Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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1

Dec

2019

The day there were no heroes

Author: Jim Taylor

This coming Friday, December 6, marks the 30th anniversary of the deadliest mass murder in Canadian history. That is, if you don’t count attacks on indigenous peoples. They were, after all, just Indians.

            Marc Lepine would probably say the same about his rampage at L´Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. They were, after all, just women. Feminists, studying engineering so that they could steal men’s jobs.

            Fourteen women died. Fourteen more victims -- ten women and four men -- were injured by his bullets. The 15thdeath was Lepine, when he shot himself.

            And there’s no question about his intentions. He left a three-page suicide note, plus letters to two friends, explaining his hostility towards women in general, towards women who wanted to be engineers in particular.

            I won’t attempt to analyze his motives. I do want to trace his actions, and some people’s responses.


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30

Oct

2016

Treating a mass murder as a mystery novel

Author: Jim Taylor
A Canadian nurse has been charged with murdering eight seniors in care homes over a seven-year period. The victims’ families are in shock, of course. So is the community of Woodstock, ON, where seven of the murders took place. But the details are sketchy. We know the name of the alleged murderer -- 49-year-old Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer. We know the deaths occurred between August 2007 and August 2014. We know the names and ages of the victims. We know that seven of them received a fatal dose of a drug. The drug may have been insulin. As a nurse Wettlaufer would have had access to supplies of insulin. Even so, the choice of drug is actually irrelevant -- any drug, no matter how valuable for health, can be administered as a fatal dose. But the facts available, up to the time I wrote this column, tell almost nothing about why Wettlaufer might have done what she’s accused of.
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