Saturday, August 2, 2008

Shocking Greyhound Tragedy; Even More Shocking Reaction

Okay, it's been a few days since this horrible tragedy that occured just outside Portage La Prairie and I have been just dumbfounded (that's right, I said dumbfounded!) by the things people are saying on the internets with regards to the killer, the victim, and the whole situation. Instead of angrily replying to every idiotic post I read, I thought I'd just vent here and get it out of my system.

First off, how messed up is it that Tim Mclean's family found out about his death from a journalist. That is absolutely horrible. It's not the RCMP's fault, either. I blame the people who decided to open a public group on facebook to honor Mclean's memory. The press feed on these kind of things, and they are totally allowed to quote public posts and use facebook as a source. Is it sloppy journalism? Of course it is. That doesn't mean they won't do it.

People have got to realize that facebook is a public forum. Anything you post on there is in the public domain, even if you have your privacy settings jacked up. Think of it this way: You wouldn't parade up and down the street with signs saying "We miss you, Tim," and "RIP Tim Mclean" shouting your comments and thoughts about Vince Weiguang Li and how he should be put to death to anyone who is walking by, would you? Well creating a public memorial group on facebook is the online equivalent. Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with the friends and family of Tim Mclean and I respect their desire to preserve his memory, but perhaps facebook is not the right place for it.

I've been checking out a variety of sites and I am just shocked at the comments people are making about the killer and this crime. I understand that the gruesome nature of this incident has people's emotions running high, but the incredibly ignorant things people are saying is just unbelievable. Let's see if I can sum up the most common comments:

1. Vince Weiguang Li is a sadistic cruel bastard and should be put to death. In fact, Canada should reinstate the death penalty just for this guy.

Well, this is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Clearly this man is insane. As such, he will most likely be found not guilty by reason of insanity. So even if we did have the death penalty, he wouldn't get it. He will most likely be put away in an institution for the criminally insane and drugged up for the rest of his life. People who are mentally ill have no control over their actions and couldn't be made to understand what they did was wrong. It's the reason why they have that plea in the legal sytem.

2. The other 37 passengers on the bus are cowards for not helping Tim McLean and stopping the killer fromm cutting his head off.

Oh, come on! These people were in no way obligated to get between a knife-weilding maniac and his victim. They were just following the primary human instinct: self-preservation.There is no shame to be had in running like hell off of that bus, especially if you had kids. I'll tell you, if it was me, I would have done exactly what those people did: make sure everyone gets off the bus safely, THEN go back on to see if you can help the victim. How were they supposed to know that Li was going to cut his head off? I see some people posting (mostly Americans) that someone should have make a rudimentary weapon of some sort and attacked the killer. I say that would have done no good. Which brings me to my next most commonly observed comment...

3. If someone on that bus had had a gun, this would have turned out differently.

You're damn right this would have turned out differently. We would have had 5 or 6 dead people instead of just one. If this incident had taken place in the gun-happy states instead of Canada, this guy would have had a gun on the bus. He would have shot McLean and then moved on to the next person before the driver could even stop the bus. If one of the other passengers had been packing, do you think this guy would have stopped just because a gun was pointed in his face? I don't think so. In fact there is a real possibility of Li getting a hold of the gun and using it on the other passengers. When guns are readily available to the public, the results are tragedies like Virginia Tech or Columbine. Those things happen way less in Canada.

I'm not even going to go into the comments about the killer's race (like that has anything to do with it,) or any of the other ridiculous things that people are saying. I just don't have the energy. However, I am also seeing stupid reactons in the real world as well. As I was taking the bus home from work today, a young aboriginal man got off the bus as I got on. After I had found my seat, this old woman sitting at the front of the bus said, "I know this is silly, but I felt nervous the whole time that man was sitting behind me." I wanted to smack her.

I suppose the graphic nature of this murder is what is making people react this way. But really, is this so different than the guy in Calgary who murdered his whole family a few months ago? Which is worse? These things happen fairly often in this day and age. Now I'm not trying to diminish the importance of what has happened here. It is a terrible tragedy. I'm just saying that Li will get what's coming to him. Sure the justice system sucks, but most of the time the problem is with finding the evidence and making it stick in court in order to get the appropriate sentence. This is not a problem in this case as there are 37 witnesses who will never forget the night of July 30, 2008.

Whew. And I'm spent.