With the endless news of violence and destruction around the world, the sheer brutality of terrorist groups like ISIS/ISIL and those whom they inspire, and the fact that hate-based crime in North America is on the rise it should come as no surprise that whatever is wrong with some people in our society would eventually touch us in our small communities.
As I look back over the news for the past few years, we have no shortage of violence in our midst. We have had numerous murders ranging from murder/suicides, to torture and murder and now the senseless death of a man in front of his child at our Walmart on this past long weekend. If I look just a little bit further around us, we see back to back murders in Wasaga Beach followed by more stabbings this past weekend. Now it seems that a large electronic music event has been cancelled due to, what anyone could surmise, are security concerns. Our neighbouring townships have seen murders in the past few years and yet the crime statistics seem to indicate that violent crime is on the decrease?
In our latest death, it is reported that a driver was involved in some kind of dispute with a pedestrian and simply decided to run down the victim with his car in front dozens of horrified onlookers, not to mention the man’s young child. I read the comments on Facebook where people seem to blame the parking lot design for leading the driver into his murderous rage – having to wait 45+ minutes to exit the crowded lot drove him to it?
I have been trapped in that parking lot on many occasions as have many of you. I have not once had the urge to mow over anyone who was getting between me and the exit, except in some repressed fantasy that no normal person would ever actually act upon. We’ve all been there folks and yet we don’t routinely kill those whom we feel have slighted us for that parking space or who got us out of order in the multi-lane drive-thru. I just don’t buy the argument that the parking lot made him do it.
I see others who say the victim may have brought this on himself by confronting the driver. The same was said of another local man who intervened in an assault on his wife and paid with his life – and two local men convicted of his murder. Do we step back from every possible confrontation and let “someone else” deal with it? Perhaps, but then again would you? Calling the police should rank highly on your mind before you put yourself in harm’s way, but is that enough?
I see a plea from local police and OPP for witnesses to come forward with their views of the events and any photos or videos that may exist capturing this deplorable act. In today’s world with most people armed with cellphones that take high definition video and audio, it would not be unexpected to find several angles of detailed video of just about any event – let alone one like this that played out in front of thousands of potential witnesses. I can only hope that those who have it won’t try to profit off it by selling it local media instead of turning it over to the police. That is quite common in North America where news agencies pay top dollar for “exclusive” video and photos.
I read, with a heavy heart, our community named in thousands of tweets and social media stories as well as in news feeds far and wide and wonder what other communities must think of Midland.
Ironically, we used to be classified as a “safe community” and that honour is still is displayed on the walls of the NSSRC but in checking with the organization who bestows that title, Midland pulled out of the program and stopped funding the person who was responsible for making Midland a designated “safe community”. Seems we were happy to get the title then felt no need to keep it – yet we still display that stale title for all to see. Perhaps Council can explain that.
How can such acts of violence and homicidal rage be averted? Do we need more police, perhaps at every shopping centre parking lot on holidays? Would a police officer stuck somewhere in that gridlock have stopped this murder? I don’t have any answers to these questions, only a sense of sadness for our beautiful community and all those who are touched and have been touched by senseless acts of violence, hate and rage.
Perhaps we are all becoming so hardened to the non-stop atrocities and violence we are subjected to on a daily basis in our social media streams, on our web browsing, in our movies, video games, books and television that nothing really surprises us any more. What is wrong with our society when people can fly into a homicidal rage and take lives without thinking? What are we doing to stop this? What can be done? Who’s responsibility is it to find the solution and put it into play?
How many more lives must be lost in our community and in those around us before we start looking at the root cause of these problems, identify them and take steps to address them proactively instead of waiting for the next news item in our feeds, clicking an emotion icon and shaking our heads expressing concerns and condemnation for a few minutes before we are distracted by the next item to pop up on our phones or computers.
As for our latest victim, I won’t attempt to eulogize Corby Stott online. It would be disingenuous as I did not know him. I can only say how terribly sad I am knowing how easily his life was ended by a few moments of thoughtless rage and disregard for the sanctity of another person’s life. I understand that there is an online fund setup to help provide for his children’s education – something that this father will never be able to do for them. Consider helping if you can.
This was not a pleasant editorial to write and yet I believe it needed to be written. What can we do? What should we do and who should be doing it? The only thing I know for sure is that one more murder is too much.
To all the families suffering because of someone else’s careless actions, I can only tell you that I am sorry, and most of the community is sorry, and we hope and pray that you find peace some day and that justice is served. No justice will ever fill the void for those who are left behind to try to make sense of what cannot be reasonably understood.