Tag Archives: murder

RANT: When is Enough Enough? Fuck the NRA.

In a few days, I’ll be wringing my hands with glee before I give an awesome plush dinosaur to a 6-year-old boy I know, and a hippo to his little sister. The notion of being surrounded by giggles and silliness for a couple days before Christmas has struck me as a great thing for a while now.

But on Friday a mentally-ill kid took a .223 assault rifle, a commercial model of the military M-16, and blew away 20 adorable children my friend’s son’s age. I can’t wrap my head around this, even now.

I’ve been having a problem putting a point on my anger. I don’t even know where to start with my emotions. I’ve purposely watched none of the video associated with the day’s events unfolding live, because there are some things I don’t want to have living in my head, and humanity reeling from confronting its lowest moments is one of them. Especially when little kids are involved.

I remember where I was for Columbine. I was on vacation in the United States. I pulled into a roadside diner in some backwater town in Oregon for a bite as I made my way to holiday in Newport, and locals were bleary-eyed and fixated on a crackling old TV in the corner over the service counter.

They mumbled things like “Never thought I’d live to see…” and “How did this happen?”

Now, nearly 15 years later, the heartbreak grows wider with every shooting I hear about, but so too does the complacency of dismissing guns as being part of the problem. Every time, the reaction has been increased gun sales. You could say mass shootings are the best advertising the NRA has ever had.

In 1996, Australia had its worst mass shooting. 35 dead. Within a couple weeks, everything changed. A massive gun reform legislation was tabled and passed. The idea of 35 dead for a stupid, stupid reason of the wrong person having a gun was enough to affect a political body and the country it governed, and change happened. Since then? They’ve never had another mass shooting. In fact, murders and suicides by guns are down by as much as two-thirds since then.

And yet stupid fucking people who don’t deserve the oxygen they breathe have the audacity to claim that the answer to Newtown, to Virginia Tech, to Gabby Giffords, is more guns, more guns, and less laws.

Never mind that an entire world has seen the folly in allowing its populace to easily own weapons that can kill a dozen or more people in under 60 seconds flat.

The trouble in America is the foolishness in believing all guns are created equal. I’m all right with people owning hunting rifles. I’m not okay with pistols carrying more than 9 rounds, or semi-automatic anything. Assault weapons… come on! The NAME tells you what they’re for. How is this legal? It makes no sense!

If you need a weapon that fires any more than 10 rounds a minute, you’re a lousy fucking hunter. Get a new hobby.

This anger I feel, I can’t let this go.

This culture-of-the-gun thing is exactly what’s wrong with America. Selling fear? Everybody’s buying, baby!

An American tourist had a couple Canadians ask him in an “aggressive tone” if he had been to the Calgary Stampede just this summer, and the off-duty Kalamazoo, Mich., cop wrote a Calgary paper to say he regretted that he couldn’t carry a gun when he was here because he felt he had to protect himself in the exchange.

Funnily enough, all the two men were trying to do was promote the Stampede and give him free tickets.

America is a shoot-first-ask-later country.

Gun-toting Americans seem to believe the average person is up to no good, rather than the opposite. Where I come from, we assume most people are kind and decent. I’ve never seen a gun in person. The only three people I know (peripherally speaking) who’ve been murdered in my lifetime were killed with knives, and yet knowing three people on the outskirts of my life to have met with such violent ends is really enough for me. How many people murdered would I know if guns were aplenty here as they are in the States? I’m glad I’ll likely never experience that.

In the 9 years after 9/11, 270,000 Americans were killed by guns. And yet… get the terrorists! BASTARDS.

I just… [sigh]

Like, where do we draw the line and say “This isn’t working anymore?”

Seriously, is the fact that twenty 6-year-olds and several school staff dead in a town deemed only last year to be the FIFTH SAFEST PLACE TO LIVE in the United States ENOUGH?

Is this the tipping point? Is this when America wakes up and says “You know… this isn’t normal. We’re the only country in the world that suffers these crimes, and guns are easier to buy here than anywhere else in the world?”

