these good folks commenting on your sad hub.

    What am I about to say so "different" if I agree with every single sentence that you wrote?

    It's a fact that there is no justice. But then we have to see the bigger picture, and then we may even start experiencing a sort of peace.

    Like, we call those individuals "monsters"---while they are just an insane part of our reality, and question is how much we want to get emotionally focused on it. In that same insane part of reality, some kid will be killed by a doctor misdiagnosing, by a drunk driver, by drug overdose, even by parental neglect. Kids are massively dying all over the world in wars, and it could drive us literally crazy if we saw every of those mothers hovering over their dead bodies. What do they think about "justice", or about a "just god", or about "how they deserved that pain"?

    Linda, my point being that there are brutal realities of life, and it leads us nowhere but into ruining our own health if we start making an inventory of injustices around the world.

    Am I saying that we should "turn a blind eye" to all that? NO!

    But I am saying that there is only so much we can do to protect ourselves from that "insane part of reality". The rest we have to leave alone---like we would leave alone the question of a tornado destroying someone's home.

    We can't deal with each and every aspect of reality over which we have no control. And we shouldn't, if we don't want to become the next victim---of our own bad stress management.

    I honestly apologize if my response to your hub sounds "heartless". I feel what you feel, and it's hard, I know.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sweet Faith, you and I both know that justice will come but I can't help but wanting there to be justice in this lifetime for these monsters. My heart aches for these families. It is hard enough to lose an elderly parent or grandparent but to lose a child to such violence is beyond my ability to comprehend how you deal with that much pain. I love you dear one!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    3 years ago from southern USA

    Oh, Linda, your words are pounding through my heart right now. Those who commit such heinous acts do not care that they are taking the precious life of someone's loved one, someone's little girl, granddaughter, sister ... they are sociopaths and feel nothing. Yes, indeed, what is justice? I understand perfectly what you are conveying here in this powerful message ... for when you think about the life that is taken, there is no justice ... there is no justice at all!


  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Graham, Thanks for the visit. This is a tough subject. I am a very forgiving person in most cases but not in the case where one person repeatedly violates or kills another and, if it can be proven beyond doubt. I know our justice system is not fair and that innocent people are behind bars. But in the case where DNA evidence proves that an offender has harmed more than one person, they should pay. I just don't know if there is anything that equates to real justice in our world for these monsters. Surely nothing the system can do to them brings comfort to the family of his victims. I don't think your ideas are harsh at all. I hear what you are saying about how these men cast dispersions upon all men and if that is true, it is sad. I prefer to think that most people are good until they prove me wrong. lol Thanks again.

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 

    3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Linda. I feel your pain at the injustice you see all around you regarding these monsters. I think the only thing is to sentence these cowards to hard labour, then make it so! If they die then they die. One might say harsh but it is one answer. Such men as these cast dispersions upon all men, most men are not remotely like these louts.


  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    John, thanks for understanding. I think some who read this missed the point that nothing can really be called justice for the families who have lost a loved one. This series of missing young women here in Virginia has been such a mystery but I believe that several of the families are about to get answers. That doesn't change the horror of what they have been through but at least they might have closure to one or two questions. I appreciate your visit here today.

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    So true Linda..I often think there is no effective justice as what there is often fails. As you say the sentence is never as bad as what the victims and their families had to suffer. I hadn't heard about the spate of killings in central Virginia before. I need to read your other hub. Very well written and voted up. Thanks for the follow too.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Mary! Thanks for adding real content to this subject. Reading through the comments this hub has gotten is very interesting. I think I failed at trying to make my point that for a parent whose child has been murdered there is no justice. I can['t imagine any punishment that would make me feel like justice was served. I just cannot imagine how you ever find closure or peace.. And, I don't know whether it matters whether the perp spends life in prison or is killed at the hands of the system. Being stuck there, without clarity, made me angry enough that I had to write about it.

