The Hamilton Spectator
Regan Russell’s father seeks justice
Silence is a unique commodity in our lives. Our daughter Regan was struck and killed by a truck driver carrying pigs, outside Sofina’s Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington on June 19, 2020.
Since that tragic day, her mother, Patricia, and I, and her sister Shannon, have experienced pretty well all the “Sounds of Silence” as mentioned in the 1964 song of the same name composed by Messrs Simon and Garfunkel. Regan was bearing witness to those pigs that day and like the thousands of pigs killed everyday at the slaughterhouse, her life was silenced.
There is the silence after someone offers condolences for the loss of a loved one. That silence is a void words simply cannot fill; both giver and receiver are temporarily lost in that void of thought for a few moments before speech resumes. The act of the two-minute silence of Remembrance Day observed by the Portuguese parliament as a mark of respect to Regan, exemplified a mass outpouring of silent unified respect for her devotion to animals. Regan went to many vigils, bearing witness to animals arriving for slaughter.
There is also the silence at other vigils around the world where activists pay tribute to her, often with placards with her image as they comfort the animals arriving for slaughter. These vigils are practised regularly in centres like Toronto, Burlington, Los Angeles, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Argentina and England, to name a few, expressing heartfelt feelings inspired by Regan’s example.
Then there is the personal silence usually induced by some routine act like glancing at a photograph; hearing her “Please leave a message!” voice on an unanswered phone call, or at breakfast seeing one place vacant. Such is private silence with tears from actions that occur when least expected.
Finally, there is the silence of officialdom. This was driven home to our family with the official visit by Halton Police 27 days after Regan’s death.
Simply put, we were told that our daughter was killed, autopsy performed, and the driver of the truck charged under the Highway Traffic Act with careless driving. After that belated visit, there has been only one thing emanating from the Halton Regional Police Service in the 347 days leading up to the first memorial of that shocking travesty: SILENCE! The silence of conclusion and unanswered questions.
Now, two years later, waiting expectantly for a third hearing on March 27, for Regan’s disaster to be viewed as more than a mere statistic, I am reminded of the closing words of Simon and Garfunkel’s song: “… 10,000 people and no one dared disturb the sound of silence.”
Bearing that profundity in mind, I think the time has come to do some silence disturbing of our own! We believe our darling Regan’s violent death is worthy of a more detailed, meticulous, intensive investigation than what culminated as a mere moment of “careless driving.” The time for justice for Regan is upon us. May our sound disturb the silence of officialdom!
Regan was someone who made noise. As we quoted one of Regan’s cantankerous quips on her tombstone, “I don’t know if it does any good, but I know doing nothing does no good.”