Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

Comments left on my Post:

There are too many "what-ifs" surrounding this story. No proof he was THROWN. I certainly don't believe he'd jump or anything like that, but I'm leery or ruling out an accidental death - in that there was a scuffle, he lost balance etc. Too hard to tell at this point. It should also be noted that one of the guards - so they say - did try to grab Young to save him. Secondly, the Y.O. that heard the bangs, said the last bang shook his cell, not the first few.

I'm a journalist in Lloydminster with an extensive background covering crime. I'd really like to see the findings of the investigations before more speculation circulates. Findings - whatever they are - offer little comfort though in what is a horrifying way for a 16-year-old to die.

(no webpage or email address left)

I love it when people leave comments on *MY* Blog stating "I'm a Journalist..." in order to illicit some form of authority over my opinions. Ha. Ok, ok, so it only happened this once, but I still got a kick out of it.

"What If's"??? I do think there is enough information to justify speculation occuring in my own personal blog (thanks anyway for the "admonition"). I am allowed to be angry here, that's the purpose of it, and it's a place that I don't need to maintain my journalistic integrity if I prefer to rant. I would write much differently if it were a news story of mine, but I would still highlight the statements of the elevator company explaining the extent of the damage done to the doors, and the witness who saw the boy being THROWN into the elevator doors repeatedly before they opened. Oh wait, I already did! Look at that.

Anyways, I don't think he was "thrown", as in I don't believe the guard's intentions were to throw him down the shaft. I don't think the guards even meant for him to die. But I do think they made some very poor choices in their behaviour and I don't want them getting off the hook. And I don't want to accept this as an "accident" - because it wasn't. It may have been a mistake, but that doesn't make it an accident.

They were doing something wrong.

This is Canada. There is a certain way we believe (as citizens) that people should be treated, and that extends to while in custody as well. I would even go so far as to predict the expectation of those standards might be a little higher when dealing with a youth in custody. We aren't supposed to throw people against anything (a 123 pound boy handcuffed AND shackled against two grown men with Security Training?), let alone doors that might freakishly open, causing someone to fall to their death. Something's are just not acceptable. There are something's I don't have to sit back and passively accept.

Misjudging the anticipated outcome of your intentional actions does not equal an accident, nor does it provide an excuse. The boy falling/slipping into the shaft is likely a direct result of him being thrown around in the first place (meaning it would not have occurred if he were being treated properly), something that is still very very wrong. Real world consequences occur from most endeavours, I guess that's why we don't walk around shoving people into walls on a regular basis.

As adults society expects us to take responsibility for our actions. I believe it is even expected that we consider the outcomes of our actions before we make a choice to do something. As a parent I expect adults that encounter my children to treat them with respect, dignity and to act within the law. As a parent, if my child were involved in the justice system I would expect that they were treated with respect in a safe environment that allowed the due process necessary for them to experience the real world consequences of their actions.

I don?t consider being thrown against the walls, let alone being permitted to slip into an empty elevator shaft, to be due process, or even an acceptable consequence for what Kyle Young was accused.

I am not in favour of the death penalty.

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