Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another prank gone wrong...

Mr. Jazz sent me Richard Martineau's *, column (which you can see here in French). My mind is in total boggledom right now, and I'll have to try to search out the article in La Presse (the other Montreal paper) which he's quoting 'cause seriously, Whoa!

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.


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.


Susan Tuttle said...

my, my , my -- the world has a problem with taking responsibility for ones actions -- unbelievable.


furiousBall said...

wow, yeah this kind of thing fails to surprise me anymore. mankind has become this vehicle that stops at the first plausible shirking of responsibility stop

Gaelyn said...

It's true there is no personal responsibility left. Are children not taught the basic rights and wrongs? Even our governments set terrible examples of placing blame.

Hey, I've been sick with the flu that I probably got from a visitor for six days. Think I'll go shoot someone. Just kidding.

Good post Jazz!

Ricë said...

send 'em here. texas has little tolerance for fucking up. it's about responsibility, about self-discipline.

and i totally agree: they don't know from raging hormones until they meet up with someone who's sweaty and constipated and hasn't had a good night's sleep since jesus left chicago and can't see to find her bifocals and itches constantly and is determined, if one more person asks, "are you having a hot flash?" that will be the LAST questions they ever ask anyone. ever.

Guillaume said...

Disgusting. I often disagree with Martineau, but this time he is spot on.

Jazz said...

Susan - Seriously. Am I getting old or did our parents raise us to take responsibility for our actions? I know the older generation always thinks the kids are out of control, but...

Furball - And you better instill responsibility to Bubs or I'll whup your ass. Course I don't doubt that you will 'n all. Any more than I doubt that I can take you easy.

Gaelyn - Some people desperately deserve to be shot though. Although this thing... I don't want to appear like I think all kids are like this. Actually, most of the kids I know are really quite well behaved and despite sometimes being rambunctious don't wander around punching old ladies in the face. I think (hope!) most kids are actually pretty cool.

Ricë - I'm so getting there, more and more each day. It never ceases to surprise me how I can go from even tempered, mild mannered, middle aged lady to psychotic harpie in about 30 seconds flat. And damned if it ain't good to channel my inner harpie now and then. Oh yeah.

geewits said...

I'm curious. Would the reaction be the same if this had been Michael J. Fox's aunt instead of an unknown Vietnamese lady?

lime said...

bloody hell i could not agree with you more. you don't get to deprive someone of their life in the midst of committing a crime and get to call it a prank gone wrong. no way, no how.

Jazz said...

Geewits - I'm thinking not.

Lime - Seems that would be obvious, eh?

Rachel said...

I think a lot of people out there are forgetting that there is a big difference between a reason and an excuse. We can't confuse the two, and use the reason as an excuse to absolve responsibility for actions. The only time an excuse is justifiable is if it can be shown that the reason something happened had nothing to do with free will.

And hormones DO influence minds and bodies, but they do not eliminate free will or conscious decision making! And cannot be used as an excuse!

Did any of what I just said make any sense?

Maddy said...

I'll add that to the lesson plan.

xup said...

Teenagers have serious cognitive function issues at the best of times. They are extremely difficult to parent, even the good ones, and it’s been my experience that a lot of parents just give up trying. Why are these kids running around loose drinking anyway? Why do they believe that if they just say they didn’t mean it, it will be okay? Why do they believe that it’s the old lady’s fault for not giving in to them? Someone has been slipping up in teaching them stuff. So, ya I’m blaming the parents for part of this. I’m always dumbfounded at how a lot of my kid’s friends seem to have no structure or discipline in their lives anymore. Once they hit 12 their parents seem to figure they’re grown up and need “freedom to explore their world”. Which means they’re allowed to stay out until 2:00 am, party, drink, do drugs, have sex, skip school, lie, steal, etc., etc. I look like a big meanie because I have to say no a lot these days. I’m really afraid of getting old and being at the mercy of these wild creatures.

Carolyn said...

kill someone, lock your ass up. forever. the end.


Jocelyn said...

This incident brings up a big difference between me and my husband. He's waaaay peace-able, but I have a streak of vigilante justice in me (must be from growing up in The American West). I wouldn't be against a group of angry citizens meting out a little consequence there.

Jocelyn said...

This incident brings up a big difference between me and my husband. He's waaaay peace-able, but I have a streak of vigilante justice in me (must be from growing up in The American West). I wouldn't be against a group of angry citizens meting out a little consequence there.

Jazz said...

Rachel - Bingo

Maddy - There's an idea

XUP - Your wild creature, will, I'm sure be take good care of you. And, really, I think most of them ARE good kids, no worse at any rate than we were. Every generation thinks the next is totally degenerate. I'm sure my mom's parents thought she should be tied up and hid in a closet.

Carolyn - Yeah, there's that. I sort of waver. On the one hand, I'd gladly kill the assholes myself. On the other, they're kids, ya know? I know that's no excuse, but at the same time, a kid can turn him or herself around. Lots of us have done some seriously stupid stuff - well short of killing people though.

Joce - and you really believe it having posted twice! :-p But basically, see my anwer to Carolyn.

citizen of the world said...

NOT a prank. These are budding sociopaths we're talking about, kids who feel life has little meaning and will kill for the hell of it. I am completely opposed to the death penalty under any circumstance, but these criminals should be in prison.