Thanks a Lot!
In this wonderful country we call Canada, we do indeed have a lot to be thankful for. We celebrate our blessings on a relative daily basis and many cultures, races and societal groups tend to express how much they appreciate this part of the world and how lucky we are to be here. However, all it takes is one particularly bad apple to blast off the rosy coloured glasses and remind us that humans are the solution and the problem at all times and there is no Shangri-La on planet Earth. True peace on earth and happiness has to be fought for and defended on a daily basis and nothing worth fighting for in life comes without effort and dedication.
This is all very applicable to a very recent incident that happened in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia early Sunday morning, just prior to our Canadian Thanksgiving and incidentally, the day after the anniversary of the brutal beating and murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. That particular hate crime sent shockwaves around the United Sates, as well as here in Canada and abroad. Foundations were set up and many anti-hate crime legislations were being put into place, and zero tolerance towards bullying was becoming a frequent news topic along with individual grassroots organizations forming in regional schools. It was a very significant step in fighting homophobia and pointing out the complacency and bigotry inherent in our cultures from religious influence and societal prejudice.
“He’s very open about his sexuality in that he encourages conversation. In fact just two days ago we were talking about him going to high schools and junior high and talking to teens that are afraid of coming out.” – Amy Punke
Well Scott Jones thankfully did not lose his life, but he was viciously attacked by a 19 year old thug who slit his throat, (superficially thank the cosmos), and stabbed him in the back while whispering something in his ear that Scott didn’t quite catch. Sadly, this knife hit home and he is now paralyzed from the waist down after the blade severed his spinal cord. Many people are convinced it’s a hate crime because he is a well adjusted, openly gay musician in the community and played the organ for a local church as well as directing many local choirs. According to them he is not flamboyant, and wasn’t a strong “activist” in any sense of the word but he was comfortable with himself and as his friend Amy Punke reported to the news “He’s very open about his sexuality in that he encourages conversation. In fact just two days ago we were talking about him going to high schools and junior high and talking to teens that are afraid of coming out. Just the nature of the evening and the people that we were with and the fact that he was targeted out of all of us”.
Shane Edward Matheson, 19, of Trenton has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace. He also faces a charge of assault with a weapon in an unrelated incident involving an 18-year-old woman earlier in the evening. Scott says Shane was eyeing him before he left a local lounge and eatery with his group of friends and while that was picked up on, he didn’t think much of it. When he approached him he thought it was a joke until the attack. There are many more details and the whys and wherefores are still to come but the good news is Scott is alive and apparently in incredibly good spirits in spite of the tremendous loss to his mobility.
It’s important to remember that we need to stand up as a whole and say this kind of crime is intolerable.
What should we do when people perpetrate such violent crimes? Everyone gets so shocked and outraged and I’m sure they’ll be a lot of apologist drivel about him being a “troubled teen”, and the boo hoo’s about why he was led astray. I say who gives a fuck? People that do such things are evil! They become evil by choosing to do acts that they know very well are wrong and cause grievous harm to another. I don’t care how old he is. I think it would be the fairest thing in the world to be surgically rendered a paraplegic himself and make him LIVE the life he has now inflicted on an innocent human being who didn’t deserve this senseless attack. Of course that would never happen here in Canada but as “Liberal” as I am…sometimes the old saying an eye for an eye feels more applicable then bleeding hearts and slaps on the wrist.
So on this very sobering Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage everyone to indeed count your blessings and be thankful for the country we live in and many good people in our lives. But it’s important to remember that we need to stand up as a whole and say this kind of crime is intolerable and not be too chicken to defend our minorities and stigmatized individuals in society. Even a good chicken can lay a bad egg.
Kendall is a local singer/keyboardist who moonlights as an occasional writer. His past work has included writing for Naked News, Xtra! magazine and now he’s trying his hand at this blog.
Tags: Amy Punke
, Kendall P
, Kendall Partington
, matthew shepard
, New Glasgow
, Nova Scotia
, openly gay
, Scott Jones
, Shane Edward Matheson
, Thanks a Lot!