From: thenorthbaybay.ca staff
Editor’s Note: the following posts are all real, locally sourced comments. As of this November 29th, 2020, all postings are still up and readable on The North Bay Neighbourhood Watch group.
NORTH BAY – November saw rallies been held in protest of the perceived ‘catch and release’ tactic used in dealing with repeating criminal offenders. In response, the users of the North Bay Neighbourhood Watch have taken a carefully chosen, well-balanced stance: the solution is cold-blooded murder.
“I’d be stomping the guys head into the ground,” comments one member on a post about theft. “Guy would be begging me to call the cops if I found him in my house.”
Murderous Revenge Fantasies Abound
These troubling comments are fed into by other members who are using the Facebook group to role-play their murderous fantasies. Some wish to curb stomp people, others hypocritically take advantage of the same system they are angry at to propose murder, and others endorse police brutality.
Commenters have encouraged bodily mutilation, with others adding animal abuse into the mix. There is of course the regular stream of wishful vigilante justice fantasies, elaborate ‘Home Alone’ style traps, and the Neighbourhood Watch’s continual obsession with baseball bats.
While their hands are tied in cases where sufficient (non-hearsay) evidence is lacking, Police Sergeant Jeanette Lawrence assures the public that there are other systems the police are implementing to reduce criminal activity in the area.
“We may see more supervision in the community, we may see more assisted services. I know you’re frustrated, but can we talk about that serial killer roleplaying shit in those comment sections?
“I know it’s easy to brush these posts off as aggressive fantasies that no one would act on, but there’s a strong link between frequently entertaining violent fantasies and engaging in violent actions.”
“I’m sure some will say that these posts are not representative of The North Bay Neighbourhood Watch, but I’d challenge them to take five minutes and read the comments. You’ll find them, unchallenged, on nearly every post related to theft or vandalism.”
“Finally, there will be those that argue that the failure of the justice system is what’s driving these reactions. I want to stress that desiring justice for wrongdoing is healthy. Wishing for mutilation, pain, and death is not. You can try to spin that however you like, but it is not natural to fantasize about setting bear traps, breaking someone’s legs, shooting a thief with a shotgun, or ‘finishing off’ someone with a baseball bat.”
“It’s disheartening to see North Bay citizens – people you’ve stood next to in a line or said hello to on the street – openly call for torture, mutilation, and murder,’ continues Lawrence.
“I’m sure some are expecting a punchline at the end of this article. There isn’t one. Campaign for justice. Write your MP. Protest. Do what you can to change the system. But if the idea of buying a baseball bat and standing by your door in the off-chance you might get to catch a thief and break their legs excites you, then you’re part of the problem – not the solution.”