Ever listen to those studies that say "don't let your children watch television before the age of two," or "don't let them watch television at all?" You know all well-meaning scientific studies that tell us too much media hard-wires our brains?
I'm starting to think there's something to that.
More specifically, I'm beginning to think all the horror genre - slasher flicks, zombie movies, vampire books and TV shows - is really starting to get to some people, especially those who may be certifiably crazy to begin with. Like the Wile E. Coyote vs. the Roadrunner, where he's delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, and a feather lands and sends him over the edge, I think the horror genre is doing this to the mentally disturbed.
That's the only reason I can think of behind three recent incidents in the news that all concerned cannibalism.
It's not like cannibalism is an every day occurrence in the modern world. "Oh, I'll have some wine, cheese, and human flesh, please." That doesn't happen.
On the day I write this, German police bagged Luka Rocco Magnotta, who allegedly videotaped himself in his own snuff film - killing, dissecting, and feeding some of his victim to a dog. I don't know if you would call that cannibalism or not, but it's close enough in my books.
The National Post drew several parallels to the crime and the movie Basic Instinct. That may very well be the case, but Sharon Stone's character didn't eat any human flesh, or feed it to her dog.
Then we have the guy in Florida, who, within a few feet of the offices of a major newspaper, attacked a homeless man and started eating his face. The attacker, supposedly hopped up on a new form of delusional drug, was naked at the time. He had to be shot and killed in order to halt the attack.
It wasn't that long ago we had a delusional man attack his neighbouring passenger on a bus in southern Manitoba. Vince Li killed his victim, cut off his head, and started eating him.
What's perhaps even more crazy than the assailants in these cases is the notion that anyone, anywhere, would even consider letting them out of prison to see the light of day again.
Yet that's exactly what's happening with Li. In mid-May, he won the right to have escorted trips into the community.
An interview published in the National Post on May 22 stated:
"Q. Why did you do what you did on the bus?
"Li: I bought a knife at Canadian Tire. I bought it for any emergency for the journey to protect myself from the aliens. I was really scared ... I believed he was an alien. The voices told me to kill him. That he would kill me or others. I do not believe this now. It was totally wrong. It was my fault. I sinned. But it was the schizophrenia."
I'm sure mental illness is a horrible thing, and for many people, can be treated. However, the defence of "not criminally responsible," is not acceptable to Joe Public. Yes, these people may need to be locked up in a mental institution. But if they are murderers, they should never, ever be allowed out.
Several years ago I actually sat in on a psychiatric evaluation for Layne Larose, a man who killed two people in North Battleford with an axe then burned the house, all because he, too, heard voices. The murders occurred in 2004. By April 2011, CBC reported, "A review board concluded that Larose should be able to live in the community.
"This board has had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Larose on numerous occasions and has formed the opinion that he is well motivated, understands the wrongs he committed and the reason for those wrongs,' Peter Foley, a judge and the chairman of the Saskatchewan Review Board, wrote in the decision for the five-person panel."
As for Luka Rocco Magnotta, there's no question he was crazy. You don't cut someone up - Sopranos-like - and mail body parts to politicians. There's absolutely no way he should ever be set free, no matter how many drugs he takes.
Real life is not a zombie movie, although perhaps some people, in their altered state, are turning zombie movies into real life.
With body parts being mailed to their offices, maybe the politicians will finally take notice.
Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at brian.zinc...@sasktel.net