a historic evacuation of 1.9 million people from the Louisiana coast
complete, gun-toting police and National Guardsmen are standing watch
as rain has started to fall on New Orleans. The powers that be are
extremely worried Hurricane Gustav would be another Katrina.
threatened to arrest if necessary, forcing thousands of American onto
buses and warned that anyone who remained behind would not be rescued.
Looters will go directly to jail – no exceptions.
The storm was
set to crash ashore midday Monday with frightful force, testing the
three years of planning and rebuilding that followed Katrina's
devastating blow to the Gulf Coast.
Painfully aware of the
failings that led to that horrific suffering and more than 1,600
deaths, this time officials moved beyond merely insisting tourists and
residents leave south Louisiana.
Meanwhile the evacuation and
shut down of oil rigs and oil refineries along the Gulf of Mexico has
caused economists to speculate that gas prices, if the worst happens,
could skyrocket to as much as $6 or $7 US per gallon. Due to a shortage
of oil in the United States and a lack of backup oil refineries the
price of gasoline within the USA is expected to rise dramatically.
oil and gasoline stockpiles have been notoriously low since George W.
Bush came to power in January 2001 and started selling off stockpiles.
(The US government normally maintains oil and gas stockpiles in the
event of an emergency or prolonged war, but because of America's
rapidly increasing oil shortage the Bush Administration decided to sell
the stockpiles because they deemed the War on Terrorism to be an
important enough emergency.)
New Orleans appears to be the Achilles heel of the US economy. Whenever the Louisiana coast gets hit by a hurricane the American economy seems to go for a nose dive. Combined with the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 and the current American recession things are not looking very positive.
least this time the powers that be are taking hurricanes seriously.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost the Bush Administration a chunk of its
already low popularity. Comment (0)
Fri, Aug 29th - 2:31PM
John McCain chooses a female vice-presidential running mate
bidding for the White House it always helps to have the cards stacked
in your favour. While Barack Obama turned down Hillary Clinton as his
running mate, John McCain has wisely chosen a female in hopes of luring
more women voters upset about Hillary Clinton's failed presidential bid.
McCain announced his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a diehard
conservative, as his vice-presidential running mate today in a
startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
McCain made his selection only six days after his Democratic rival
Barack Obama named Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his running mate.
said he made his pick after looking for a political partner “who can
best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for
the people who are counting on us.”
McCain said that Palin was
“exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help us
fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.”
whose name wasn’t even on the short list of prospects so heavily
discussed publicly in recent weeks, thus became the first woman named
to a spot on a Republican ticket.
Obama picked an older running mate, and a man whom he said at the outset was qualified to be president.
chose Palin a generation younger than he is, and a governor less than
two years, and made no such claim about her readiness to sit in the
Unlike Biden, who attacked McCain's record in his
debut last week, Palin was indirect in her initial attempts to elevate
McCain over Obama. Palin made an immediate play for support from
Democratic women, mentioning that she followed in the footsteps of
Geraldine Ferraro, who was the Democratic vice-presidential running
mate in 1984.
She also referred favourably to Senator Hillary
Clinton, who drew 18 million votes in her unsuccessful run against
Obama for the Democratic nomination.
A self-styled hockey mom
and political reformer, Palin was also mayor of Wasilla, Alaska
(population 6,500) before she became governor of Alaska.
NAME - Sarah Heath Palin
AGE-BIRTH DATE-LOCATION — 44; born Feb. 11, 1964; Sandpoint, Idaho.
Alaska governor since December 2006; unsuccessful run for Republican
nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002; chairwoman of the Alaska
Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2003-2004; served two terms as
Wasilla mayor and two terms on city council.
EDUCATION: Graduated University of Idaho, 1987, journalism.
FAMILY: Husband, Todd; five children.
Worked as sports reporter for two Anchorage television stations; owned
with her husband a snowmobile, watercraft, ATV business from 1994-97.
Husband is a North Slope oilfield worker. She has extensive ties within
the oil industry.
Pissed off about high gasoline prices? Wait until you read this...
have dropped approx. 20% since last month, but why is gasoline prices
still so high? They're dropped a little, but not by the 20% it should
It all kind of stinks of... price fixing. Which is illegal.
in July, the U.S. House and Senate held almost 30 different hearings on
the role oil speculators bumping up the price of oil.
