LEST WE FORGET. A KILLER’S FATE
Today in Risdon Prison Tasmania, Martin Bryant, murderer of 35 people at Port Arthur in 1996, lives as a “zombie”.
Perhaps he has the chance to fleetingly feel the sun on his back. Maybe he can note each day’s beginning with the sound of birdsong or knows when each day ends with the fall of darkness. Perhaps he can smell when spring comes.
White crosses for the 12 victims of the Colorado theatre shooting. Photograph via The Australian.
That’s all he will ever know of the natural world. That’s all he deserves.
He will never be free. Bryant is serving 35 life sentences and 1035 years without parole.
However, he still breathes… unlike the people he gunned down at Port Arthur on April 28, 1996.
Thirty-five dead. Twenty-three wounded.
I’m one of those Australians who remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news come over the radio. I was in the garden, planting herbs. I was set back into the dirt and couldn’t get up.
Lest we forget Bryant’s cold-blooded parade from the Broad Arrow Café to the gift shop and the car park at Port Arthur. How he doubled back… still looking for more innocents to kill.
He demanded Nanette Mikac beg for her daughters’ lives, then shot her dead. He executed Madeline, only three, and then chased her sister, Alannah and finding her behind a tree, killed her too. She was just six years old.
The name Walter Mikac still resonates as an echo of unbearable sorrow.
Search his name on the internet and he is now an “inspirational and motivational keynote speaker”. He campaigns for gun control. The patron of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation is Princess Mary of Denmark.
In Risdon, Martin Bryant is still able to receive visitors.
Although, as his mother Carleen said in 2006: “He won’t speak; he just stares into the middle distance. I can sit in front of him for 15 minutes and he says nothing.”
“Martin is like a zombie.”
His doctor, unnamed said: “He is an overweight, shambolic wreck”.
“If the community wanted a severe punishment for Mr Bryant, then they have it… What he has now is far worse than the death penalty.”
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