Killer Nurse: How the system failed

Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered eight seniors in Ontario nursing homes over a period of nine years. Following the public inquiry, Alex Roslin explores how budget cuts, poor staffing and ageism in the long-term care system created an environment for the serial killer to run amok.

(ZOOMER Magazine) November 2018, by Alex Roslin—Elizabeth Wettlaufer made an odd discovery when she was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward. Thinking about murder made her anger go away. Sort of. Wettlaufer had a lot of anger  so much that she could barely concentrate. She was also quite depressed and had been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

She was in the hospital because she had tried to kill herself with an overdose of medications. When that failed, she had stolen cleaning fluid from a hospital with the idea of drinking it to commit suicide. But then, she realized something.... Read an extended excerpt from the article here, get a copy of the magazine here and read my Zoomer blog posts about the provincial inquiry into Wettlaufer's murder spree here.

Opinion: Quebec's BEI falls short of expectations

Civilian-led watchdog was supposed to finally bring independence and transparency to investigations of violent incidents involving police.

(The Montreal Gazette) December 11, 2018, by Alex Roslin—Recent weeks have seen a succession of controversies about the secrecy and alleged pro-police bias of Quebec’s new police watchdog agency, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes.

Created two and a half years ago to investigate officers involved in shootings and other serious incidents, the civilian-led BEI was supposed to finally bring independence and transparency to investigations.

But the BEI is starting to look like a step backward. Of 110 investigations started so far, none has led to charges. That’s actually worse than before the BEI, when police were routinely accused of covering for each other when investigating fellow cops.

Before the BEI, 10 charges were filed in 526 investigations of police officers from 1999 to 2016, according to Quebec public security ministry data. The charging rate back then was ultra-low — just 1.9 per cent — but at least it was better than the BEI’s dismal batting average of zero.... Read the full op-ed piece here.

When Disaster Strikes

As the population ages and natural disasters grow increasingly calamitous, Alex Roslin says it's time emergency agencies developed plans to look after those who are always hardest hitseniors.

Seniors flooded in a Texas nursing home when
Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. They were initially
told no help was coming. This photo on Twitter
finally got the seniors rescued.
(ZOOMER Magazine) February 26, 2018The floodwater from the Rivière des Prairies rose slowly at first, then quickly. Rene LeBlanc, 71, watched with great alarm a block away from the river, on Des Maçons Street in Montreal's West Island.

LeBlanc had spent a lifetime thinking about disasters and risks of various kinds. Now retired, he had worked 45 years in insurance, specializing in loss prevention. When the river overflowed onto his street, he sprang into action.... Read the full article here.

The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence: How It Affects Us All

(Domestic Violence Report) February/March 2016, by Alex RoslinIn 2019, in Utica, New York, police investigator Joseph Longo, Jr. killed his estranged wife Kristin Palumbo-Longo in their home, stabbing her more than a dozen times. He then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple's four children discovered the horrifying scene upon coming home from school that afternoon.

Utica's then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident "no one could have prevented or predicted." But Kristin's family filed a $100-million wrongful death suit saying city and police officials did not do enough about Longo's troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids. But police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, according to the lawsuit. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have "enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate interference." The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple's children $2 million.... Read the rest of the article here.