And so, for your edification here is the background to the story and the gist of the article:
One evening, earlier this month a 67 year old Vietnamese lady was waiting for the bus after her dance class. Three teenagers accosted her to steal her handbag. She held on, was pushed and shoved, punched in the face, fell, hit her head and died in hospital a couple of days later.
The kids were arrested.
Now is when it gets surreal.
In the La Presse article, there are the following remarks by the aggressors' friends:
- These are good guys, it's just a prank that went wrong. (JUST?!?)
- The medias say she was savagely beaten, that's not true, they shook her up a little, but they didn't want to kill her.
- The old lady resisted giving up her bag. If she had given it up she wouldn't be dead. (No shit Sherlock!)
What the holy fuck!! She should've given up her bag if she wanted to live? As Martineau says in his column, sorry kids, but a prank is sending 15 pizzas to your neighbor's house, not mugging old ladies to steal their bags. That's not a prank. It's illegal. There's a fine line of nuance here you seem to have missed.
AND! YOU! KILLED! HER!!!
But it gets better:
A psychologist was interviewed and he said that impulsiveness in male teenagers was at an all time high because of the high levels of testosterone in their bodies, poor dears, and it could simply be a maturation incident gone wrong (sorry about the shoddy translation, but you get the idea - they're acting out due to the testosterone - oh and the booze probably, seems they were drunk these 15 and 16 year olds - and oops, sorry we killed the old lady. We didn't mean to though, had she just given up her purse we might not have had to punch her in the face like we did).
The mind boggles. What the hell is wrong with this society that such explanations excusing their behaviour are given? How can we just dismiss this kind of thing? Funny, all the men in my life were brimful of testosterone at one point and they didn't go out and beat up old ladies.
They didn't do it on purpose? Well hell, give 'em a slap on the wrist and send them on their merry way.
To the credit of the legal system, they have been charged with second degree murder. But they will get off with that slap on the wrist; they're juveniles after all. Course, in Quebec, even if they weren't they wouldn't get much of anything.
And no, I'm not getting all Stephen Harper on you - he wants all juveniles charged as adults for serious crimes, up to and including the death penalty probably... I'm not saying they should be put away for life (which here rarely means more than 10 years in any event) and I'm sure they didn't do it on purpose - people rarely do go out and decide, "Hey, I'm gonna kill someone tonight".
But there should be consequences. Serious consequences. Sorry people, but it's not all about raging hormones and giving up your bag to muggers if you want to live through the evening.
It just isn't.
'Course, if the raging hormones argument wins the day, I know several people in dire need of beating up. Menopause, raging hormones... hell I'd be off the hook in no time.
* a columnist with the Journal de Montréal, and all around bitcher, screamer and denouncer - half the time I think he's an idiot, the other half I'm in total agreement with what he writes.