Here in Canada,
Canadian lawmakers have held their own two-day hearing into the cost of
gasoline. Much smaller in scope, but important because they narrowed
the focus to the price at the pump and how it was radically different
from what was happening in the oil market on a regular basis.
oil prices go up, so does gasoline prices, right? And when they go
down, gas prices go down too, right? Wrong. Frequently it seems as
thought gas prices just stay high as the various gas companies play a
shell game (yes, that was a pun) to come up with excuses to keep the
"I've been following Hurricane Gustav," says Jeff
Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, when asked about the
parliamentary committee hearing. Rubin didn't deny that speculators are
playing some role in the price of oil, but the point he was making was
that the oil industry loves to keep the prices high, and almost any
event in the media can be used as a scapegoat to boost prices. Problems
in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,
Venezuela, Nigeria, the Gulf Coast of the United States, Alaska or in
Alberta or Newfoundland Canada can all be used as an excuse to boost
oil prices. Competition from China, India and Europe can also be blamed, the weak American dollar, etc, etc.
all one big blame game for why the prices of gasoline and oil are so
high. Depending on what is happening in the news, even if it isn't
hurting oil supplies, can dramatically effect, bolster or maintain high
oil prices. The problem lately it would seem is that oil speculators
seem to have had a drought of credible news topics.
about the Bank of Canada, the House of Commons or the Finance Ministry.
Instead of playing the blame game, I would redirect our energy towards
lessening our dependence on oil," says Jeff Rubin.
major oil producing country, isn't likely to do much about it. We're
making huge profits off of the oil industry right now. High oil prices?
So much the better. We can roll in the profits.
Sure, it will hurt the prices of commodities and inflation will skyrocket, but who cares? Might as well enjoy it as it lasts.
that's the mantra the oil industry in general is going for. Keep the
oil prices high as long as possible to get as much profit out of it as
we possibly can.
Sure, as Jeff Rubin suggests, people can cut back on their oil and gasoline usage. Drive less, drive smarter (hypermiling for example) or buy a hybrid car. Its going to be many years before hydrogen cars are available anyway for mass market production.
rapid rise of oil prices and market speculation is undeniable. In the
20 years prior to 2003 there was plenty of spare oil capacity, and
nations who were members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
could influence the price occasionally by simply turning the tap on and
off. OPEC's power to control the oil prices kept risk-averse
speculators out of the market for many years. (Earlier this year OPEC
predicted oil prices might reach $170 US/barrel.)
In 2000 the
United States ended its regulation of energy markets, letting
speculators trade in oil futures without much oversight from the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In 2003 there were about 50
financial institutions trading oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Today that number is closer to 400. In 2007 billions of dollars flooded
the commodities markets after the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, turning
oil into an asset class and making oil and gold prices skyrocket due to
Every investor suddenly jumped off the mortgage
and banking bandwagon and jumped on the oil and gold bandwagon (gold
prices are less effected by geo-politics thankfully). Nothing else
could explain a barrel of oil jumping from $70 (U.S.) to $147 and back
down to $115 within a year.
U.S. legislators are looking at
putting up speed bumps that would reduce the influence speculators have
on commodity prices, including limits on the number of oil contracts an
investor can hold, and stricter disclosure requirements. If it wasn't
for the oil speculators the price of oil would likely be closer to $80
a barrel today.
There's also the Peak Oil Theory that global oil
production has reached or will soon reach its maximum and slowly
decline as oil resources become more scarce in years to come. That
theory has a lot of investors thinking positively about the future of
high oil prices...
And lawmakers and regular citizens looking at a future of skyrocketing energy costs and high gas prices. Comment (0)
Fri, Aug 29th - 3:03AM
Obama the Promise of Change and the American Dream
On August 28th 1963 the Reverend Martin Luther King
gave a memorable speech to a crowd of multi-racial, multi-ethnic,
multi-faith people who crowded into a football stadium to hear him
Why did they go? Because they wanted to witness history
in the making, to be part of something bigger than one person, to see a
man with shared values stand up for what they believe in: The American
Exactly 45 years later, Barack Obama accepted the
Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States and made
his own speech to an overcrowded stadium of 85,000+ Americans. Why are
they they there? To witness history in the making once more.
Obama's theme? The American Promise.