    You are absolutely right about the disparity in sentencing and that we don't have an answer to the problem. Hope you are well. It's nice to hear from you.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    3 years ago from New York

    Certainly Linda you are not alone in your thoughts. It seems more and more atrocious crimes are committed with less and less punishment. There is a fine line between justice and fairness. You hear of a simple crime of possession of drugs where the perpetrator spends years in jail then a murderer who is out in 18 months. None of us has the answer but, we share your thoughts and pain.

    Voted up, useful, and interesting.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    AJDonkin, thank you so much for reading my hub and for taking the time to leave such a meaningful comment. I haven't written on this issue much because I simply don't have a solution to the problem of violent crime or incarceration. I have mixed feelings about the death penalty that I haven't been able to resolve. This piece was written from what I call emotional overload. I have such empathy for the loved ones of these young girls who have been the victim of a single "monster" here in Virginia. I don't know what else to call someone who repeatedly rapes and murders. Nothing that we do to them will bring peace to the families of the victims. I really do believe in second chances and I don't think incarceration is the answer to many of the crimes for which people are locked up. I don't agree with our current system that locks people away and lets them lounge around all day at the expense of those of us who pay taxes. I served as a volunteer in the Virginia system for a while and saw too much I guess. I heard too many sob stories and as you said, I \met some of those folks that had done horrible things without a conscience. I also heard stories of minor cries that went horribly wrong and sensed real remorse in the perpetrator. Very little in life is black and white,..

    So, I write because I don't know what else to do with thee thoughts and feelings and I hope that in sharing them, someone brighter than me will be moved to help find a solution.

    Thanks again for the visit.

  • AJDonkin profile image

    Alexander Donkin 

    3 years ago from Newport News, VA

    Great Hub...By the end of reading it, I could really feel the raw emotion in which it was written. I don't follow the topic of incarceration that often, only because I've had personal experience with that issue. And because of those experiences, I have had first hand experience with people that you would consider a "monster." Too many times I've met people accused and found guilty of some of the most heinous crimes, eg, a man who killed his wife with a crossbow, another who killed his wife with a 50lb box of floor tiles, a man who killed a young girl while carjacking her the night before Christmas and many other drug and gang-related murders, and too many times I've seen them go through prison life without a care in the world, without the slightest remorse for the pain and agony they've caused many other people. It was enough to make me sick and disgusted in the whole process. The system truly doesn't work. Plenty of people aren't intimidated by the prospect of spending the rest of their life in prison. As far as taking any preventative measures against violent crime, anything short of an annual purge, subsequently becoming monsters ourselves, won't work. We can only be satisfied that these particular criminals won't be able to do it again. There really is no way to prevent it. Great hub...I look forward to reading more about this topic from you

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Silva Hayes, thank you for adding fuel to my fire. The cases you mentioned are representative of the insanity of our system. I wrote this because I just needed to vent and I hoped in doing so that I would make someone else think. Yes, our system needs to be reformed and there is a need to educate others so that we have more voting power. These are senseless atrocities and so heartbreaking for the families. I even have enormous sympathy for the parents of the monsters.. How do you face that this child you have loved is such a monster? Oh, it's all so sad.

    Thank you so much for sharing here today. It really means a lot.

  • Silva Hayes profile image

    Silva Hayes 

    4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

    Darren Vann served 5 years in Texas for a sexual assault in Austin. He left state custody in 2013 and was not on probation. Now according to current news reports, it seems that he has murdered at least 7 women in Indiana. A FAILURE of our criminal justice system.

    Jesse Matthew, currently suspected in the abduction of Hannah Graham, has been indicted for a 2005 rape in Fairfax, for attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman. Another FAILURE.

    WHY are these monsters among us? Our criminal justice system is surely broken.

    Do you remember this? On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler set his house on fire to lure volunteer firefighters and slaughtered the first responders. Did you know that he beat his grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980? Indicted on a murder charge, he was allowed to remain free on a $15,000 bond. A judge okayed a plea bargain reducing the charge to manslaughter and he only spent 17 years in prison.

    Justin Boulay served only 12 years for the cold-blooded premeditated murder of his ex-girlfriend. After confessing, and before sentencing, he was put on house arrest and allowed to walk the streets! While in prison he was allowed to MARRY and after serving his light sentence, he went to live in Hawaii.

