Senseless, tragic acts cause concern
Last week, I was planning to take my son to the movie theatre to watch Ice Age. On Friday morning, I mildly reconsidered this trip when reading international headlines about an armed gunman entering a theatre in Colarado, injuring and killing a number of people.
Iím not about to give in to the idea that movie theatres arenít safe places, because Iím sure the chances of a similar incident happening again any time soon is probably much lower than the chances of being in a car accident on any given day. But, these irrational and horrendous acts do occur in society, and offers us a minute to sit down and consider our own safety.
I do believe we live in one of the safest countries on earth; yet, even we Canadians have made headlines with stories that seem right off of a movie screen.
The murder of Tim McLean in 2008 grabbed headlines across the globe. The 22-year-old was beheaded while riding a Greyhound bus. Vince Weiguang Li was found not criminally responsible for the murder of McLean, who was a complete stranger to Li when the killing occurred.
Overnight, the safety of the Greyhound bus service was brought into question. Although bus travel is probably one of the safest modes of transportation out there, public perception on this long-time public service shifted in the same way I suddenly questioned bringing my five-year-old to a movie theatre last week.
Li recently made headlines again when the idea of allowing him escorted visits out in public became a topic of discussion in early July. According to a survey by the Winnipeg Free Press, six in 10 Manitobans were against allowing Li out in public, a viewpoint with which I have to agree.
Of course, there are many unknowns, but the severity of Liís mental illness is just that Ė severe. And I guess people have to ask themselves, is one personís freedom worth the safety of each person he or she meets? Then again, maybe Iíve watched too many Silence of the Lambs movies and have developed a sort of irrational paranoia.
And then thereís the story of Mark Twitchell, who was convicted of first-degree murder for killing yet another complete stranger, Johnny Altinger, in an Edmonton garage in 2008.
Information released after Twitchellís trial was disturbing, and honestly, I struggled to read through some of the news stories that came out about his case. Twitchell was described as a filmmaker who killed Altinger in a way that may have matched a movie script for one of Twitchellís own projects.
The recent shooting in the U.S. is still fresh and there are already many reports about what happened in that movie theatre in Colorado. What has been reported so far is equally disturbing as the previous two cases. A deranged individual has caused tragedy and killed people he didnít know, people who had families and jobs and lives they planned on going back to following a relaxing night out at the theatre.
Thankfully, there are far more incidences in the world that make me realize we do live in a good, loving, safe society, but incidents like this make me wonder about humanity, and what could bring someone to such an extreme state of mental illness to harm people in this way.
Obviously, as a society, we still have a lot of work to do in ensuring people with mental illnesses are given the help they need before their mental states escalate to such an unmanageable and dangerous state.
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