Saturday, August 02, 2008

By this time half the world's population who have access to the mass media have heard of last Wednesday's grisly murder on a Greyhound bus near Portage La Prairie Manitoba. The details- a completely random killing, decapitation of the victim and eating body parts of same are just the sort of bizarre news that captivates the mass media. Sells papers (and TV shows and magazines,etc.) big time. Add the captive audience of passengers on a prairie bus, and you have the news media equivalent of the perfect storm. Friends of the victim, Tim McLean, who have set up a website for condolences have had to shut the open posting access down due to the number of ghouls who drop by to exercise their sick attitudes. The nutbar who did the act, Vince Weiguang Li of Edmonton who was reportedly (maybe) going for a job interview here in Winnipeg, appeared before a judge yesterday and was remanded until some poor court appointed lawyer had the chance("chance" says it all) to interview him. Li maintained a complete silence during the court appearance, refusing to verbally answer any questions posed by the judge. A psychiatric assessment was also ordered. As one radio news reporter commented, "go figure". Molly's first response to the news was her usual graveyard humour, but here is a more measured response.
It's been some time since Molly has had the "pleasure" of riding the dog, but she did it quite frequently in her youth. I doubt that the general picture has changed. If the bus is packed it's was a sure fire guarantee that at least one passenger was flagrantly psychotic (often up to 3), but these people were usually 110% harmless. Mostly they'd sit staring into space absorbed in their own delusions or, at worst, annoy anybody unlucky enough to sit beside them with incomprehensible babble(nuts never sleep by the way). They were always outnumbered by the drunks and the "generally nasty". The insane were usually the least of the worries.
Incidents ? Yeah I saw a few, usually quickly (or slowly and painfully over the course of 100s of miles of annoyance) resolved without the need for the bus driver to take a risk. Occasionally I participated in the "solution". But I did see a few times when the bus driver had to screw up the courage to intervene in the case of a drunk or a nasty(never with a nut). Sometimes the poor drivers have little chance. On February 16th, 2007 a gang of people in their 20s attacked the bus driver near Lloydminster Saskatchewan. This is one of the few incidents that have been reported, but, if things haven't changed since I was young, then actual incidents that are "handled" rather than "reported" are much more common.
The Amalgamated Transit Union represents bus drivers on the Greyhound lines, and they have been calling for improved security on buses for some time. See their website for a complete overview of this incident and what it means. See also the following article from the CTV News about what the company claims and what the union says. Greyhound's main arguing point when discussing security on buses for the last 1 1/2 year with Transport Canada is that such security is "impractical". So is getting off the bus minus your head !!! Isn't it about time that the Dog smartened up to what has been going on for decades ?
The article....
Greyhound murder raises security questions
The brutal murder of a Greyhound bus passenger is raising questions about the bus line's security practices.

"It should be like at airports, everything gets checked, even your body gets checked," Maria Dueck told CTV News. She was using Greyhound for the first time on Thursday. "It should be the same thing for buses -- people should be safer on the bus; because now I don't feel safe."

Greyhound says the brutal stabbing and decapitation that happened on a bus headed for Winnipeg Wednesday night was a rare and isolated incident(anything to THIS level is, of course, "rare"but day to day "incidents" on Greyhound buses are hardly "rare", as I have pointed out above-Molly).

Right now in the U.S., the company does random wand checks, but they don't have that kind of security in Canada.

The company says it has been discussing ways to improve bus security with Transport Canada for the past year and a half.

"A lot of people have talked about airport style security; but the rural nature of our network doesn't allow us to have that type of security," a spokesperson told CTV News. "It's not practical for us."

The union representing Greyhound bus drivers doesn't agree. It says all passengers and their luggage should get screened before being allowed on a bus. The union says bus drivers would feel more secure and so will passengers.

Drivers and passengers commended
On Thursday afternoon the RCMP commended the driver and passengers of the bus where the murder took place.

"I also want to acknowledge the driver and the other passengers on the bus," Sgt. Steve Calwell said at a news conference.

"What you saw would and what you experienced would shake the most seasoned police officer, yet I'm told that each of you reacted swiftly, calmly, and with bravery. We commend you for your level headedness and strength in the face of truly extreme circumstance. "

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