How does ANYONE smarter than a doorknob NOT MAKE THAT CONNECTION?

Who the fuck NEEDS anything more than a hunting rifle?

I know implementing gun control won’t take all guns off the street, but all I want is a roadblock between the angry lover, the pissed-off employee, the drunk motherfucker, or the mentally-ill guy looking for a rampage. I don’t really care about gangs killing each other as much as I do about people with short fuses getting the opportunity to go on a spree, because that’s when innocents die.

I’m not asking for a fucking miracle here, America. I’m asking for you to look at the fucking logic. Keep your hunting rifles. Make everything else really goddamned hard to own. If you’re a law-abiding person, having issues with any of these very basic requirements makes you kind of an ass.

And if you want to debate this topic with me, don’t even fucking bother.

This is 2012. We do not need efficient methods of killing readily available in a world that does not have easy access to mental healthcare.

Scratch that. We do not need efficient methods of killing. Full stop.

Take your pro-gun debates elsewhere. You won’t get ink on my blog. And fuck free speech. I get free speech here. You want pro-gun free speech? Get your own fucking blog.

A Last Look at a Horrible Crime

In 2008, my brother’s closest friend from high school and his early 20s was killed in a bizarre Craigslist murder that has captured the media’s attention.

Yesterday, the jury came back with a verdict of guilty. Mark Twitchell will, it seems, spend 25 to life behind bars. (Thanks, Jury.)

The poster Johnny's friends made when he first "disappeared".

My brother has obsessed over the case, following it in extreme detail. The murder broke his heart, I guess because Johnny Altinger was one of those quiet dorks that everyone loved because he was able to be himself. John was a little obnoxious, a little sweet, a little clueless. But he was a whole lot of good. He was a good, good, good man, and he trusted people at the blink of an eye.

Their crowd grew up on the computer, they were the original “social media” crowd. They talked on chat systems, came of age as the humble modem grew from 110bps to 300, then to 1200, then 2400… and now at seemingly the speed of light.

It was an oddball mix, back then. Folks too smart for the general population, kids too outside the norm to conform to the school crowd. They found like-minded friends on the precursor to the Internet, the Dial-Up Generation.

Johnny was the kind of guy who, in the ’70s, would’ve been stuck in lockers or mocked senselessly at school. He had a big nose, bad glasses, awkward gait, goofy teeth. But, coming of age in the ’80s, he found his crowd online, and so did my brother. Some of their friendships are as strong now, 25 years later, as they were then — friendships born on ideas and discussions, not just happening to be in the same class or born in the same neighbourhood, friendships that seemingly came from a deeper place and lasted longer on merit alone.

Johnny A and my bro kept in touch when Johnny moved north. They chatted online, stayed in touch, traded book titles to read, shared video files — at length. It wasn’t a surprise to hear that, given his newly isolated northern home, John was meeting more friends off the computer, and even using Craigslist for dating.

All right: I’ll be the first to admit that Johnny annoyed me. A lot.

But he was my brother’s friend, I was 16 or 18 or so, and that’s how it rolls — older brothers and their friends torment the annoying little sister. I think it’s Sibling Rule 72, paragraphs A through C.

That said, there were those rare moments where we both managed to be ourselves, rules aside, and I liked what I saw of him. More importantly, he was always a friend when my brother needed one.

But we were never close, and I don’t want to pretend we were. My brother didn’t live at home when he and Johnny were friends, so I really seldom ever saw him. He wasn’t even someone I’d even thought of in 5 years, aside from my bro’s rare mentioning of him.

Still, when I heard not only of his death but the horrific circumstances behind his death, I rethought many things I assumed to be true in life.

No one I know will ever be bludgeoned, stabbed, dismembered, burned, and dumped in a sewer. Wrong. Internet violence is a myth, it could never happen to me. Wrong. This stuff only happens in the movies. Wrong. Canada is a nice safe place. Wrong.