"America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this."
moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century,
the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same
party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will
ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this
country too much to let the next four years look just like the last
"On November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough."
of the people in the crowd are old enough that they were at both
speeches and can draw parallels between the two. But where Rev. Martin
Luther King dwelled on racism frequently, Barack Obama describes
himself as post-racial and doesn't constantly remind people of the
colour of his skin.
key points is that he is a man of change, of promise, and most
importantly, he's not like Bush. If anything he's the anti-Bush. No
more shooting first, asking questions later. No more preemptive strikes
and wars without evidence or legitimate reason. If the United States
goes to war with Iran,
it will be because Iran's leadership has become violent and needs to be
removed. Not because the White House trumps up threats with phony
documents about WMD.
Did Bush lie to the American people? Yes,
but its a bit like asking permission to do something after you've
already done it. Its too late now. Bush will be gone 4 months anyway.
Americans have paid the price and will continue to pay the price for
not paying more attention to what their leaders are doing. American
troops and finances will be bogged down in Iraq for years if not decades.
opponent John McCain meanwhile has been trying to distance himself from
the fact that he's basically a carbon copy of George W. Bush, but
without the Bush family wealth and aloofness to back him up. Does
America really want to make the same mistake a third time?
In the words of George W. Bush himself: "There's
an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in
Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. A fooled
man can't get fooled again."
As if we don't have enough lolitas in Hollywood now we also have to deal with lolita fashion bloggers...
Tavi Gevinson posts fashion-inspired photos of herself on her blog
"Style Rookie". She's part of a young generation of fashion bloggers
who display pictures of their outfits for all the world to see.
I've been really interested in fashion, and I like to make binders and
slide shows of `high-fashion' modelling and designs."
many of us she's in a world where she doesn't belong. Privacy and
predators are just two of the major reasons why we should be concerned,
but also because the fashion industry's problems with anorexia, bulimia, drugs and self-abuse are well-documented and its not something children should be exposing themselves to at a young age.
exposure concerns advocates like Parry Aftab, a lawyer who runs the
online protection site WiredSafety.org. "Parents have no idea what
their kids are doing online," Aftab says. "Most parents have no idea
what a blog is."
Concerns about Internet safety for children
have been fueled by such tragedies as the 2006 suicide of 13-year-old
Megan Meier in Missouri. She hanged herself after receiving nasty
online comments from a MySpace friend that turned out to be the fake
creation of two acquaintances and a neighbour.
United States federal government requires extra protection for Internet
users who are younger than 13, not every website follows the Children's
Online Privacy Protection Act.
Some young bloggers are taking
their own steps to protect their privacy such as cropping their faces
and keeping their identity a secret. Doing so is a safety necessity for
the young bloggers because it's a chance to keep track of their
obsession, with input from friends or other fashion fans.
blog "Style Rookie" went from a non-issue to a problem when in late
July, New York magazine's fashion blog questioned Tavi's age,
dissecting her precocious fashion sense and sophisticated taste in
music. The resulting comments ranged from suspicious to nasty, with one
reader claiming, "Anyone who actually believes she is [really] 12 is an
absolute idoit (sic)."
The Gevinsons were asleep at their vacation house in Michigan when Tavi checked her email and found the post.
next night, "She woke up, and again woke us up, and said – and this is
really heartbreaking – `I just woke up crying and I don't even know why
I'm crying.'... She slept in the bed with us that night to get back to
sleep," Gevinson says.
Such negative responses are another
reason children should be hesitant about blogging. Children are very
impressionable and the nasty responses they receive can be a major blow
to their psyche.
But Gevinson thinks kids like Tavi are stronger
than parents believe. "I have a lot of confidence in her and in most
kids, if not all kids, that they can figure it out if they have good
guidance and caring people working with them," he says.
Tavi, after taking a short break in the wake of the attention, has returned to blogging with her father's blessing.
much rather have her decide to stop if she's going to stop than to tell
her to stop," Gevinson says. "She'll grow out of it – maybe, maybe not."
Note about WebRing Experiment
We'd like to point out that during the WebRing experiment we broke several monthly records in terms of visitors to the Lilith Gallery Network. March, the first month of our experiment, set an all time record of 244,558 visitors.
We are expecting September 2008 to break March's record.
For the time being we are maintaining our spending levels on WebRing to see what happens in September.
Our experiment was fairly simple. Spend $6 more each month on promoting 12 of our webrings (we were previously spending roughly $10/month during the December/07 to February/08 period, so this boost brought it to approx. $16). The webrings in question have plenty of our own sites in them, along with the sites of friends and people with similar interests. Feel free to join a few of them:
Getting more visitors to our site would not be easy. Our experiment was being conducted during the worst time of the year for internet surfing. Most people are outside enjoying the weather and website visitor statistics in June for example are usually half of what they are in December (see last years results below). We've termed this the Summer Internet Blahs.
