Friday 27 April 2018

As you recall from my previous article, terrorists have recently in the last couple of years begun using motor vehicles to kill people. It was only a matter of time when such an attack would take place in Canada’s largest city and especially on Toronto’s busiest street—Yonge Street.

But in this incident, was it the act of a terrorist or was it the act of a mass murderer? Generally terrorists want to kill as many people that they can and are prepared to die in the process.  A mass killer on the other hand wants to kill a large number of people and he or she doesn’t want to die in the process. A terrorist kills for two reasons. The first is to achieve a goal such as power over a nation and after dying, goes to heaven where 72 virgins are waiting for him. A mass killer’s motive is revenge against his or her victims. They both do have one common result however. They bring fear to the general public.

I will refer to this incident in Toronto as a terrorist act only because it brought terror to the city. The man who committed this particular crime was not an actual terrorist although he had expressed an interest in such happenings in the past but so has everyone who is apprised of terrorism in the world.

The  vehicle attack occurred on April 23rd, 2018, when a rented van was being driven along a sidewalk and into pedestrians at approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) per hour along Yonge Street  in the North York City, which is the northern centre business district of Toronto, killing 10 and injuring 14, some critically.  

The police were informed of the incident by 911 operators at 1:25 p.m. EDT. They were told that a white Chevrolet Express van, rented from Ryder was being driven southbound on Yonge Street from Finch Avenue towards Sheppard Avenue, the distance being two kilometers (1.2 miles—a dozen blocks) and it was striking pedestrians on the sidewalk.

The driver of the van was 25-year-old Alek Minassian who was arrested  a couple of blocks just south of the crime scene at 1:32 p.m., 7 minutes after the first 911 call reporting the incident was made.  More on him later in this article.

A witness said the driver looked the victims directly in the eye during the attack and acted like he was playing a video game, trying to kill as many people as possible.        My interpretation of that statement is that the driver was purposely aiming the van directly at pedestrians wherever they were at that moment. Tis rules out an accident.

The deaths of pedestrians occurred along a 1.4-kilometre (0.87 mile) stretch of Yonge Street from Finch Avenue to Mel Lastman Square, a civic plaza on the west side of Yonge Street, with some additional injuries occurring a further 700 metres (2,300 feet) southward at the southeast corner of Yonge and Sheppard Avenue.  

Paramedics were dispatched immediately to the site and to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre that was then activated as an emergency centre. Nine people died at the scene and 15 were injured. At 8:15 p.m. The hospital reported that two persons arrived without vital signs and were pronounced dead on arrival, five were in critical condition, two serious and one in fair condition.    The Toronto Police Service later announced that a tenth person had died in the Hospital.

The Toronto police intercepted the damaged van, which was stopped about 2.3 kilometres (1.4 miles) south of where the attack began. It was then on the north sidewalk on Poyntz Avenue, just west of Yonge Street and two blocks south of Sheppard Avenue.

Toronto Police Constable Ken Lam parked his cruiser near the van and confronted the suspected driver standing near the opened driver-side door.        

During the confrontation, Minassian repeatedly drew his hand from his back pocket and pointed a cell phone toward the police officer as if it were a pistol. Officer Lam ordered Minassian to drop to the ground, while Minassian tried repeatedly to provoke the officer to kill him, saying "shoot me in the head!" when the officer warned him he may be shot.

Lam then went to his cruiser and turned off its siren. That was a good decision on his part because a loud noise will acerbate the problem and further, it is difficult to communicate with one another when a siren nearby is blowing.

As Minassian and Lam advanced towards each other, the officer recognized that the object in Minassian's hand was not a gun so he holstered his pistol, and took out his mental baton. Minassian then dropped the object from his hand, went to the ground and surrendered to Lam. Minassian was arrested uninjured at 1:32 p.m.

I would be amiss if I didn`t say that the actions of Officer Lam was exceedingly proper and brave. If this incident incurred in the United States, the perp would have been shot even before he exited the door of the van. Officer Lam wasn`t as stupid as another Toronto police officer who shot dead a streetcar passenger who was dying while lying on his belly.  

