When the third wave of alerts about a York Region police officer came to my iPhone, before I opened them I looked at my phone and said out loud, “not dead, not dead, not dead.”
But all the wishing in the world couldn’t keep Constable Garrett Styles alive. He was pinned under a stolen van driven by an underage, unlicensed teen after he tried to grab the keys and the kid took off. The 32 year old Constable was dragged for 300 metres before the 15 year old lost control and dumped the van in a ditch on top of Styles who was still able to call dispatch for help. I’m appalled at my colleagues in the media who are using that emergency call as part of their stories. The dying words of a police officer serve us in no way. There’s nothing to learn from it. Police already know what happened and they’ve told us about it. It’s an exploitation of a human being’s personal tragedy.
A Facebook “friend” suggested capital punishment for the teen. Well, we abolished that, even though I’m pro-CP for some cases. But I wouldn’t kill the kid over this. It was needless and awful and 15 year old boys tend to have no concept of consequences. A kid who lay in wait to deliberately murder a police officer? I’d pull the switch myself. This was just a stupid, spontaneous and idiotic waste of a husband, father and protector and that kid will have to live with that for the rest of his life, in addition to whatever the law puts on him.
In fact, he should have to truly live with it. He should have to talk to the officer’s kids when they’re a little bit older, face to face, and explain to them why they don’t have a Daddy anymore. He should have to spend the Constable’s wedding anniversary watching his widow cry or attend his family reunion and listen to everyone describe the void that’s been created by his selfish actions. Send him to high schools to talk to kids his own age about what he has done. Make him relive it as much as possible. Have him make some sort of a difference even though it won’t come close to making up for what he has done.