Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer was a loser.

She was unattractive and overweight, she hated her job, she hated her elderly patients. The only power she had, the only control she could muster over her lousy dead-end life, came in a syringe of insulin.

When news broke last fall that the former Woodstock nurse had been charged with killing eight seniors and attempting to murder four more in southwestern Ontario, the only way to make any kind of sense of it was to hope that at least it was done out of altruistic, if twisted, motives. But Wettlaufer’s guilty pleas and unemotional confession played out in court Thursday showed that she was no angel of mercy.

She was the angel of death.

The only good thing this serial killer did was quit her nursing job last summer with a home health-care agency because it would have meant caring for children with diabetes — and she couldn’t trust herself not to kill them as well. And we should give her some credit for finally coming forward — because goodness knows, no one else would have stopped her almost decade-long killing spree.

What a coward she was, targeting the old and the infirm, too weak in body or mind to protect themselves from her evil. She blamed a “red surge.” A message delivered to her directly from God. To kill? How does that even make sense to a supposedly devout woman educated at a Bible college?

Wettlaufer was able to get away with it for so long because she worked the graveyard shift with easy access to the unlocked drug cupboard and because her patients were elderly and no one seemed to question when they died. So when she had that urge to kill, she got rid of the annoying and the troublesome, dispatching them with nary a twinge of conscience. Instead, she chillingly described the laughter that bubbled inside and how she’d comfort the grieving loved ones of the patients she’d just murdered.

We now know all too much about this killer nurse. But she is not the only guilty party in this horrific tragedy.

Our most vulnerable citizens are warehoused in these understaffed old age homes, treated as disposable human beings who long ago used up their utility to society. …


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