I didn’t know Reese Fallon.
I may have met her, once, when Beaches-East York MP Nate Erskine-Smith – who did know her – held an anti-racism event in our neighbourhood. Nate had a number of Young Liberal club members there, helping out. Reese was a member of that club. I remember feeling sorry for these young people, because a group of neo-Nazis and white supremacists had shown up and were disrupting the meeting. It was pretty ugly.
So, I didn’t know her. I do know, however, that she is still being mourned – she isn’t even in the ground, yet – after she was murdered on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue Sunday night. She was there for a birthday celebration with friends. One of her friends was wounded and taken to hospital, too. That’s what I know. That’s all that most of us know.
Here, too, something else I know: it was appalling, and wrong, for CBC Radio to devote a lot of time, this morning, to the killer. In one part, they had what sounded like a professional actor breathlessly read the letter his family sent out. In another part, they had a youth worker who knew the killer come on, and he related how the killer had “a million-dollar smile” and was “humble and reserved.” It went on and on and on like that, for a long time, on CBC Radio.
I don’t know if any those things are true, either. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Personally, I don’t usually associate having “a million-dollar smile” with people who slaughter children on a city street.
What I do know is this: it isn’t just governments that have a role to play in preventing other Reese Fallons from being executed one night. The media has a role to play, too.
And that role does not include treating the killer with more deference than the killer’s victims.
Before they – innocent children – are even in the ground.