Tag Archives: violence

Je Me Souviens/I Remember

By Jason Menard,

On December 6th, 1989, we lost 14 women at the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, QC.

Unfortunately, too many people remember the name of the gunman; not enough remember the names of the women we lost. You will not see the gunman’s name here. Continue reading

If Something Exists Only to Kill, Why Do We Protect It?

By Jason Menard

Tell me again how guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

Go ahead. Trot out that line again. Honestly, it would be absolutely hilarious, except for the fact that statement represents the first line defence after acts that produce nothing but tears.

Actually, don’t bother telling me. Why not tell the mother of Shyanne Charles? You know, the 14-year-old girl who, along with 23-year-old Joshua Yasay, who was gun downed Monday night at a block party in Toronto. Continue reading

Chris Brown and the Heaping Side Order of Hypocrisy

By Jason Menard

I have a confession to make: when it comes to music appreciation, I’m a hypocrite. A big, huge, hippo-sized hypocrite. I’m the Hippocrates of Hypocrites. And I have Chris Brown to thank for this realization.

Music appreciation, in many ways, is like eating. As we get older, our palettes become at once both more refined and more expansive. But unlike food, music – and for the sake of argument we can extend this to all of the arts – is a personality influenced medium. Continue reading

Toronto Must Learn About Daniel Desrochers Following Eaton Centre Shooting

By Jason Menard

The people of Toronto would be well-served by thinking of the yet-unidentified 13-year-old boy, shot in an alleged gang-related gun spree on Friday at the Eaton Centre, as a modern-day Daniel Desrochers.

After all, there are a lot of parallels between these two cases – and, hopefully, the impact they will both have on society at large will also be similar. Continue reading

Cowards, Not Fans Started Vancouver Riots

By Jason Menard,

The riots in Vancouver were not perpetrated by fans; instead, this ugly blight on a beautiful city was caused by cowards who used a hockey game to fan the flames of violence and stupidity.

All over Facebook, Twitter, and traditional media, people are criticizing Vancouverites for the horrendous actions that followed the Canucks’ game-seven loss to the Boston Bruins. And while the criticism is warranted, it’s also misdirected.  Continue reading

St. Thomas Aquinas Teachers’ Petition Is a Familiar Issue

By Jason Menard,

In trying to hush the teachers of St. Thomas Aquinas, the London District Catholic School Board may have inadvertently drawing much-needed attention to a long-running story.

Administrators across the city should be quaking in their boots as it’s not just at the Catholic high school where the student inmates are running the asylum. And it’s time for school boards to support their front-line workers – the teachers who are increasingly fighting a battle against their students with their hands bound by administrative lunacy.  Continue reading

Wrestling with Our Tolerance of Violence

By Jason Menard

Violent criminals, thieves, rapists, murderers. Generally, they’re the type of people that we abhor. That is, unless they’re willing to strap on a uniform or do a little metaphorical song and dance and entertain us.

Last night, WWE decided to broadcast a three-hour show, which was shown on The Score, dedicated to Chris Benoit. Benoit, a Canadian wrestler who has gone by many names: The Canadian Crippler, the Rabid Wolverine, and now — allegedly — murderer.

A three-hour tribute to a man who may have killed his wife and seven-year-old son? What message are we sending?

Why is it we’re so willing to look the other way when an athlete commits one of these transgressions? It’s safe to say that one of the most abhorrent acts that exists in our society is violence against women. Unfortunately, the list of present and past athletes who have been charged with sexual assaults and rapes is mind-bogglingly long. We’ve seen police blotters stained with the names of athletes accused of assaulting their spouses and partners. Yet, when it comes time to press charges, suddenly what was once a violent attack becomes nothing more than a mere understanding. Do you think the fact that a multi-year stint could seriously derail the financial gravy train has anything to do with that?

But fans can remember. It just seems that many choose not to. Allegiance to the home squad’s colours appears to supersede our disgust at the acts, both real and alleged. Many of these athletes continue to receive the cheers and accolades of fans while they’re on the field of play.

And we haven’t even discussed those involved in gun play, robbery — anything up to and including defecating in a co-ed’s laundry hamper! Yet, sports fans are willing to forgive and forget far too easily.

Maybe it’s time to reframe this discussion. It’s easy to distance yourself from the impact of an athlete assaulting a nameless, faceless woman. But what if it was your daughter? How would you feel as a parent listening to thousands upon thousands of fans cheering on a man who abused your little girl? How would your daughter feel? It would be like being raped again.

Leonard Little, once known as a defensive end for the St. Louis Rams, should better be known for the fact that he killed an innocent 47-year-old woman 1999 after getting behind the wheel of his vehicle while inebriated. And how contrite was Little? Six years later he was given two year’s probation for speeding — and the three field sobriety tests that he allegedly failed, combined with the fact that he refused to take a breathalyzer test, was shelved due to his lawyer’s insistence that police didn’t follow the proper procedures.

A few years back Ray Lewis and his posse were involved in an altercation that left two men dead. He admitted he lied to the police about his involvement, then he copped a plea, testified against his co-defendants, and is now revered throughout the league.

When either of these players do their sack dance, do you think the victims’ respective families feel that they’re dancing on those graves?

Are we that willing to forgive an athlete’s actions because we believe that the same violence and aggression that can drive an athlete to success can spill off the field of play? Or are we simply willing to win at all costs?

In the end, people will argue that the person’s off-field persona and activities have no impact on what their sporting legacy should be. And there is some merit to that. The notes of a beautiful symphony don’t change just because it’s suddenly come out that the composer was a murderer.

And there is always the notion of forgiving and forgetting. But by celebrating these athletes and holding them up as icons, are we not simply aiding and abetting future generations of criminals?

In the end, a tribute to a fine Canadian wrestler may have been appropriate one day, but not on the day he stands accused of murdering his wife and child.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved