Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ghost Hunting Gone Wrong

It’s been a year since the tragedy at Knox College in Toronto. September 2009 saw an internet spawned first date end in tragedy for a 29 year old American woman at the University of Toronto.

They started their escapade on the ground floor, finding a window that they could get through in order to access the building. After making their way up through the building, they managed to make it to the roof. Once on the roof, they decided to try to make it across to another section of the roof by jumping over a void. The male made the leap, the female was not so lucky. She apparently got caught up in the meshing used to keep birds out, and ended up falling to her death. She fell around 2 a.m., alcohol was believed to be a factor.

Rumours of the building being haunted are just that, rumours. To the best of my knowledge, there are no reports of the building being haunted. The building has some history though. In January of 2001, lecturer David Buller was found stabbed to death in his office. His murder remains unsolved to this day.

This story is tragic, but let us use it as an example of what NOT to do when ghost hunting or legend tripping:

It was only a rumour that this place was haunted. There are no published stories or any ‘eyewitness’ testimony. Only stories of stories of stories, no first hand stories seem to exist. An unsolved murder will not make the place haunted!

They had been drinking. This is fine for a first date. Not so good for ghost hunting, or barring that, roof jumping. This may have led to my next point…

Breaking and Entering. These would be criminal offences committed, and not a very bright idea. Some people like me like to have a record of their ghost hunts, just not a criminal record.

Jumping rooftop to rooftop seems cool, and looks good in the movies, but it’s not for you. It’s not easy to judge distance apart from things when they’re also separated by height. Plus, it’s 2am and dark, even with a flashlight, you can only see so much and not nearly enough to try something like that. Remember, you’re not Jack Bauer hunting terrorists, you are YOURSELF hunting ghosts, don’t try to become one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What I Don't Understand

What I Don’t Understand

Today, over 300 people charged during the G20 summit appeared in court. Many have already had charges dropped, or dropped with a ‘non-guilt’ diversion process where they have to donate some money to charity. These are likely charges that have either no basis in fact, or no chance of conviction. This is unethical at best. DROP the charges or proceed to court, do NOT ‘bribe’ people to make charges go away.

One thing I have not been able to understand is that there are MANY people out there who think that ALL of these people ARE guilty…of the VANDALISM that happened. It was a very small number of people who were involved in this. Police estimates are between 25 (low) and 200 (high). 5 times as many were arrested (of the high number), and of those, only 303 charged. Here’s something to think about before spouting off, how many were charged with vandalism? Very few. Most of these charges did not even need to come to the court to be dropped. They could have just dropped them, and NOT have had people pay for lawyers today. This is completely unacceptable in a democratic society. This is tantamount to a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), in that, the goal would appear to be to waste the ‘accused’ money, only to have the charges dropped. They could have also been dropped at the bail hearing.
I must also say that those who WERE charged with the vandalism (most charged AFTER the summit, based on video and photo evidence) should pay for what they did. Either restitution or jail time.

The Crown has had almost 2 months to go through 300 or so charges. In that amount of time, they could have called the representative lawyers, or sent out letters to drop those charges. Instead, they decide to hold a circus, complete with the ETF, and withdraw the charges. Again, this costs the accused money and time, for something that could have been done much more simply. Most did not seem to have spent much time at all in court. The only thing this does is create a media storm, strengthening the vitriol against those who were unjustly detained.

At a certain point, you just have to say STOP. You’ve done more than enough harm to the City and the reputation of the Justice System.