I’m more skeptical of people I meet now. More dubious of online followers, usually distrustful that they are who they say. When I see X many people in my audience, I now assume, the larger the number grows, that some amongst them are just plain evil. Because now I know it’s out there.

I thought my innocence was shattered in my teens, but the truly heinous nature of this crime, and the fact that it’s even touched the peripheries of my life, gave my remaining innocence a big adjustment.

And it’s so weird.

Now everyone wants to know about John. Everyone wants to hear “what was he like?” My brother can’t even log onto Facebook without a new reporter trying to contact him.

But where were these curiousity-seekers when he was looking for friends and relationships on Craigslist? Sure, now you have a story to file. Now you’re bored and surfing the web at work. Now you’re interested.

That part makes me angry. Now, interested. Now, prying through his life. Always with the sensationalizing. But I was trained as a journalist, so I get it, too. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Sigh. I don’t know. This whole case… the tragic death of a good guy, Johnny Altinger, it’s just so fucking unsettling when I think of the guy I knew, and THIS happened to him. If there’s anything I have, it’s a very healthy imagination. And this turns my stomach every time a flash of an image hits me.

My creative side has always wanted to write macabre books with twisted deaths. Sometimes I think about it now, but I stop at a thought of Johnny and I feel physically ill. It’s straight out of Dexter, ripped from fiction, what happened to him.

There are things that happen that really shake our faith in people, and this chapter has been one for me.

There’s a severe disconnect between the kind of person it takes to commit this kind of crime, and the kind of trusting person it takes to be a victim of this crime, and the idea that they both are in this same world, at the same time, breathing the same air…

When they told me the world was full of possibilities, well, I never for a moment wanted to believe they meant it like that.

Still.

Twitchell didn’t get to become the serial killer he dreamed of becoming.

People noticed him. He got caught. That says something, right?

People are horrified by the crime. That says something, too, right?

But I still can’t watch Dexter. It cuts too close to home. I’ve never been able to imagine a victim’s mindset like this before, and I hope I’m never able again.

Rest in peace, Johnny.

I hope it’s the hardest time imaginable that Mark Twitchell serves. I honestly do.

Today, as a testimony against this kind of crime that preys on those who are lonely and looking for friendship, be nice to someone who might not get a lot of attention. Don’t brush off that small-talk-making stranger at the bus stop or store. Give them just a moment of your humanity. You just never know.

On Capote: Writing is a Dangerous Business

On November 16th, 1959, Truman Capote read a New York Times article with only 300 words that would change his life, and American literature, forever. The article began:

A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged. The father, 48-year-old Herbert W. Clutter, was found in the basement with his son, Kenyon, 15. His wife Bonnie, 45, and a daughter, Nancy, 16, were in their beds. There were no signs of a struggle and nothing had been stolen.

It’s ironic that it’s on American Independence Day that I’m watching Capote, the film of how the book Capote would write transpired.

An early cover from Penguin's release of In Cold Blood.

I’m starting to realize what an important movie it is in my collection, from a million different perspectives, almost all of them to do with writing and what it means to me or what I feel it says about writing.

And in that realization, I found myself at a loss for a brief moment there, “pause” frozen on my screen, pondering what effect Truman Capote’s original book, In Cold Blood, must’ve had on the mindset of America.

The murders themselves, of course, resonated with the country then, but I wonder who, other than Capote, realized what it meant in the adolescence of his country. These days, it would seem he was ahead of the pack in those observations.

In the five decades since the Clutter Killings, one could say we’ve witnessed the death of the American Dream. With a look across the cultural landscape, one can’t ignore the economic strife America’s battling, the crime that has redefined the geography of the land, and the loss of the Here-vs-There that once existed — the “safe”-country-versus-the-“bad”-city mentality.

Where is the America that existed before it all? Gone, like any culture any other place in the world — a victim of modernity and technology?

About In Cold Blood, Wikipedia says:

The book examines the complex psychological relationship between two parolees, who together commit a mass murder, an act they were not capable of individually. Capote’s book also explores the lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community where they lived. In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work of the true crime genre.

