A Bad News Day

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.

3 thoughts on “A Bad News Day”

  1. I thinks its disgusting that Constable Styles’ call for help has been made public. I refuse to listen to it and I feel so sorry for his family knowing that call has been made public for everyone to hear it if they choose to. Just the facts of this tragedy are disturbing enough. We don’t need to hear the man’s last pleas for help. And I hope the young teen who caused this will have to pay highly for his actions. This Sunday would have been Constable Styles’ 33rd birthday. Instead of planning his birthday party, his family is planning his funeral. Absolutely tragic.

  2. Part of me thinks the deplorable decision to air the dispatch call is symbolic (or the result) of our “right to know” mentality. This misplaced sense of entitlement was evident in the call to see pictures of bin Laden’s face after his take down. Then again, the age-old “journalistic” practice of knocking on a widow’s door to ask “how do you feel?” has been around since reporters used typewriters. It satisfies the prurient, blood-thirsty nature of the media’s consumers. It’s sickening and it’s wrong, but it’s been going on forever and has just now been ramped up to even worse and more indefensible levels. Where will it end?

    1. It will end when somebody, somewhere refuses and says, that’s not right! The Bin Laden photo issue was different – he killed thousands of people and some were looking for proof he was actually dead. There was a purpose in that call, flawed as it may have been. I wouldn’t have aired the audio. But I hear what you’re sayin’ sister.

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