The police identified the suspect as 25-year-old Alek Minassian, who has no prior criminal history. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a student at Seneca College in North York from 2011 to 2018 and lives in Richmond Hill, a suburb north of Toronto. He was a software and mobile app developer which from reading background info on this man, he was extremely good at what he was doing in the computer world.

His former classmates at Thornlea Secondary School described him as "not overly social" and "harmless". HARMLESS? There is a misjudgment if there ever was one. In late 2017, he enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces for two months, before requesting voluntary release after 16 days of recruit training.

Following the van attack, a Facebook post attributed to Minassian circulated online which indicated he may have identified with the so-called involuntary celibate movement. The post, dated shortly before the attack began on April 23, read:       

Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the chads and stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger.” unquote.  It sounds like pure gibberish.

Incel is a combination of the words “involuntary” and “celibate,” which is a way of saying that men who join this movement feel that they are socially and especially sexually rejected by women. They are misogynists (men who hate women) who are often associated with the Men’s Rights Movement, and believe that all women are vapid and choose mates purely based on their looks. Therefore, Incels see the woman as inferior and believe that they should make themselves available to sexually gratify men. Others have linked Incels with the Pickup Artist Movement, a community of men that teaches men seduction techniques in order to have sexual success with women.

Obviously this 25-year-old terrorist was a horny young man who simply couldn’t find sexual release from women.

U.S. academic, Ross Haenfler says that Chads are attractive men, while Stacys are women who want to be with them and not with the incels.  He added that almost all Incels agree that the world of women owes them sex and that they are oppressed for being sexless men. He also said that ideally, Incels should be able to have access to women’s bodies whenever they wish without any backlash or input from women.

Elliot Rodger, who was responsible for killing six people and injuring 14 others before killing himself in a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California in 2014, is largely (albeit some argue ironically) hailed as an Incel hero. In written notes he left behind, Rodger said he wanted to “punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex” and referred to himself as a “supreme gentleman.”

Other popular terms used by Incels include “Normies” or normal people; and “Femoid,” a term that blends female with humanoid and implies they don’t view women as entirely human, but rather Androids who only want to have sex with Chads.

They also often talk about “the blackpill,” a reference to a plot line in The Matrix in which the protagonist is asked to choose between taking a blue pill (i.e. his normal life) or a red pill (the true reality). The Incels’ “blackpill” is akin to the movie’s red pill, although it paints a more bleak reality in which Incels are doomed to a world where they’ll never win.

Police are reluctant to pin Minassian’s motives on misogyny, but they have admitted that the victims are “predominantly” women. Since the attack, he has been praised on Incel forums and many Incels have called him a hero.

Meanwhile, some are drawing parallels between this in Toronto tragedy and the 1989 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, where Marc Lepine entered a classroom, told the men to leave the room, and then killed the remaining 14 women before killing himself. In a suicide note he left behind, Lepine wrote: “I have decided to send the feminists who have always ruined my life to their Maker.” Alas, it wasn’t these women who ruined his life. He ruined his life by not attempting to socialize with women.

These Incels were once found on online forums like Reddit, which often provide an uncensored platform for these groups. But Reddit banned Incels in November of 2017 saying they violated a policy against hate speech however, some are still active on the site.

Once officially booted out of Reddit, the approximately 40,000 Incels (although, as the New York Times notes, it’s unclear how many subscribe to the movement and how many followed it out of sheer curiosity) and moved over to 4Chan, a message board that’s notorious for hosting hateful rhetoric.

While many Incels hide behind the anonymity of the internet — in fact, some say that they feel safe from the Incel rebellion since they never leave their homes and therefore won’t find themselves in the crossfire of an attack whereas others have made themselves somewhat more visible (or at least audible) with podcasts about their movement.

I am not a psychiatrist nor am I a psychologist but I did study abnormal psychology at the University of Toronto for nine months as part of my five-year criminology program. I also conducted individual and group counselling with mentally disturbed inmates in a detention center. I believe that my opinions with respect to the mind of  Alek Minassian are valid.

