Speculating: Life Online after Chris Hyndman’s Death

Today, one of Canada’s most-loved TV personalities has been found dead. A home decor guru and gay role model for over half his life, Chris Hyndman is more loved by Canada than I even realized, and today the internets are a sad place to be.

Police have yet to release a cause of death. They say foul play has not been excluded but are releasing no details.

Speculation so far has drugs/alcohol as the cause, someone else reports his body was found wrapped in a tarp in the alley, and still more speculation has him jumping/falling to his death.

All are just that — guesses, speculation.

All we know is this: He was on vacation, he came home, he was dead by 11pm in an alley. That’s it.

Every time news breaks that has people talking, the speculation runs rampant. People try to pull me in and I keep saying “I won’t speculate” but folks always say they’re thinking out loud or curious.

Chris, on the right, plays with Travel Bunny on Steven's shoulder. From http://travelbunnygetsaround.com/steven-and-chris/.

Chris, on the right, plays with Travel Bunny on Steven’s shoulder. From http://travelbunnygetsaround.com/steven-and-chris/.

My journalism degree won’t let me do that. It’s gotten me in trouble in the past and now I read between the lines. In accredited news reports, there are no references to drugs, alcohol, jumping, murder, or anything else. All the police are saying is that it has yet to be “determined” and it is an open case.

I know most people are just consumed with curiosity and just want to talk about it. It’s as much about coping as it is fascination.

Still, it’s a public death. Police have to investigate. They will have to release some kind of account of his death because it was in the streets.

Probably within hours, or tomorrow, we’ll know what they believe is the direction to pursue matters in.

I guarantee you, most of the early guesses on his cause of death are liable to be false. That’s breaking news for you.

When it comes to news like this, I urge you to slow down as you read the reports. The police are widely quoted saying: “We don’t release information in regards to people who’ve died unless they’re a victim of foul play and that hasn’t been determined yet,” he told the Post. “It’s an open investigation.”

That means everything from a fall to aneurysms to murder and more are all on the table here.

But a fall to his death? A jump? Sorry for the graphic nature of this statement, but that makes a loud noise, and with his body found at 11pm last night, it would have been heard, likely, and we’d have witnesses talking to the news today. It’s likely not that, but who knows, maybe it is indeed the case.

Either way, we’ll find out soon. Speculation is futile. Much speculation can suggest victim-blaming too. I urge everyone to avoid it. Not just today, but well into the future.