Prince George Citizen

Thursday, March 23, 2000

Sad system

Letters from people who live throughout Canada started pouring in to The Citizen's e-mail system as soon as people picked up their paper and/or clicked on our web page Wednesday morning. The letters were demanding, some even seemed to be screaming for, an inquest into the suicide of 34-year-old Prince George man Darrin Bruce White. There does seem to be something fundamentally wrong with a system that sets up child support payments that amount to more than twice the money a person earns, which was White's situation.

Often, judges will not impose, say, a liquor abstention order as part of some person's sentence or probation because that would just be setting that person up for a breach of probation and have him/her back before the judge promptly. However, family court judges apparently don't care that they are demanding impossible things. Or, and perhaps this is worse, family court judges don't have previous orders in front of them when they make a decision.

We're not talking about deadbeat dads. The men who do not adhere to reasonable child support payment orders are, at the least, shirking their responsibility, at the most, performing a criminal act. The children deserve the support, both financially and otherwise -- it's the adults that brought them into this world.

Suicide is never the answer, but we can understand how Darrin White felt painted into a corner. His death is just another blow to children who have already been through some horrible times.

This is a gut-wrenching story from all angles. There will be some who say Darrin White's death may do some good, that the family court system will face intense scrutiny or even an overhaul.

We disagree. There was nothing good about Darrin White's death, regardless of what fruit the expected microscopic look at the system bears.