Thursday, April 12, 2018

Humboldt BroncoTragedy and Nora Loreto

Horror, tragedy, grief, loss and anger has griped the community of Humboldt Saskatchewan. A semi-trailer and a bus full of young men crashed. The result is hard to imagine. Your child is gone. He is dead. The way he died is awful. As of today 16 people have died as a result of a vehicle crash. No word on how it happened. The early speculation points to the truck going through a flashing stop sign.

The accident has got world wide media attention. The loss is being felt everywhere and people have taken action to show support for the community and the families. A Go Fund page set up for the families of the accident has surpassed $10 million. Katie Dangerfield, writer with Global News and believes people can relate to the tragedy. Donations have come from over 65 countries. There is no doubt the tragedy is being felt by many and all over the world. The families and the community should have the support.

While Canada and the US (by way of the National Hockey League) are collectively showing support to the hockey players of Humboldt, some are questioning the support. They are not questioning that the support is needed or begrudging it, but wondering why only in this situation?

There have been other rallying cries of support. We are all Charlie was one of them. The world light up their cities in the colors of France in support. We see other situations  that become symbols where people share and support. There are of course many other events where people didn't empathize. The world didn't wear colors or pins to show support or care for the 276 girls kidnapped in Nigeria. Last week Syria's government poisoned their own people, many were children. The outcry to those incidents in comparison to Humboldt was the squeak of a mouse.

So why does Humboldt resonate so loudly with the world, while other tragedies are whimpers of media sound bites?

As mentioned in media articles it is the recognition and how people can relate. The anguish of loss. The sorrow we can imagine and feel empathy for the families. People can personalize the incident, the pain and imagine it as them. That is key, identifying as it can be you.

Which explains why the situation with Colten Boushie, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Leo Lechance, Marlene Bird, Neil Stonechild, Sammy Yatim, Shamattawa and Alan Kurdi are not part of the equation. Sure there are some who feel bad and can sympathize but that is where it stops. They are good-hearted people, like many people are, but they don't identify. Nora Loreto was trying to convey this to the Twitter world with her Tweet. Many people took offense to her comments.

The thing is the outrage expressed by the public didn't balance with the view expressed by Loreto. There were calls for her to be fired from her job. There were vile, poisonous, venomous hate sent to her by email, telephone and social media.  Many of the comments were meant to demean, insult and even to threaten. People want her to die from Cancer. Andrienne Batra Editor of the Toronto Sun, wrote an editorial criticizing the tweet of Nora Loreto. It was a timely piece. Timely in that Batra is cashing in on the anger aimed directly at Loreto. What you see playing out is the real grief and anger people feel for the families of Humboldt Bronco's hockey team. The deaths and injuries are awful. So the reaction of hurt and anger is understandable. The vile personal attacks are not understandable. Batra although she was tame in her editorial, was playing to the audience who have unreasonable temperament. She shameless cashed in on the ugly sentiment played out on social media.

There are those who see the views of others as an opportunity; an opportunity to spew hate. It is a hypocrisy. On one hand there is the empathy, sympathy and genuine understanding of the accident/tragedy and then there is the visceral contempt for others. The statement by Loreto may have been ill-timed but it was far from malice or intended to hurt or diminish the horror. She pointed out there are differences in responses to tragedies.

Maybe if we looked at the tragedies and humanized all those different faces, we could all care like Humboldt. Until then we are all Charlie but not anymore than that.

The families who lost their sons, daughter and fathers will find no comfort for a long time, if ever.
Everyone can master a grief,
But he that has it.
William Shakespeare      


  1. Your thoughtful and well-reasoned discussion of deep emotions doesn't apologize for a Nora Loreto's smug virtue-signalling. If anything, the outpouring of sympathy for the families of the victims are a reflection of the love of hockey, Canada's national sport. That's a very emotional community. Trying to condense complicated Marxist ideas and put them into snappy slogans hasn't worked well in the past, but Nora Loreto thought she was smarter than past Marxists. In fact, I think her condensed version is actually the truth... she listed all the things she despise: men, Canadians, hockey, white people. Wow! How virtuous can you get?

  2. The content anger hostility and threats can't be rationalized.