We need healing lodges – not just prison type healing lodges, but honest to goodness places where the down and out can get healing – before the next crimes. We can’t prevent the crimes that have already happened. We can’t undo the past or bring Tory Stafford back to life no matter how harsh we are with McClintic, but there is always a next crime someone somewhere will be doing and we need to do more to make sure every child grows up with good values and with a sense of safety that allows them to escape the Raffertys of the world.
There is a fair amount in the news these days about human trafficking, and how it doesn’t always look like someone being grabbed on the street and handcuffed. Most of the time there is grooming involved, where vulnerable women get seduced by older men and then pressured into bad actions. I can’t help thinking about the descriptions of trafficking and grooming when I read the stories right now about Terri-Lynne McClintic.
Terri-Lynn McClintic helped kidnap and murder a child. She’s in the news right now because she is being transferred to a healing lodge. People are upset that someone who helped torture and murder a child is being moved into a prison that is focused on rehabilitation rather than retribution.
It really strikes me reading about this case, that some of the compassion we feel towards trafficking victims might apply to McClintic herself. She was the child of a stripper, given to a different stripper to raise. The woman who raised her was an alcoholic and drug addict. Family members said she had been physically and sexually abused as a child. McClintic was 18 years old at the time of the crime, with a boyfriend ten years older than her. She did horrible, awful, awful things but a healing lodge might be the right place for her.
I think it too bad she couldn’t have got taken into some sort of healing lodge as a child or teenager, so she would have been offered help then and perhaps the little girl she helped murder would be alive today – or, perhaps, there would have been another vulnerable young woman recruited by Rafferty to do the same thing. I don’t know who I would be, if I didn’t have the parents I do. So much of who I am and what forms my underlying beliefs about everything was given to me by my parents and by the books they gave me and the music they gave me. I have no clue who I would be if I was raised by someone else – in particular by a drug addict in a situation where I was being abused. I imagine I would be pretty desperate to get out of the situation. I imagine I might be willing to go along with an abusive guy, if he offered me even just a bit more love than I experienced at home. I don’t know.
I don’t know. What this really reminds me is that we can’t isolate ourselves. We can’t say other people’s problems don’t matter. We can’t shrug our hands and say drug abusers should just go ahead and overdose and who cares about them. We need to help make sure that there are best practices available. If the research says the best way to help drug addicts is to help them build relationships with those who can help them through safe injection sites, we should go for it. If the research says we should have more drug withdrawal services, we should go for that. We need to do whatever we can to help prevent kids being raised like Terri-Lynne was, because what happens to a child like Terri-Lynne is going to influence what happens to children like the one she killed. If we want to help the Tory Staffords of the world we have to get out there now and help the Terri-Lynnes of the world.