Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Quick! What is the name of Magnotta's victim?

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With all the attention that Luka Magnotta has received after he allegedly butchered his ex-boyfriend and sent his parts across the country; the focus of the world's attention went to the killer and not the victim, Lin Jun. That's his name. Look it up.

He was a 33-year-old exchange student at Concordia University. He is described as being a tireless worker in both his studies and at the convenience store where he worked, but no one is talking about his life and the tragedy of his death.

Instead, people are making endless jokes about zombies and the apocalypse, people are taking the time to compare Sharon Stone's character in Basic Instinct to Magnotta's crimes and yet the name Lin Jun isn't on the tip of our tongue, despite his body being gruesomely spread from coast to coast.

Ronald Poppo. He was the guy who had his face chewed off by the "Miami face-eater" high on bath salts. Again, the limericks and quips were endless, and all we heard initially about Poppo was that he was homeless and his face had been "eaten down to the goatee."

That's a lovely way to refer to a victim.

The list of victims goes on and on, but very few of the victims' names ever make it into our lexicon like the names Dahmer, Manson and, of course, B.C.'s own Robert Pickton. On June 6, the Missing Women's Inquiry, which was meant to address how police handled the women who were listed as missing in the Downtown Eastside (some of whom ended up at Pickton's pig farm) closed after 93 days of heartbreaking testimony in Vancouver.

From the beginning, the inquiry was laced with strife and controversy when it was discovered the province was paying for lawyers for Pickton, his family and for testifying police officers, but not for aboriginals, sex workers or women's groups -- the victims.

Families and lawyers asked Justice Minister Shirley Bond for more time to hear key witnesses, including a cocaine-addicted associate Lynn Ellingsen, who testified seeing Pickton butcher a woman hanging from a chain, but those requests fell on deaf ears.

It's time we all pay more respect and attention to the victims of crimes as well as the psychopaths who commit them. Perhaps it's because covering a rape victim's experience, or what an abuse survivor has gone through, isn't as sexy as discovering Magnotta filed for bankruptcy, auditioned for a reality show and he may have killed someone else in California.

The six-day worldwide manhunt is over, Canada's latest psycho is behind bars. It would behoove us as a society to stop and reflect how frustratingly unfair it must be for families such as Jun's to constantly see their son's killer everywhere they look. We have to stop giving in to the megalomaniacal tendencies of people such as Magnotta and concentrate more on the lives he snuffed out.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2012 A10

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