It’s safe to say that In Cold Blood was one of the first mass killings in which the rest of the country had to say, “My god, if it could happen to them, it could happen to us.”

With that came fear, a fear that’s forever stained the fabric of America.

Anyone who’s paid attention to USA’s politics since 2001 knows just how destructive it can be to adapt to life under a regime of fear.

Well, by 1960, America had inklings of what “fear” was. It was the time of McCarthy and the Cold War, and a decade-plus of post-Holocaust reality that, out there, Evil existed.

And now, with the handiwork of killers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, the fear lived at home, too.

Capote’s true-crime masterwork is a book widely accepted to be a jumping-off point for what fine literature was able to do to real-life on the pages.* In it, a real and tangible look was given into the headspace of these killers — one of whom had very much the same sort of horrible childhood of abandonment and abuse as Capote, offering this brilliant author the opportunity to internally juxtapose the life he’d been able to create for himself despite his tragic beginnings, versus the horror Smith wreaked upon others as a result of his own.

And that, friends, is often what brilliant writing is — the seeking of truth in everything, and the ability to own it within yourself. The inability to do the latter in a lasting way, however, can be devastating to a writer, and Capote’s decline should be a warning to all writers.

Reading In Cold Blood was a defining point in my life as a writer/reader. True life’s tragedies could be rendered in beautiful language that conveyed so much more than just photographic evidence of its horrors.

I doubt it was Capote’s work alone that stirred a new consciousness of the possibility of Evil Within amongst Americans — much of society was headed in that direction at the time, powered by media and politicans.

But Capote did what I love that good writers can do: Through a seemingly miniscule event, he correctly understood the quickening pulse of his country, and that this event — a seemingly small rural tragedy, buried a few pages into the newspaper on his morning read — was something that spoke of a world to come, of changes that loomed in his country’s previously untouchable heartland.

______

As much as this film makes me want to be a writer, it terrifies me — the price it suggests one would pay for being great seems far too high.

Capote, I feel, was destroyed by his subject (and himself).

A young Truman Capote by Irving Penn.

With his book’s success bound to his subject’s journey to the electric chair, and his need to understand the parallels in their lives, Truman Capote slipped into depression and guilt. He almost certainly was traumatized by the reality that he knew Smith’s execution was necessary for his book to be the brilliance it could be.

Deep down inside, I’m sure Capote realized having Smith living would contradict the “truths” the writer would write in the book, that it might be dangerous to his masterwork’s longevity. No one wants to think like that, but I guarantee you the thought would occur to any intelligent writer. What if…

Today, speculation does exist that Capote fictionalized entire passages of what was boasted to be true in every word. Evidence of the fictionalizing has been hard to come by.

Having that “what if” of execution work out in your favour — guaranteeing the “truthfulness” of what would be your masterwork — standing there to bear witness as the noose snaps the neck of the man who is all that’s wedged between you and literary immortality, that must induce some pretty horrific guilt-laden realities for a writer.

In the end, it took him 4 years to write the book, and 18 years to drink himself to death before his 60th birthday in 1984.

The book came out in ’65, and Capote became somewhat a mockery of himself within the next seven years. He would never again write anything considered “great” and, by 1978, was comfortably threatening suicide on national television, the punchline of many a joke.

I believe, ultimately, that his willingness to go as far as he could to write about those murders and to draw parallels between his life and the life of Perry Smith is what drove him into his alcoholic haze that choked the greatness from him.

Writing is a dangerous business.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The choices we make of holes to dig and skeletons to reveal, they define who we writers are in that moment and who we’ll become down the line. Writers must accept that these words they trifle with hold powers they maybe don’t expect, and the journeys taken to weave words can burrow deep into a writer.

Some opened doors will never be closed.

Capote couldn’t close his, so he drank to numb the opened doors away.

One could say he should have truly dived into the abandonment he felt as a child — that he was only comfortable peeling away the truths about others but terrified what doing so might reveal of him.

