What’s the Difference?

I was reading the story about the armored car heist in Alberta. There were no fancy headlines like those reserved for Vincent Li. Apparently we find it comprehensible that someone would murder three individuals for a little over 300 000 dollars. Possibly we can relate to crime for financial gain, while crime due only to a mental disorder is foreign. Could we fathom doing something we wouldn’t normally do for financial reasons? What would you do for money otherwise not attainable? It may be totally foreign for most of us to commit any crime but if it is for profit there seems some rhyme to it.

What does it say about us as individuals and as a society? Why can we comprehend someone whose value of life equals roughly $100,000 per person? Murder under any circumstance is abominable yet we only demonize the person suffering from hallucinations and delusions. The headlines that follow Vincent Li years later are “Crazed Bus Butcher”. “Baumgartner Nabbed at Border” follow the individual who is likely criminally responsible for three deaths and another seriously injured. This person seems to be in full possession of his mental faculties yet he avoids demonization by the media and possibly the public.

Why do we allow someone who knowingly murders for paper, dignity of sorts yet strip those who suffer from a mental disorder that same dignity? Should we hold the media to higher standards? Call a spade a spade and I will still buy your paper. Distort the facts and you are a sensationalizing letch. Are those whose occupation it was to distribute money to machines not worthy of our outrage? If we are going to spit on someone, greed as a motive for murder might just be worthy of it. Possibly we don’t want to demonize something that we could fathom ourselves? Is there an amount you might murder for?

It all seems senseless and Mr. Li did perform an atrocity but the courts and medical profession have proven and deemed him Not Criminally Responsible. Why is that so hard to disseminate? If Mr. Baumgartner is responsible in act and under the law should we not hold him accountable to the same extent we mistakenly hold those who are factually “not” accountable? If Mr. Li killed for an amount of money would it be comprehensible? If Mr. Baumgartner killed because he was ill I would expect headlines such as “Armored Car Abomination” or “Twisted Treasure Terminator.” We can understand one scenario because we would all do certain things for money under certain circumstances. The thing you have to realize is we could each do any number of things under the powers of a mental disorder. My outrage flies in all directions and my sympathy to those affected by both individuals.

5 thoughts on “What’s the Difference?

  1. Money is physical. We can hold it in our hands, everyone can “see” money. We can’t see the other persons delusions, we can’t touch that and it’s also not something we want. We want money.

    That’s my theory anyways.

  2. I have to admit being a little behind in my Canadian news but I wonder if what the average person in the street does unconsciously is to imagine themselves in that situation. If they can imagine it then mayb e it somehow becomes “okay’ but if they can’t imagine themselves in the throws of mental illness (Perhaps because who would want to?) then they write it off as somehow unacceptable. Not sure. I need to think some more about this.

    • You may be right. On some scale many of us can imagine at least, committing a crime for money. To commit an offense for no gain or logical reason is foreign. Unfortunately crimes involving a mental disorder have no motive. My argument is that, a reason can be more despicable. The media could be more fair in their depiction. If you crash your car because of diabetic shock it shouldn’t carry the same headline as someone who is drunk or involved on road rage. Physical and therefore mental factors should elicit a degree of compassion or at least not be sensationalized. The public have enough misconceptions without the media throwing out headlines like “Diabolical Diabetic Drives…”

      • I agree totally. The media are really a big problem in all of this, and unfortunately I think it applies the world over.

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