For many years, I worked within the Canadian criminal justice system, and the realities of crime and violence are not new to me.
After hearing of the stabbing murder of 17 year old Ethan Bespflug on a transit bus in Surrey, B.C., I felt I couldn’t move forward without sending condolences and acknowledging the reality of this unabashed public murder.
We’ll often hear it is a “tragedy”, but that word doesn’t begin to soothe his family or lessen the blow.
A tragedy implies misfortune or bad luck–that’s not what this was. This was intentional and shameless. (picture source: CBC site)
Ethan texted his mom just before the incident to tell her that he didn’t feel safe.
As a mom, I can’t even imagine. The idea of knowing your baby is in danger and not being able to do anything about it in real time. That is a parent’s worst nightmare.
It seems too often that these stories appear and then fade away after the initial shock.
The reality is that a young man will never have the opportunity to live his life and a family is grieving his loss.
Something really needs to change.
This most recent attack happened not far from where I grew up.
As a teen I rode the buses all the time and never once felt threatened. Naive perhaps, but I made it out the other side.
For years, Canadians have watched the gun carnage down in the United States. Many, myself included, have shaken my head and said…why don’t they do something? Sanctimonious, no more, I’m now asking the same question of the authorities and government officials here.
Like seriously. What the hell is going on?
Blaming mental health seems to the pick of the day. It’s easy. Convenient. And often true. But there’s more at play.
Within our post pandemic world, everything escalates so quickly and seems extreme in nature.
SIDEBAR:(Hmm… is it post pandemic? I’m going to have to think about that. Is it since the advent of the world wide web? social media? video games? When did the violence get this –commonplace?–Please feel free to answer… I’d love to hear your opinion.)
I have no answers, only questions.
In this case, the attacker has been caught and charged with murder. It’s also been ascertained that the attack was not in fact random, as first thought, but the victim and perp had previous knowledge of each other.
I’m sure more information will come out, but it won’t change the outcome.
Just like our neighbors to the south, we mourn the loss of innocence for so many youth who witness untold horrors at such a young age.
As I write this post, I wonder if it’s worth it. I have no answers. A family has lost their precious son and brother and time can never be reversed.
While my words or post may not impact the world, I couldn’t however, not acknowledge the change in our societal tolerance of violence and the breakdown, not of family or mental health, but of empathy and understanding.
Everyone seems so far removed from the reality that plays out at such a common and rapid pace that it becomes rote. THAT is what makes it even sadder and more tragic.
To Ethan’s family. My sincerest condolences at your loss. There are simply no words.
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