Time for a rant on events close to home.
Back in 2008 here in my home province of Manitoba, 22 year old Tim Maclean was stabbed to death, among other horrific acts to has post mortem body (check THIS ) . While the circumstances as to WHY the incident occurred (AKA whether or not the perpetrators claim of mental illness is true) is never really going to be known (you can not know what goes on in in ones brain), the affects are still the same.
Tim Maclean is gone, and is not coming back. No matter what punishment that was (or could have been) handed down to Vince Li, would not be good enough for many.
My way of saying to the rest of the public (in particular, local residents of Manitoba) to just let it go, and leave the family in peace.
But as is the case in many of these situations, that was not to happen.
The story did gradually fade from the public eye (as everything eventually does) after the trial was done, and justice was served (or not served, depending on who you ask). And it stayed out of the public eye for awhile.
But then a while ago (a year or 2? not sure) there were big media headlines about Li being granted escorted day trips to (I believe) Selkirk. I believe the reason for this is good behavior.
Of course, this set off a slew of public outcry. Everyone had something to say. It was seen as an insult to Tim Maclean, that his killer be allowed some form of “freedom”. And then there were those with the thoughtlessly provocative attitudes (“This is all because of those bleeding heart liberals, Bring back the death penalty!”, “Hang him high!” , “Lock him up and throw away the key!”).
Whether or not the privileges were ever granted, I am unaware. I am guessing that they were. But either way, the story once again faded into the nether of the media and peoples minds. Where it should have stayed.
But as it happened, that was not to be the case.
This week, it was reported that Vince Li may be granted unsupervised group excursions into not only Selkirk, but also Winnipeg. As you can imagine, this did not bid well to the public at large.
And of course out came the outrage, primarily on places like social media. It seemed like every facebook status with this story mentioned went the same way. First comes the OP, the statement of the headline and the outrage. Then somewhere along the line someone would mention some variation “they should hang em high!”, and this person would get the equivalent written pats on the back.
First things first, I will say that I agree with the public, to a degree.
I have no problem with Vince Li being allowed to wonder the grounds of the facility he is in. He is still under close supervision. As for being allowed to leave the facility (escorted or NOT), I do not really agree with that. It seems to fly in the face of the whole “punishment” of the crime committed.
It can be said that he was not medicated during the crime spree that landed him in jail (if I remember correctly, this was the case). From this, one can see where the insanity defense would seem to warrant a bit less harsh of a treatment.
But the hole that I see in this, is despite the mental problems he had been diagnosed with, a choice was made at some point by him to forgo the medication. Since many who knew LI in life described him as not really being in any way malevolent, and otherwise being seemingly “sane”, one can assume that it was during this time that the decision to abandon the meds was made.
Since this decision was made in a seemingly “clear” frame of mind, the fault of the crimes committed afterward lies solely on his head. In the same way that a drunk driver can not get out of their crime by blaming the drug, Li should not be able to blame the crimes he committed on LACK of a drug.
The drinker made a conscious choice while sober, to drink. VInce Li made a conscious choice while medicated, to NOT medicate.
Keep in mind, some (or all) of the above could be wrong. I am going by memory, for this post. And as such, I am using what I have heard in the past, in stitching together my own personal hypothesis.
The point of this entry is not so much to educate about the crime (I have a google link above that you can use), as it is to condemn (to a degree) the public reaction to this crime.
Do not get me wrong, I do not blame people for expressing anger. People have the right to their own opinions, they have as much right to publish them as I do to publish this piece.
But do not kid yourself, by telling yourself that you are doing it for the Maclean family. I can not speak for them, and I will not try to speak for them.
But if I lost a close friend or family member in this (or any other) way, the last thing I would want to see (or hear about) everywhere I looked was angry and reactionary rhetoric. Especially when I know that the rhetoric is just the latest cause that the public has latched onto, and will eventually change the way it always does.
I understand that we are all susceptible to this. I have probably added to the rhetoric in the past.
Were allowed to have an opinion. But causing the perpetrators of these crimes to go viral and become infamous does nothing. It does not bring back the deceased. It only serves as a reminder.