After days and weeks on pins and needles about the verdict in the murders of Julie Crocker and Paula Menedez, the jury came back with a guilty verdict yesterday. Thank goodness.
I’m not going to rehash the whole story here. It’s available to you everywhere if you want to know more. I didn’t know Julie well. We exchanged Hi’s when we passed in the hallways at Rogers radio. I met Paula only once when we shared a table at a Christmas party. But my main concern was for the “third victim”, my former 680 News morning show colleague Rick Ralph. The killer has announced he will appeal and that means this story isn’t over yet. We can only hope that the appeal is tossed out as meritless, because that’s what it is.
Now on to the related issue of words.
My media brethren and sisters drive me bananas when they report on this story and call the womens’ murders “deaths”. They’re either lazy or rushed as they diminish the brutal ends to these innocent women’s lives this way. The crimes should, without exception, be referred to as murders and this ought to be so for every such case. Death refers to the end of a life. Murder makes it clear that the life ended wrongly at the hand of someone else. It’s more descriptive, it’s accusatory (appropriate) and it is sympathetic to the victims. It is the proper word and word choices are vital in accurate storytelling.