Tragedy lies behind Sask. murder trial

The trial of farmer Gerald Stanley began this week, and the world is watching.

Media from across this country, and well beyond, are taking an interest in this tragic story.

Shooting anyone for any reason should be problematic for most folks.

And killing someone is what this trial in North Battleford, Sask., is all about.

However, the reason it has drawn so much interest is in part because of the public reaction immediately after the police were called and in part because of the easily identifiable participants — beyond their names. A white farmer and an indigenous young man make this story one that evokes strong reactions, long before the facts are brought into the courtroom.

Otherwise, it might have been just another of the 54 homicides committed in Saskatchewan in 2016. Not that any of them aren’t tragic. They all are. The same year, neighbouring Alberta had 116 and Manitoba 42, showing that people can be awful to each other anywhere, and Saskatchewan isn’t unique that way.

And people being awful was, in part, why this story became the media sensation that it did.

A few folks from the rural and farm community rallied behind the white farmer. Using social media to express themselves, they drew the attentions of their fellow Canadians for being racists and showing off their inhumanity — and, in some cases, their appreciation for property over the value of human life.

Nearly any knee-jerk reaction can be, upon later, further consideration, considered to be wrong and corrected and apologized for, and society will find a way to look past the behaviour.

But when, after further consideration, it is reinforced, say as a municipal issue, such as a large number of white farmers seeking enhanced property defense rights and claiming it has nothing to do with the killing a few months earlier, it sends out a fairly clear message to the rest of Canada what kind of folks populate that space between Ontario and British Columbia.

And that guarantees a media audience, not to mention reinforces a lot of misconceptions about what it is to be a rural prairie person: white farmer, native Canadian or any of us. This story is a tragedy, for all of us.

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Comments

  • Harold

    The only thing that I see that is tragic is the reporting of a story that the Media has no facts of the case to base their opinions upon. There are many who base their opinions never having set foot into the Court to hear facts and testimony but neither would they understand their own Laws when the facts and testimony are given to them to even understand enough to cast a proper Judgment upon the matter. What is absurd is the race bating that is used to describe evil as if evil doing is race related. The difference between right and wrong is known by the perpetrator as well as it is known by the victim and having that conscience has nothing to do with race; it is not a skin color. Everyone has the right to protect their person from injury, and their property and their livelihood from harm, and this includes all Canadians. Every Canadian is capable of committing a murder or a killing, and every Canadian can be its victim but it is only the human conscience that resides within one that guides both – and for this no color exists. Evil does not care what color of person that it resides in. There is only good or bad and humans who choose to carry out either in their behavior. It is absolutely normal for a Mother and Father to ask why their son was killed on someone else’s property and to have the killing justified by the killer appearing in the Courts where they can hear the sworn truth and facts; that is called – A CHARGE. The Courts are to decide based upon sworn facts and sworn witnesses whether or not the property owner was in fact Lawful in protecting himself in the killing or if he was committing a murder at the time of the event. Every killing goes to Court and is a public record because the public wants to know, through Trial and perhaps Jury, which one of the two parties should be locked up for the sake of public’s safety. For this reason – all are assumed innocent until proven guilty – and again, this has nothing to do with color. There are two tragedies to every killing; the grief of the parents of the perpetrator who committed a crime and the grief of the victim who can never clear from their own mind the memory of the killing. Many are fortunate, that by grace, they will never have this memory in their entire lifetime; unfortunately, ignoring their own grace, these same people seem to be the loudest at every protest.
    We can trust the Media to blow everything out of proportion and context and to keep alive their disingenuous race baiting at the same time; it stirs inappropriate anger, but it also sells newspapers.

  • positively4thstreet

    Canada needs stand your grounds laws so everybody understands you can’t go rampaging around the county with weapons intimidating innocent people on their own property or in their own homes. Make it clear. It should not be up to the most innocent party to ensure such a confrontation ends with no dead bodies. Many people have simplified this down to ‘you shouldn’t be shot for trespassing’…forget the fact they had a loaded gun so why were they armed? I am sure they never meant to break their gun at the first farm where they tried to steal a truck. And they were doing this in the afternoon…when you might expect you might be confronting the property owners. And they did not care.

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