Despite the SIBs however, our website managed to maintain and even grow in popularity between January and July (as shown by the unique visitors column below).
Number of visits
These numbers are not directly related to WebRing however, but to provide some background info to our overall performance.
is important is how many clicks we actually get from WebRing.
February 5275. March 5840. April 7192. May 7049. June 6517.
So our visitors from WebRing definitely went up... and based on our math we get roughly 4 to 5 visitors for every penny we spend on WebRing. Pretty inexpensive compared to Google advertising.
We also received another 700 visitors from our WebRing blog during July.
We also had a theory that our WebRing boosts how many visitors we get from Google by increasing the Google PageRank, but the statistics for that are inconclusive and we have since tossed that theory out the window.
Now its important to note that WebRing is our only source of paid advertising. Everything else we get is word of mouth.
Thus what is really interesting to us the amount of visitors we received last year (when we were spending considerably less on WebRing) compared to now. Our January stats are practically identical, but the stats that follow are nearly double the previous year (and we will note that our 2006 stats are practically identical to 2007).
Month/06 Unique visitors Month/07 Unique visitors Month/08 Unique visitors Jan 2006 152047 Jan 2007 192701 Jan 2008 193871 Feb 2006 143546 Feb 2007 110354 Feb 2008 210487 Mar 2006 146436 Mar 2007 95501 Mar 2008 244558 Apr 2006 119210 Apr 2007 121334 Apr 2008 234544 May 2006 121158 May 2007 104317 May 2008 209349 Jun 2006 107664 Jun 2007 89279 Jun 2008 216998 Jul 2006 102126 Jul 2007 128495 Jul 2008 223962 Aug 2006 129330 Aug 2007 131446 Sep 2006 144425 Sep 2007 145285 Oct 2006 187960 Oct 2007 162862 Nov 2006 207401 Nov 2007 174395 Dec 2006 171026 Dec 2007 229498
So what has changed? Is our website spontaneously becoming popular through word of mouth just because we're so good at what we do (and are presumably getting better at it)? Or has promoting ourselves on WebRing really made that much of a difference?
We'd like to think both.
To the limits of our experiment we believe it is highly valuable to promote your website on WebRing, but we add a caveat to that: WebRing will only do part of the work. For this to really work your website must be QUALITY, the kind of website that will gain word-of-mouth after people browsing WebRing take notice of it.
WebRing is a great tool for promoting a quality website, but if your website is crap... then you really can't expect it to perform miracles.
The onus is on the website designer to make a website people will appreciate, enjoy and even explore (you will note that the average visitor to our website stays for approx. 5 separate pages).
If your idea of a website is baby photos and a couple of photos of your dog molesting the cat, then you probably belong on Facebook or MySpace, where that kind of thing belongs and only your friends (because seriously who else is going to enjoy looking at Junior drooling?) can see.
For a fashion or jewelry designer, an artist, a journalist, a musician, a writer or even an economist making predictions then WebRing is certainly the place to promote yourself. We've noticed that there's a lot of groups on Facebook/etc that promote such things... but nobody is actually clicking on the material and going to the websites in question.
With WebRing it is different. People do actually visit the sites and browse. The kind of people who just plain enjoy surfing it seems.
The biggest flaw with WebRing is all the abandoned webrings filled with crappy sites that have raped the auto-checker system. The staff at WebRing assures us that this problem is going to be fixed in the near future (and we've even been helping them out).
But that flaw can be worked around by simply joining large webrings with ringmanagers that do a good job of actually managing their rings. If the ringmanager is paying attention they visit each site to make certain its family friendly, that it isn't full of stupid moving GIFs, broken images, noisy midi files or too much freaking advertising, (webring manager pet peeves) and that the site in question is at least a passing grade in website design.
It is those well-organized and moderated webrings that are the ones that people actually surf, and at the same time present opportunities to promote your quality website.
So yes, its worth it to promote your website on WebRing provided you pick your webrings carefully and you put some effort into making your website so you will gain the benefits of word of mouth.
