Dr. Dawg

Rehtaeh Parsons

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Why does the RCMP have no problem infiltrating and spying on peaceful protesters, but is unable to do a damn thing when a schoolgirl in a small town is raped on-camera and bullied on the social media into suicide by a pack of young criminals?

Heaven help me for saying so, but Warren Kinsella has a point. If the Mounties, whose track record on gender issues is disgusting and grossly incompetent, cannot or will not do the job they were sworn to do, and the Crown prosecutor would prefer to sit on his duff, then maybe Anonymous can out those creeps, naming and shaming them. Because only the bright light of day will put an end to all this. If citizens have to turn over the rocks themselves when the justice system throws up its hands, then so be it. What else can we do?

I take lawyer Damian Penny’s point—we do need to be careful. But crowdsourcing this thing may be the only avenue left. That isn’t “vigilantism,” pace Chris Selley. It’s looking for and sharing the truth when the authorities have been complacent and uncaring. It’s no different from answering the call when someone goes missing, or a crime has been committed in the neighbourhood. We’re talking information-sharing here—not lynching.

I generally respect Selley, but in his urge to damp down the prevailing moral panic over bullying, he goes much too far the other way. I find this comment frankly unforgivable:

[S]hould we just charge these four boys in Nova Scotia, because we can’t prove they did anything else wrong, and a troubled teenager committed suicide, and Facebook demands justice? I’m deeply uncomfortable with that, first because we don’t have all sides of the story and second because, as Ms. Bazelon notes in her book, we seem to hold children to a higher standard than adults on these matters despite their fractious neurochemistry.

Rehtaeh Parsons was raped and humiliated and driven to kill herself. How is it holding these punks to a “higher standard” to want them identified, and justice done? We should cut them slack because of raging teenage hormones? Really, Chris?

This whole sorry saga needs a thorough airing. Let’s not collude in the complacency of the authorities, or of smug, tut-tutting media columnists. And let’s not reinforce the conspiracy of silence in Cole Harbour, so reminiscent of the Helen Betty Osborne case. That would be a disgrace to Rehtaeh Parsons’ memory.

To the Anonymous collective: go for it.

In the meantime, at least sign the petition.

UPDATE: (April 12) The Anonymous collective speaks out.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 10, 2013 9:52 PM.

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