We were dicussing imagery associated with the Willy Pickton trial and all of the missing women from the Downtown Eastside today in class, and this image came up:
I noticed right away the contrast between the victims all being women and the rest of the people, especially the lawyers, being men. Of particular interest to me is the fact that Peter Ritchie is defending Robert Pickton, and Michael Petrie is defending the Crown, but no one is defending the women. Michael Petrie, while he is ostensibly on the “side” of the women, is actually defending the state from lawlessness and disorder. Compare Max Weber’s definition of the state:
[T]he state is the form of human community that (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of legitimate physical violence within a particular territory […]. [A]ll other organizations or individuals can assert the right to use physical violence only insofar as the state permits them to do so. (“Politics as a Vocation,” italics in original)
Pickton threatened the autonomy of the state by using physical violence without permission, which is why he is being prosecuted by the state rather than by a lawyer working for the women. Considering the Crown symbolism, in fact, the women have very little to do with this trial whatsoever.