After all, he was an openly gay Southern man when being gay still meant being “one of them”. He was an outsider, born poor, spent a lonely childhood never belonging anywhere, and found his solace in writing.

When he stopped pushing envelopes and didn’t publish anything of significance beyond In Cold Blood, I would suspect he lost that solace and instead felt as though he had betrayed some part of who he was.

Not having been true in life and now not on the page, I’m certain Capote probably felt like a fraud and found himself seeing life through the eyes of Perry Smith, believing he could never really belong where he socially was perceived to be.

In my lowly opinion, the greatest, most tragic men in “big” American literature in the last 100 years were Hemingway, Capote, and Hunter S. Thompson.**

Each searched for an ideal, a life they felt obliged to enjoy or a dream they held about Their America and what the modern world could be. Each never found what they sought. Each engineered his own demise.

Ironically, though, Capote did achieve what he sought — the execution of a man he fell in love with after identifying with everything that made Smith the monster America believed him to be, a monster Capote possibly wondered if he himself had inside — and it gave him the book he dreamed he could write, solidified his placed as a master of American English literature, and it is, one could argue, that achievement (and guilt for it) which destroyed him.

Writing is a dangerous business.

*Some would argue too that Capote’s take on the killings romanticized and even justified the murders from a sociological point of view, and that the “literary” non-fiction approach may have led to the erosion of facts and journalistic irresponsibility. These aren’t entirely wrong, nor right.

**Without getting into a lengthy debate with hugely relevant but lesser-knowns like David Foster Wallace & John Kennedy Toole. Just of the “big scene” American writers.

The Dishonour of Honour Killings

Recently, here in the Great White North, a murder trial ended and the accused were sentenced to life.

A father and his son killed his daughter, all because she was too progressive to be a good little Islamic girl.

Muhammad Parvez and Waqas, his son, murdered Aqsa Parvez on December 10, 2007, in the guise of avenging their family pride in the face of her scandalous embracing of Western culture and lifestyle, even though they lived here.

These cultural-killing cases weigh heavily upon me.

I loathe what they do to the image of Islam, and what they do to my thinking, despite my best efforts.

Honour killing: image from The Baltimore Reporter.

I used to teach ESL a long time ago. Here, there. In people’s homes. It always gave me an interesting perspective on cultures I’d only ever seen from the flipside of a take-out menu or on the big screen.

For the most part here in Vancouver, that meant working with Taiwanese, Koreans, and the Mainland Chinese.

Once, though, I worked with two young Islamic women from Saudi Arabia. They were both married, under age 25, and would wear full burqas when out in the world, but, at home, wore tight jeans and cute trendy t-shirts that clung tightly to their breasts.

Their husbands were charming kind men who spoke to me often about our culture and tried to compare that with their traditional culture at home, so I could know more about them.

Their hospitality and the respect they showed me was warm and sincere. I always felt welcomed and appreciated, and never judged for being “Western” and very liberal. They even knew I wrote about sex, and the men found my blog entertaining.

I truly thought they were all wonderful people, and the kindness and graciousness shown me by them has lingered long in my memory as an example as what the true basic beliefs in Islam are — very similar to any a “good Christian” might follow.

But the burqas never sat well with me — the hypocrisy of bouncy, beautiful breasts being savoured in private but the pretense that this feminine beauty doesn’t exist in the world, or the suggestion that they’re doing what is right and good by Allah when hiding the feminine form from the world at large, despite the fact that Allah created all they hold in esteem.

But that’s a whole other issue that’s too large in scope to tackle, and which I’m not nearly informed enough to weigh in on without research.

It is, however, indicative of just how large a chasm exists between fundamentalist Islam and the standard Western world-view.

So, when a  family like the Parvez move here from Pakistan, there’s a galaxy of culture-clash to contend with.

Me, I’m so white I’m of the fish-belly variety of humans. With Irish/Scottish and French dotting my ancestry, I don’t even have a culture, let alone any experience with culture-clash — except for that which lands on our shores.

