Do people think that these guys WANTED their facebook group to be outed by the media on Dec. 6th so that it could correspond to the anniversary of the Montreal massacre!? They never intended their PRIVATE facebook group to be discovered by anyone else, EVER! Trying to link this to the Montreal massacre is utterly ridiculous! Media did this, not the "Gentlemen". Also, a couple more points. 1. They have been university students for what, almost 7 yrs.? If these guys were really the terrible monsters that they're being painted as, why wasn't there at least one other complaint against any of them!? 13 male students. 7 years! Especially in light of the witch hunt that's taking place now, you'd think that if anyone had any dirt on these guys, someone would have come forward!? Anyone? 2. It's now been over a month, and None of the "victims"? (female classmates I guess, although nothing was actually done to anyone. Remember, these FB conversations were never intended to be seen by anyone outside the group) to my knowledge have even filed any sort of complaint against any of these guys! You would think that if these women were so afraid for their safety as most commenters seem to believe, that at least one women would lodge a formal complaint to strengthen the "prosecution" here. These are smart, hardworking university students with. . . wait for it. . . a sense of humor! Leave them alone. There are real problems facing women both throughout the world and in this country. Stop trivializing the real problems by making a mountain out of a mole hill here. It is not a "hate-crime" every time a feminist gets offended.
First of all, I DO NOT in any way condone what these "gentlemen" have been doing. I find it immature, disgusting, and disrespectful, especially of course to the female students. I am a 36 yr. old man however. These guys are in their early 20's. Still kids in a lot of ways. I guess my question is "Is it against the law to act like a bunch of immature jerks?" I have been following this story and haven't seen where any of these "gentlemen" have actually acted on any of these disturbing FB posts, just talked and joked about disturbing things amongst themselves. I guess I wonder how far down the rabbit-hole of censorship do we go? After all, these comments were never intended to be read by anyone outside the group, and from what I can tell, were intended as humour. I'm sure these guys aren't the only ones on campus who share off-color and sexist jokes, male and female. FB and the rest of society is full of these things to one degree or another. It's VERY upsetting, true. Remember what it was like to be 21 or 22!? Did you always think through the consequences of your actions!? I can't imagine being that age and having everything recorded and put online the way it is nowadays! On the one hand, our society is hyper-sexualized. Today's youth are inundated with increasingly explicit and vulgar sexual content and images, including humor. at the same time, we as a society are becoming very sensitive to what we perceive as possible signs of sexual predatory behavior, and it's very hard to know in this case where to draw that line. I do not believe that these "gentlemen" students are sexual predators. I think they were making inappropriate jokes that they thought would stay between them. I think we need to let these "gentlemen" know that what they were doing is wrong and unacceptable, make them stop, have them apologize to anyone they offended, give them some sort of serious and appropriate punishment by the school, and then let them go on with their careers and achieve their dreams. I don't believe these are bad people. I believe they are people who let something that started out as innocent humour get way out of hand. In one of their posts that I read it showed that in addition to the inappropriate comments made, there was a fierce pride in academic excellence and achievement reflected. It's quite possible that these guys might be some of Canada's most promising dentistry students! They don't sound like losers to me, they sound like guys who let off-color and sexist humour go way too far. It can happen. This "lord of the flies" like behavior is common among men of that age. It's part of a "mob mentality". Each group member pushes things a little further, and the next member feels like he has to push it further to gain acceptance, and before long it's out of control. It's very similar to hazing. It doesn't mean that these are bad people. This incident is bad, but not worth throwing away these guys' careers over. If these guys had ACTED on some of their comments, VERY different story! Thankfully, it looks like this was caught in time and stopped before anyone was seriously hurt! Hopefully other students will learn a lesson from this.
I read your article "Meeting Violence with Love" and all of the comments so far. Some observations:
1. All the comments which came from people who had been victimized by these gangs of young criminals advocated harsh penalties for the offenders and self-defense for would-be victims (i.e. carrying a weapon at the ready).
2. All of the comments that advocated not severely punishing these young criminals came from people who hadn't yet been directly impacted by the violence, either by having been victimized themselves, or personally close to someone who had been victimized.
3. Some victims have been so severely beaten by these criminals that they haven't recovered, and will never recover(irreversable brain damage, broken limbs and bones that haven't healed properly, lost teeth, etc.), and surely if people haven't already been killed, it's bound to happen sooner or later.
4. Apparently, the police, for whatever reason, are unable to prevent this violence from recurring.
5. A couple of people who have advocated leniency on these criminals have said that the severity of punishment has no bearing on the frequency and severity of crimes committed. This is simply NOT TRUE. All one has to do is look at the issue of drunk driving over the past 20 or 30 years, and a correlation between the severity of the punishment and the number of offences becomes obvious. As the punishment has become much more severe through the years, from a slap on the wrist and the police telling you to drive straight home, to a large fine, jail time, and losing your license for a year on the first offense, numbers of drunk driving offenses per person in the population have decreased to a small fraction of what they were and are still steadily decreasing as penalties get more severe, and blood alcohol tolerances more stringent! It's only common sense!!! Why anyone would expect a different result with regard to punishment and youth violent crime is beyond me!
6. some bloggers want to blame socio-economic conditions for these problems. While in the long-term solving these problems will undoubtedly be a large part of the solution, even in the poorest neighborhoods, the vast majority of citizens there do not engage in these criminal activities! These criminals CHOOSE to do what they do. No one is making them swarm and hurt people, and by the way, they're not even robbing people to make their own economic situation temporarily better, they're just hurting innocent people! Yes, rehabilitating the whole communities from the ground up is a very noble and worthwhile long-term goal. However, to downplay the necessity of swift and harsh punishment as a deterrent to violent crime is ridiculous, irresponsible, and grossly unjust to the victims and would-be victims of these crimes. We deserve results, and making a young person pick up a little bit of trash for bashing someone's head in with a brick doesn't seem like a situation where the punishment fits the crime. Law abiding citizens should feel safe walking down the street.
I propose a grass-roots movement in the North end of Halifax. What would happen if every citizen in the area always carried a visible weapon such as a baseball bat? I'm sure that would be a deterrent to at least some of the swarmers. After all, they're youths, and most of the targets are white adult males. We're bigger than them! If they still want to attack us, let's really hurt them! Nothing like physical pain as a deterrent! After all, the fear of physical pain and violence is working on us. We are more afraid to go to certain areas, and walk around at certain times of the night. Why not make them afraid? After all, they are the criminals!
And finally, I bet if the few cops that do venture into these problem areas saw everybody there with bats and hockey sticks, all of a sudden there would be a lot more cops patrolling those areas, which would be the best outcome anyway! Maybe after a while we wouldn't need to carry weapons for self defense any more, but I believe this problem needs to be addressed as directly and as simply as possible. I know I'll be ready to defend myself if I need to. That's about as direct and simple as it gets, and if most people defend themselves and really hurt their attackers, I believe it will be proven to be very effective very quickly. After all, most bullies are cowards at heart, especially in a large group. Really hurt the first one that comes close and watch the rest evaporate.
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