New Lilith Blog
The Lilith eZine has a new blog, and its called Lilith News. It will still have all the stuff you've come to expect from Lilith eZine's blog here on WebRing (indeed we will continue to post new blurbs about our new articles here regularly), but all of the general news and commentary we post will be on our new blog.
So if you're a fan of our news commentary, please bookmark Lilith News or add it to your blogroll.
Canada's National Do-Not-Call Registry is expected to be up and running by September 30th 2008, according to an announcement last week by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. The registry is in response to the millions of Canadians complaining to the CRTC about telemarketers.
Canadians will be able to register for the do-not-call list online or by phone, and companies that ignore the registry will be fined $15,000 per incident. (About freaking time!)
The CRTC also recently confirmed
that Canadians can use third-party websites to opt out of telemarketing
calls from organizations that are exempt under the law (ie. political parties,
national DNC contains a wide range of exemptions that will require
Canadians to individually opt out from hundreds of organizations if
they want to completely stop the unwanted calls. But in return for
the exemption, these groups are required to maintain internal
do-not-call lists (polling companies are exempt from the national DNC
and the individual opt-out approach).
Anti-telemarketing crusader Michael Geist created iOptOut.ca, a website that enables
Canadians to opt out of many exempted organizations at no cost with a
few easy clicks of the mouse. Visitors to the site are asked to enter
their phone number and to indicate
their calling preferences for nearly 150 organizations.
The problem is that Geist's website, and others like it, have deluged those organizations with millions of opt out requests, and said organizations are now scrambling, saying that the opt out system is unreasonable and that they won't be able to do business if everyone opts out.
The Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Bankers Association
sent letters to the CRTC complaining about
the iOptOut service and seeking support for their position that requests
generated from the site were invalid.
The CRTC responded to the letters with an unequivocal rejection of the
complaints, providing a clear indication that failure to honour the
opt-out requests could lead to significant penalties (thus even political groups and charities would face $15,000 fines if caught ignoring their own internal lists).
But here's the rub... how do you know they're ignoring their own lists when they are internal? How do you prove it?
The CRTC are sending out the message that the DNC registry will be enforced and that opt out procedures for charities and likewise must be respected.
But here's my prediction... the telemarketing industry in Canada is going to die, that or it will have to go underground and start operating illegally, either within Canada or operating from across the US-Canada border.
Canadians have made it clear they don't want unsolicited phone calls. In my mind it should be illegal and considered a breach of privacy.
Thus the Do-Not-Call registry is a step in the right direction... the complete destruction of the telemarketing industry... but will it be destroyed? Or will it just go underground and start operating illegally, trying to skirt CRTC rules by using hidden caller IDs, refusing to let people talk to their manager or just plain hanging up when Canadians demand to speak to a manager.
My response when I pick up the phone and get a telemarketer?
The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition The Lilith eZine Sunday Edition
Letter from the Editor
world of art is so much more than Europe and the United States,
although sometimes it certainly feels that way if you live in the USA
and so rarely see anything that is not made in America. If you open an
art history textbook in any high school in the United States the book
likely starts with Egyptian, Greek & Roman art, various stages of
European art and eventually ends with American movements. Its a very
narrow view on the history of art.
Is it the art historians that are to blame? Not so, says our
resident art historian Charles Moffat. He blames the publishing
industry for turning down more comprehensive books in favour of
smaller, more Americentric books. The school boards who choose books
too are likewise to blame. They figure students won't appreciate books
with a more comprehensive view of African, Asian, Russian and (mon
dieu!) South American art... and lest we forget Arabic, Indian,
Australia and New Zealand... oh and that place north of the USA...
So lets say we were to go looking for a book that is comprehensive,
what would you choose? Charles Moffat recommends a book called "The
Visual Arts: A History" by Hugh Honour and John Fleming. The book was
1st published in 1984, but since then has had multiple updates and
editions. The huge 960 page textbook had its 6th edition released in
2002 and is due for a 7th edition sometime in the near future.
Glancing through the book its quick to understand why Moffat
recommends the book. It has everything from prehistoric art, Islamic
art, Asian art and goes all the way up to contemporary art the late 1990s. It also has a
lot of information on printmaking, photography, sculpture and
architecture too. Almost nothing is left out or ignored. Moffat does
point out the book is missing one large aspect of 20th century art
however, and that is fantasy illustrations and paintings (fantasy art
he says isn't taken seriously by some art historians and publishers).
For this he recommends a book called "Fantasy of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History" by Randy Broecker.
is a dozen or so other books Moffat recommends, but his point is clear.