But that’s who we are. We’re Canadians.

We’ve got an open-door policy, and because we’re the most multicultural country on the planet, we’re constantly shaping who we are as a result of the immigrants who land here and build lives, for better and for worse.

You know what? I love that.

I love that, when Pierre Elliott Trudeau died, I had to take a cab that day and my driver was a man from South Africa. He was constantly wiping his eyes and sniffling as we moved slowly through rush-hour traffic.

In his thick, thick accent, he told me how hard he’d struggled to move to Canada two decades ago, that it had become his dream after this Canadian Prime Minister had been the only leader in the world to cry out against Apartheit in South Africa in the 1970s, that he saw Canada as being a place that held true to the belief that all men were equal — even beyond our borders.

This man made me cry that day — this immigrant, he and his love for my country, what we stood for, and what he wanted it to keep standing for now that he had given up his S.A. citizenship to become a Canadian. We cried together over a leader who divided the country but ultimately contributed more to what “being Canadian” meant than any leader in our history.*

It’s conversations with men like him who make me believe deep down inside that the majority of those who emigrate to Canada are those who ultimately admire our lifestyle and our tolerance of others.

So, yes, when I hear of honour killings, I’m left wondering how much it hurts the progressives who’ve immigrated long before these fundamentalist assholes, and how hard it makes life domestically for them.

Muhammad and Waqas Parvez are not your typical Pakistani-Canadians.

They are not your common Muslims.

And while honour killings aren’t common in Canada, they do happen.

From Wikipedia:

Human Rights Watch defines “honor killings” as follows:

Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce — even from an abusive husband — or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.

Let’s face it. Much of what women have gained in the West, in terms of freedom to be who they want to be, has come in the last 60 years. We’re a young culture, too.

Islam, however, and its main regions of practice (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq) forms the seat of all of civilization.

For thousands of years these principles have been in place. They’ll come undone, but it’ll be slowly.

The world needs to stand against honour killings, and while these sentences are a start here in Canada, they’ll do little to effect change in the high mountains of the Khyber Pass and throughout Mohammad’s land in Saudi Arabia.

Here, in Canada, some will experience anger and disdain toward Islam, as if these men represent all of what the Qu’ran teaches.

Like most religions, Islam teaches some pretty fucked-up things. Ask any cartoonist.

Any religion has proverbs that, taken word-for-word, could unleash hell with the devout. Islam is certainly not far from the path of nuttiness with ideas like Jihad and honour killings and the rants against cartoons and Salman Rushdie.

It doesn’t mean Islam’s unholy and hell-bent on destruction or death. That’s bullshit.

What men like the Parvezes do, though, is, they give validity to those who would tar Islam and rail against its practitioners with the belief that all who practice it are extremists who are literal about Allah’s messages in the Qu’ran.

And they make women like me scared of dating Islamic men.

I hate that.

The thing is, I’m not particularly afraid of dating a Muslim man — as long as he’s not a fundamentalist.

But I wouldn’t date ANY religious fundamentalist. I’d probably try to avoid most men who practiced religion of any kind, really, but I would think a Muslim would better understand why I’m not following his faith than a Christian would, since I was raised in Christianity and now reject the practice of it. Try to make sense of THAT, eh?

So, yeah, I’m not afraid of dating a Muslim man at all.

I’m afraid of dating his extended family.

Let’s face it. Families are nuts. You should meet mine.

There’s some serious fuckin’ wackadoos in the extended-family works here, and I would hate for anyone to judge me on the basis of being related to them. But they’re there.

And that’s the thing. A Muslim guy might be incredible, and god knows I find men of Persian descent incredibly hot, but I’m scared what Uncle Mojinder might be like or what distant Cousin Navez might get up to if I get a little rowdy one night, since I’m not exactly Miss I Don’t Drink.

It’s hard enough keeping philosophically on-page with a lover, but when there’s a cultural heritage that has the potential of honour killings in their extended family, it’s a little unnerving a concept for some of us who are given to misbehaviour.