    Disparity in sentencing is a huge issue in the United States. Vicious rapists and murderers gamble with the criminal justice system, and are often set free to strike again.

    I empathize with your pain, and the pain and sorrow of the families of the victims. What is justice? I don't know. All I do know is that our criminal justice system needs a complete and thorough overhaul. Retribution for these terrible crimes should be swift and deadly.

    If we are going to incarcerate these monsters instead of putting them to death, then their lifetime spent behind bars should be forcibly productive, producing goods or food, not spent lounging about in the library or passing time on the internet.

    I hope you can find some peace.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, I know you are right but I wish the families could get more. I can't help it. No one has ever come back from hell to tell me how bad it really is so it remains a mystery to me. Something in me just wants to KNOW that he will pay and that there is real justice somewhere. Thanks for the support girlfriend. You always inspire me to think deeper.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, our justice system is back asswards, for sure. It's disgusting to know that, if this guy is ever caught, he'll be living a safe life with free room and board. I don't know what the solution is. However, I agree that he should be made to feel pain. I doubt he's capable of emotional pain, so the alternative is physical pain. But then, that makes us monsters, too. I think the only redeeming factor we can hang on to is his victims are with God and he will rot in Hell when his day comes.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Jackie, your story is just another example of there being no justice. I agree with the castration in the case of rape. I don't have an answer for the rest but I do think we go way too far to protect the monsters in our society from each other. I think they should be put in a place where they can feed off of each other and let the strongest prevail. The tragedy that is unfolding here has really broken my heart and made me feel anger like I have rarely ever felt. I had to do something with all those emotions so I started writing. I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment on this piece. I always appreciate your heart.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Patricia, thank you. Thank you for understanding and feeling the same anger and pain. This piece was written more to handle the overflow of emotions I am feeling than anything else. It was my therapy. Sadly, it didn't help but I hope it will help remove the blinders off of someone who might be in a position of power that can change the law. I will read your article too.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Eric, you did indeed understand and feel it. I do have faith and I do believe in God, although I admit that it is beyond my understanding. And as you said,, that faith assures me that this monster will reap what he has sown. Yes, I am angry and for many reasons. As I heard the media and the community crying for justice it stopped me cold. What they are demanding and begging for for does not exist in this dimension of life. Thank you for another thoughtful comment. I always appreciate your presence.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I think automatic castration for any 100% proven rape would have many hesitating while plotting. But you know rape or murder the price is never right; judges are too lenient, they should never be released!

    I knew of a boy who cut a girl in tiny pieces and it seemed just a couple years after this he was at a house in my neighborhood often! How would someone like that ever be set free?!! We have a right to be outraged.

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    4 years ago from sunny Florida

    I so agree with the line that states the monster if convicted will be protected. Justice really is not justice for all.

    About 12 weeks ago I shared a hub on this same topic about Caylee Anthony who was killed and her murdered walks free.

    It is heart breaking when this happens.

    Angels are on the way to you ps

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    You write on a most difficult subject. In grappling with it as you have done I have concluded there is not possibility of proper judgment and justice on this level of existence. It requires some faith in a higher power and some form of existence other than this one. Only then, using concepts like eternity and hell can we find that there is any justice at all. I find that faith and am therefor reconciled.

    Excellent piece as I felt your frustration and pain.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Oh Bill, this thing is just so horrible and yes, this was written from the pain of empathy. No, I don't want to live in a vigilante society. I don't have the answer either, obviously. I just can't make sense out of it all. This piece was more for me than anything. I hope others will recognize that. You are without a doubt my Kindred spirit. Thank you for jumping on this one and helping me feel okay about publishing it. I wasn't sure. Love you bunches my special friend.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Powerful writing my friend. I feel the pain from here, and I have no answer. Oddly, my latest novel is about a vigilante who asks this same question, and decides that he is justice since he no longer can trust the justice system. Is that how we want to live?

    As I said, I have no answers...only empathy.




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