Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Prejudice saves time

A quick tour through the news, with one story doing much to confirm stereotypes and another perhaps undermining some preconceived notions.

First, the former. Three Oklahoma teenagers have been accused of shooting and killing a college baseball player from Australia. Why? "We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."
Christopher Lane, who was visiting the town of Duncan, where his girlfriend and her family live, had passed a home where the boys were staying and that apparently led to him being killed, police chief Danny Ford said on Monday. A 17-year-old in the group has given a detailed confession to police, but investigators haven't found the weapon used in last week's shooting, Ford said. That teen and the others – aged 15 and 16 – remain in custody; Ford said the district attorney is expected to file first-degree murder charges on Tuesday. It wasn't known if the three would be charged as adults or juveniles. They are to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.
"They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: 'There's our target,'" Ford said. "The boy who has talked to us said, 'We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.'"
He said they followed the 22-year-old Lane, a student from Melbourne who was attending college on a baseball scholarship, in a car and shot him in the back before driving off. Ford told the television station KOCO in Oklahoma City that one of the teens said they shot Lane for "the fun of it."
Let's see -- dumb teenagers? Check. Oklahoma? Check. US gun culture? Checkity-check-check.

The media reaction in Australia has been as nuanced and understated as you would expect. Tim Fischer, a former deputy prime minister from the John Howard regime, is doing his part by encouraging Australians to stop visiting the United States in order to force Congress to enact further gun control legislation.
"Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice,'' Mr Fischer said. "This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gunshows.
"People should take this into account before going to the United States. I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers (but) it's a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost every American.''
Fischer has something of a history when it comes to criticizing US gun culture. To be fair to him, though, it's hard to fault Australia's record. When a conservative government enacts sweeping gun control legislation and the country goes from 13 mass shootings in the 18 years prior to 1996 to zero mass shootings since 1996, there just might be something to that approach.

And now for something only slightly less depressing. Canadians are supposed to be all nice and understanding, right? Nothing like their noisy neighbors to the south. As it turns out, though, the Great White North has its own infestation of fuckwits. For example, there's this enlightened individual:
Ontario police are aware of a disgusting letter that apparently sent to a woman caring for an autistic child by a woman neighbour who wanted the "wild animal kid" out of her neighbourhood, even if it meant killing the child.
The hateful letter was reportedly sent last week to a resident of Newcastle, Ont., just west of Toronto, who hosts her 13-year-old grandson, Max, during summer days.
The full letter is below the jump.

Image courtesy of PZ Myers. If the text is too small for you, it reads as follows:
To the lady living at this address:
I also live in this neighbourhood and have a problem!!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in a close proximity neighbourhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside is DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kid needs fresh air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies, music and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighborhood!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!
He is a nuisance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him????????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it… properly!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!! GOD!!!!
Do everyone in our community huge a favor and MOVE!!!! VAMOSE!!! SCRAM!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighborhood setting!!! Go live in a trailer in the woods or something with your wild animal kid!!! Nobody wants you living here and they don’t have the guts to tell you!!!!!
Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!
One pissed off mother!!!!!
Notice that this Brave Hero, despite her vehemence, neglected to affix her name to this geyser of fuckwittery. That doesn't stop her from accusing the rest of the neighbo(u)rhood of lacking guts, of course. So much ignorance, fear and hatred packed into one piece of pink paper. This woman has managed to procreate and purchase property yet can't muster the slightest amount of empathy for a neighbor and fellow parent? Swap out "father" for "parent" and suddenly Keanu Reeves seems a whole lot smarter.

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