There is no doubt in my mind that real Incels are mentally disturbed to some degree and that term also applies to Minassian. These men are suffering from some form of mental disorder.

They are suffering from a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or occur as a single episode. Many disorders have been described, with signs and symptoms that vary widely between specific disorders.

The causes of mental disorders are often unclear. Theories may incorporate findings from a range of fields. Mental disorders are usually defined by a combination of how a person behaves, feels, perceives, or thinks. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain, often in a social context. A mental disorder is one aspect of mental health. Cultural and religious beliefs, as well as social norms, should be taken into account when making a diagnosis.

Believing that all women ruin their lives because the women ignore their overtures and/or deny them sex is an abnormal way of thinking drives these people into hating women. Further, the Incels don’t blame themselves for how the women treat them which is clearly a form of mental illness. As a direct result of this illness; their lives are dysfunctional.

This kind of illness has the fundamental characteristics of a person who influences his or her thoughts and behaviors across situations and in time. they may probably be considered disordered if judged to be abnormally rigid and maladaptive.

 A number of different personality disorders  include those  people who are sometimes classed as being "eccentric", such as paranoidschizoid and schizotypal personality disorders; types that have described as "dramatic" or "emotional", such as  being antisocialborderlinehistrionic or narcissistic.

There is no doubt in my mind that Alek Minassian is a very mentally disturbed man. However, he definitely is NOT insane so he can’t use the defence of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for the ten charges of first degree murder he is facing.  Hatred of woman and being angry at them is by itself not a valid defence for what he did to those persons he drove the van into.  
 An accused who wishes to successfully raise the defence of insanity must meet the requirements of a two‑stage statutory test.  The first stage involves characterizing the mental state of the accused.  The key issue to be decided at trial at this stage is whether the accused was suffering from a mental disorder in the legal sense at the time of the alleged events.  The second stage of the defence provided for in section 16 in the Criminal Code concerns the effects of the mental disorder.  At this stage, it must be determined whether, owing to his or her mental condition, the accused was incapable of knowing that the act or omission was wrong. 

In my opinion, Alek Minassian knew what he was doing was wrong and for this reason, he was and still is capable of distinguishing between right and wrong and was therefore technically sane when he drove the van into those pedestrians.

Any lawyer who take on his case knows from the get go that he or she has a losing case. The evidence of him driving the van into his victims is undisputable.  I seriously doubt that that the defence of diminished responsibility will be successful so why would a lawyer take the case? Notoriety.

As to the sentence—natural life in prison is what this man is facing. The sentencing law re first degree murder changed several years ago. Nowadays, if anyone is guilty of more first degree  murders than just one, his sentences of 25 years in prison results in further sentences for the additional convictions of first degree murder since they will have to be served in prison  consecutively.  That being the case, this mass killer will be convicted of ten counts of first degree murder and  the sentences will total 250 years in prison.  Since he is currently 25 years old—officially he will be eligible for release in the year 2268. Suppose he lives to be a hundred years of age. He will have served 75 years in prison. That will be in the year 2093. I am currently 84 years of age and when I think back 75 years—I was just nine years old. Seventy-five years covers a great deal of happenings in a person`s life. My youngest grandchild who is six at the time of this writing will be an old man of 81 years by the time Alek Minassian is released from prison.

This young mass killer blew his life away simply because as a young man, he couldn`t get a nice young woman to give hm some form of sexual release and subsequently he took his revenge on Society in general and specifically on the victims he left behind when he drove into them on that Toronto sidewalk.  Was his act Stupid? Oh Yea!  Was he a mean evil man? Absolutely.

As an aside, many years ago in the United Sates, a killer who murdered three people was sentenced to a thousand years imprisonment for each of the three murders he committed. He appealed stating that a three thousand year sentence for three murders was ridiculous. The Court of Appeal hearing his argument agreed. Subsequently the court reduced his sentence for the three murders to fifteen hundred years.  Needless to say, he is still in prison. 

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