Monday, July 04, 2005

The Wisdom of Crowds

Let’s wade into l’affaire Homolka and her on-going attempts to prohibit media outlets from publishing her whereabouts. A Quebec Superior Court Justice rejected this plea last week. Too bad for Karla. She’s in a “State of Terror” contend her lawyers, and with no shortage of hate-mail and death threats Ms. Homolka is understandably fearful for her personal safety upon release. (Which, incidentally, is today by sundown.)

Offhandedly, Homolka’s lawyers caution that rather than the major media outlets being the culprit, internet bloggers zealously publishing Ms. Homolka’s whereabouts will create the real threat to her safety. It’s not hard to imagine some unreconstructed vigilante -- a sociopath at the very least -- taking it upon himself to met out society’s just deserts. This isn’t even to speak of the disparate common citizens, struck with a peculiar morbidity, field-tripping it to Québec for the day -- Ms. Homolka’s place of residence their primary draw; and why not Old Quebec for that matter?

There is that side of me that says “This citizen has served her time, let her be.” This is my far too charitable side. And then the sensible side of me says, “Well, actually… It was later proved that Homolka’s involvement in the rape and murder of three women -- one of them her sister -- was far more integral, her mens rea not diminished by her earlier and more dubious testimony. So really, she hasn’t served nearly enough time in prison; and who am I to stop a concerned citizen from airing his/her misgivings.” (I’m not condoning vigilantism.)

Of course I’m not suggesting that the streets of Montreal run with the blood of a triple-murderer. Not at all. Though, the thought that the media, concerned citizens, reckless bloggers, and the denizens of Montreal have to somehow respect Ms. Homolka’s privacy is painfully laughable. And the last time we respected Ms. Homolka’s privacy? (Ok, this is vile demagoguery and silly rhetoric. My bad.) All I have to offer Ms. Homolka is a trite aphorism: If you sow the wind you reap a storm. And did she ever sow the wind.

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