Flower grow in alleyway where Carolyn Connolly met with her maker Aug 2, 2008. The blotch on the fence from graffiti that marked the spot of her murder is still visible.
Most who took the time to write in or leave comments online agreed that decriminalizing all drugs as a means towards a harm reduction strategy focused on health rather than enforcement (see the successful Portugal experiment) is safer and more prudent - not to mention a lot less expensive - than the current war on drugs obsession.
On the issue of prostitution, however, the issue of whether or not to legalize was not as clear cut. For many readers, legalizing the oldest profession on the planet would only expose more women to widespread abuse and exploitation. It's difficult not to agree when the sex trade is viewed in the global context and the growth of trafficking of women from eastern Europe and the Far East.
A few mentioned the classified ads in the back pages of NOW advertising sexual services for sale and expressed little surprise about our advocating a loosening of the laws on prostitution. Judging by the pointed letters from some readers, NOW Magazine is as guilty as the pimps who profit from sexual services on the street.
It's a harsh appraisal. Rather, NOW has long been of the view, shared by sex workers rights groups, that allowing women (and men) to provide sexual services from the privacy of their own home, illegal now under bawdy house laws under which sentences are stiff, is safer than forcing them out into the street to ply their trade.
From the privacy of their own homes workers are better able to screen would-be clients, put neighbours, or a roommate on alert, when they're with customers.
Which brings me to Carolyn Connolly, stabbed to death last August 2 and left to die in an alleyway off Shuter and Sherbourne. Her killer, or killers, are still at large.
The area of south Regent where Connolly was murdered is not your typical for street walkers.
Those that troll the strip are not full-time working girls. Most are living on social assistance, some fighting addictions, and are turning tricks for extra cash to make ends meet.
Unlike the fulltime pros working the infamous strip on Church, there's no network of fellow workers, no one to watch your back. The girls on Shuter are freelancers, working alone on the street. And, as such, more exposed to the potential dangers of the trade.
Connolly was 54. A survivor of homelessness, no one came to her aid that night, even though a number of people in the neighbourhood reportedly heard her screams.
She was badly beaten. So badly, in fact, that fingerprints from a previous robbery conviction (she served hard time in the Kingston Prison for Women in the 80s) were used instead by police to identify Connolly's body.
Connolly's killer, or killers, are still at large. Would the outcome for her have been any different if prostitution laws had allowed her to work from home? Perhaps Connolly preferred the street. We'll never know.
About the only thing we do know for sure is that dozens of women like Connolly, without the choice because of the current laws, are murdered every year across the country. Forgotten, the crimes against them go unsolved.