In my two-week blog absence, one of the most truly fucked up incidents in Canadian news history occurred. As everyone knows, last Wednesday night, as I was flying over it, a man was stabbed to death and decapitated on a Greyhound bus headed from Edmonton to Winnipeg. It was such a bizarre news event to wake up to… I kept thinking of my brother, the same age as the boy who died, and who always rides Greyhounds and sleeps with his headphones on.
At first I was hesitant to even keep reading. But the initial disgust and terror turned to fascination, particularly as the details have gotten stranger. I hesitated to blog about it, as it just seemed inappropriate, but I might as well not try and fake any tasteful interests.
There’s been an e-mail thread going back and forth between a few of my friends, one of which lives in Winnipeg. She directed me to this, which is a police scanner recording from the night of the event. She also filled me on some details. The guy who did it (“Badger”), as only been in Canada for a few years. He has a history of mental health issues. Four weeks before the murder, he was fired from Wal-Mart following a “disagreement” with other employees.
After his arrest, he did not speak a word. Until today, when he said to the judge “Please Kill Me,” after it was confirmed he had eaten parts of the kids and apparently had his nose, ears and lips in a ziplock bag. Seriously. Fucked. Up.
And the poor kid. I’ve never felt such empathy for a news-item-murder-victim I didn’t know.
My friend in Winnipeg says that there is a bit of local uproar about what they should do with him. Canada has long banished capital punishment, and obviously they aren’t go to make some “special exception.” But when a case is this obvious and horrific, and with mental illness involved, should the state really spent all this money jailing and drugging and providing therapy for this guy? He decapitated and ATE someone on a fucking bus!?!?? And after all, he WANTS to die. Some might say thats letting him off, but frankly, I think its a win-win.
Anyway, on a lighter note (if one can make light of this situation), Greyhound has been sweeping up after one very, very unfortunate (and almost funny, if you remove yourself from thinking of the actual act) ad campaign that was all over Canadian billboards when the incident occured:
The CBC reports:
Greyhound Canada is removing all ads that were part of a campaign related to “bus rage” in the wake of last week’s horrific attack against a Greyhound passenger travelling from Edmonton to Winnipeg.
A spokesperson for Greyhound said the company is taking down billboards like this one that have been featured across the country since late 2007. (Heather Bakken/CBC)The campaign featured the slogan, “There’s a reason you’ve never heard of bus rage.”
Greyhound spokesperson Abby Wambaugh said Tuesday, “Greyhound knows how important it is to get it removed and is doing everything possible.”
The slogan has appeared in print and on billboards across the country. But following the attack, the company notified every vendor and asked them to cease using it.
Wambaugh said print inserts are no longer running, but she doesn’t know exactly when outdoor signs — placed in areas where there is heavy commuter traffic — will come down. One billboard has already been taken down in Western Canada, but there is still one remaining in Toronto, which she said will be coming down soon.
Wambaugh said the majority of the ads should have been taken down before the attack because the campaign had ended.
Greyhound, a Dallas-based company, launched the multi-million dollar “bus rage” ad campaign in late 2007, targeting the 18 to 24 demographic.
After many times leaving me stranded in bus stations after lying about what time they’d arrive and overcharging me for smelly, uncomfortable trips, I almost feel sorry for Greyhound.