Jail riots, drunk drivers and drugs...just a few of the topics that have some readers riled up lately.
Here’s a sampling of some of the more interesting e-mails I’ve received in recent days. Keep the comments coming by contacting me through my website at mike on crime <http://www.mikeoncrime.com> .
NO PUBLIC SHAMING OF DRUNKS...AND THAT’S A SHAME – G.L.P writes...... "Mike, I see all kinds of coverage in both the local newspapers in regards to drunk drivers and that police are making the names of those charged with impaired driving public. There was an article in one of the papers (earlier this week) that says: "It seems even public shame hasn’t proven an effective deterrent."
My question is - What public shame? Putting a blurb in your articles that "names of those who have been charged with impaired driving can be found on the Wpg. Police Service Web site" HARDLY constitutes public shame.
I wonder how many people access the Winnipeg Police Service Web site? And read the names of those charged? I have no doubt that it is very few.
I am curious as to why the media who jump on the "news" aspects of impaired driving and yet can’t seem to find the space in the newspaper to prominently display the names of those who have been charged with impaired or refusal of breathalyzer. Unless it is someone who is or has had previously been featured in the media and the story can sell newspapers you don’t see the names of all those charged with impaired driving or refusal.
Why not? Printing and showing the " gruesome and spectacular" carnage that result from impaired drivers sells newspapers. I’ve actually been there and continue to be there to deal with the death and destruction that’s caused on a regular basis . If you claim to really be wanting to be seen as serious about the issue why not publicize the names of all of those charged. The media shouldn’t be on both sides of the fence: "Oh drunk driving kills and drunks should not be driving" on one hand and "Turn to page 3 to see the latest spectacular crash" on the other."
G.L.P, I don’t disagree with you at all. I wish all local media – including my own employer – would publish the names. It’s something I’ve argued strongly about in the past. (GO TO THE FOLLOWING TO READ A BLOG I WROTE ON THE SUBJECT IN 2007 - http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/mcintyre/34249479.html) I don’t make policy decisions but my understanding is the Free Press (and I can only assume other media) doesn’t want to publish the name of someone when they’re only charged - not convicted – of an offence that we are unlikely to follow through to the end and report on the outcome. As you can imagine, covering the case of every single drunk driver in court is just not feasible.
METH MESSES UP MANY LIVES – Lynn responds to my story last week on Daniel Van Den Bosch, the troubled young crystal meth addict who killed himself in front of horrified Winnipeg police officers.
"You may have went a lot further on your story Mike. Daniel Van Den Bosch’s death was only a symptom of a huge problem that continues to grow.
The streets are full of individuals like that who have such uncontrollable addictions, and they have nowhere to turn.. The courts are overloaded with them and they are put back out where they know full well they will re-offend due to their addictions (sickness) And even many who are charged with dealing these dangerous drugs are pushed back on the street by a system that cannot cope with the load. The dealers should be incapacitated, because they are destroying lives- In some cases the dealers are also addicts no doubt.. It is one huge horrific out of control problem."
Lynn, I have a daily front-row seat down at the Law Courts to witness the impact drugs have on our community. I completely agree with your take on this and believe drugs are the number one issue in our city right now. Take any crime – be it having your car stolen, your house broken into, the mugging down your street or the latest gang shooting – and drugs are likely connected. They truly are at the root of almost all evil.
MIKE WEARS DIAPERS? – Judy takes me to task for writing that the 1996 riot at Headingley Jail was the "worst" in the province’s history.
"Hey McIntyre. Excuse me sir....the above quote is NOT correct. Have you ever heard of a couple of Corrections Officers by the name of : 1. Werner Friesen? 2. Joseph Wendl? Where were you? Perhaps still in diapers?
So that’s it. A couple of guys die doing their job....you know helping to keep riffraff off the streets and no mention. The worst prison riot in Manitoba took place at Stony Mt. in 1984. I will expect you to apologize for screwing up big time.
I was a wife of a Correction’s Officer. I know the pain because my husband was part of that God awful event. Then some goof ball named Mile McIntyre trivializes that nightmare.....Werner and Joe died for nothing. No respect for these fallen heroes, no respect for those that cleaned up their blood and wept at their funerals.
McIntyre, you are a piece of work. I suggest you fine another line of work....you’re a useless "Crime reporter.".....next time check your facts. That is what you’re supposed to do, right?
Judy, thanks very much for the "colourful" e-mail.
Yes, I’ve heard of Friesen and Wendl, and it was a horribly tragic case. Certainly it was the deadliest prison incident in Manitoba’s history, and I definitely meant no disrespect to the slain guards or their families by not mentioning it in my initial story on last weekend’s Stony gang riot (which, for the record, was quickly put together between the hours of 11 p.m. and midnight, not much time to dig through the archives to meet our deadline) Hopefully you’ve taken note of the fact the 1984 incident has been mentioned in our subsequent coverage.
Oh, and in response to your other question - I’ve checked with my mother, and no, I wasn’t still in diapers in 1984.