I’m not sure how to end this piece, I don’t think there’s a comfortable “pat” conclusion I can offer.

It’s a terrible thing, honour killings — for what it does to women, for the rise of the fear and suspicions we nurse against an entire faith, all because of what some select group of them do.

It’s horrible that I feel justified in my fears, that I’m apprehensive of men based on their faith, not because I don’t trust them but because I fear their families.

And even that is hard on me, because I love what I know of the traditional Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern family lives.

Yet.

Yet this one thing exists, a small niggling fear — this negligible concept of  “honour” and what it is for and to others, and the price one can pay for damaging it.

In the end, there’s a reason I’m not religious anymore. I stopped believing in Catholicism in my teens, and by rights all other religions, because of the fear and judgment they sought to have me live life under.

Life has many chains that will bind me, but religion will not be amongst them.

I want to know, I guess, how honour killings affect you.

What do you think of them? How have they changed your thoughts on Muslims?

If you’re a woman, does it make you apprehensive of dating men who are Muslims but super-hip and very liberal, just because you fear their family?

Have you ever had a friend who has been under the thumb of this religion and wanted out?

Talk to me. I want to hear about this.

*On his death, the stories I heard from second-generation Canadians who immigrated to Canada with their parents when Trudeau was leader, just blew my mind. The reverence they held for P.E.T., and the esteem they held Canada in, made my heart explode with patriotic pride. Yeah. That’s who we are, Canada. We’re the port in the storm.

Update on Murder

It’s official — my brother’s friend was murdered by a filmmaker trying to recreate a death from the show Dexter. He had paid actors and everything. John, my bro’s now-deceased friend, was indeed lured to the garage in which he would be killed (as there is no corpse, but investigators say the “forensic evidence” gathered in the garage is overwhelming) by the sick film-making fucker who posed as a WOMAN on Craigslist to get our friend out on a “date”.

Had John not emailed his directions to his date to a friend of his, the murderer and the location of the crime may have gone unfound by the police.

We’re all “internet” types — we’ve probably all gone on internet dates. Just because you THINK you should be safe because it’s mostly normal people on the web doesn’t mean that’s the case, and this crime makes it obvious that even men have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to meeting strangers, even if the stranger is supposed to be female.

I’m not trying to say no one should ever meet anyone off the internet, but going to someone’s home on the first date? Fucking moronic. Meet in public places. Follow your Spidey-sense. Do not ignore gut instinct. Do not get into their car unless you’re certain you can trust them. Be very, very scared, and very, very cautious, because this case ain’t just some TV show come to life. This wasn’t some big-city crime where some anonymous characters just up and offed someone. Edmonton is a small city, and this was in the suburbs, on a quiet street that’s well-patrolled by cops.

This shit happens in real life, and we all need a fucking reminder sometimes to be vigilant. Well, this is that.

RIP, Johnny. Here’s the most recent CBC story on the crime. And another story about the links to the show Dexter and other weird shit regarding this crime can be found here. Even the producers of Dexter have come out and admitted total shock that someone would copycat one of their fictional murders. (That “shock” is yet another thing I feel the urge to write about — and slam — but hey. Another day, another posting. This crime won’t be resolved for months.)

Internet Murder, Story at 11: The Death of a Friend

We’ve feared the worst and today have found out that the worst was something even beyond our imagination. Details are sketchy, but what we know is this:

My brother’s best friend from high school and the years that followed took off years ago to live up north. Being that they’re the original “internet geeks” dating back to the good old BBS days, they stayed in touch by computer.

John Altinger
was the original BBS/internet geek, and remained that way throughout life. He would use the internet for everything from dating to purchasing power, so it’s no surprise, then, that it looks to have led to his death.

John has been missing since October 10th. Stories have now just run in a smattering of Canadian press about the sensational case. John was allegedly murdered by a guy making horror movies in his garage. Word amongst friends is… Continue reading