Art history books, if they are to be accurate, should also be
comprehensive. The same goes with websites; Art history websites should
endeavour be more comprehensive. Below we've added some new pages on
Estonian and Turkish artists.
Sincerely, Suzanne MacNevin Editor of the Lilith eZine
I've been invited to a free screening of Hamlet 2, which opens August 22nd.
If only I had been invited to see a free screening of the Dark Knight, or the new Indiana Jones movie... that would have been welcome. A free screening of the newest James Bond film would be nice too.
Not that I'm complaining. Free screenings are nice, but comedies based loosely on Shakespearean plays aren't really my thing.
Here's a list of movies I'd like to see:
2008 The Spirit Punisher: War Zone Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Changeling
2009 Barbarella The Pink Panther 2 Wolverine Star Trek Terminator Salvation Transformers 2 The Frog Princess (aka The Princess and the Frog) Astro Boy Samantha Darko (the sequel to Donnie Darko) The Little Fockers Fraggle Rock
Name the Artist: Win $20
For many months now I've been searching for the name of an artist I saw years ago. He paints mustangs and broncos (like the ones on the top of the image shown below), and uses an expressionistic style similar to Japanese paintings (lower left), but he also uses bright vibrant colours like Franz Marc (lower right).
After failing to find any information on the artist online I've also gone three times to reference libraries researching equine art and trying to find the name of the artist.
Nobody seems to know the name of the artist, although some people claim to remember seeing the artworks I speak of. One of his most famous paintings is of two horses racing across the plains and one of the horses trying to bite the other. Some equine art fans remember seeing such paintings before, as do some people who are into horses and gambling, but no one seems to know the name and I have yet to find a copy (digital or otherwise) of one of his horse paintings.
He is famous however, and I have seen him in American art history books in the past, but can't seem to find him now. I've even dubbed this problem the Bermuda Triangle of Horse Paintings.
The whole process of searching has frustrated me to the point that I am now offering a reward: $20 to the first person to name the artist and provide a sample image of their work (you can post your names and links to images in the comments section of this blog).
The $20 will be paid via PayPal, so please include your email address with your posting.
Greyhound passenger stabs stranger to death and beheads him
Today a passenger on a Greyhound bus near Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada stabbed a fellow sleeping passenger to death with what witnesses described as a Rambo-style army knife. The man then sliced off the dead man's head with the knife, and chased fellow passengers off the bus with the knife in one hand and the decapitated head in the other.
The bus driver (with the help of a trucker who stopped wondering what was wrong) managed to close the bus door and barricade the crazed man inside with all of the other passengers safely off the bus.
Statistically, Canada's crime rate is dropping, so this sort of thing is quite rare. Indeed the murder rate in Canada is the lowest in North America. Its not just Canada's gun laws either. Canada has long had a history of less crime than the Americans to the south.
The last time a crazed killer struck in Canada was two years ago in 2006. Kimveer Gill, the gothic self-proclaimed "angel of death" went on a shooting rampage in Montreal, injuring 19 people, but thankfully killed only one person. It could have been a lot worse.
In Kimveer Gill's case it was a clear case of suicide by cop.
But what about "Mr Headhunter" on the Greyhound bus?
The man he killed was a complete stranger who had fallen asleep listening to a mp3 player. Maybe he didn't like the man's music and just lost it?
Or did he just figure "what the heck" and go berserk? Sanity if often described as saying NO to that voice in your head that says "You know, you could kill that guy right now if you felt like it..."
But why bring a huge "Rambo" knife on the bus in the first place? That shows intent, not deciding something at the last moment and spontaneously killing a stranger.
He brought the knife, he picked a seat near the back, chose his target (a young white man in his 20s who was sleeping and posed no threat), and even took it a step farther to chop the man's head off.
Clearly crazy people can pop up anywhere. In this case I am very curious to find out whether the man had prior mental illness, a history of violence, was he recently fired from work... or did he just decide "Hey, I feel like making the news tonight... lets kill complete strangers."
I don't believe people just spontaneously go wacko. I believe in cause and effect. There has to be something that caused this man to carefully plan out this murder. He wanted to do something gruesome, and he wanted to get caught.
Which makes him not so different from Kimveer Gill, who wanted to die in a "hail of bullets". Kimveer Gill had a history of being a loner, hated society and hated authority figures like police and teachers.