Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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28

Jul

2019

Restorative justice -- a better way

Author: Jim Taylor

This is a tale of two men -- one of them attempting to be an axe-murderer, the other attempting not to be his victim.

            I can give the name of the intended victim; Doug Martindale, a United Church minister who spent 21 years as a member of the Manitoba Legislature. I can’t name the perpetrator, because I don’t have his permission. Besides, he’s dead.

            The way the story goes, Doug agreed to paint the cottage of an elderly acquaintance, who owned a 10-acre woodlot. Doug would get some wood; the older man would get his cottage painted.

            But when Doug went up for a weekend’s work, no one told him that another man would also be there -- a second-generation-distant nephew. For simplicity, I’ll just call him “the nephew.”

            The nephew was drunk. 

            Still, the two worked reasonably well together, painting the eaves. Until they got to a bird’s nest with eggs in it. The cottage’s owner would want to preserve the wildlife, Doug thought. 

            The nephew didn’t like being told what to do. Doug tried to calm him, but the hostility escalated. Anger turned into threats. The nephew picked up a double-bitted axe and raised it over his head to strike Doug.

            Doug admits he was more scared than he had ever been in his life.

 


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