An employee of the Grant Memorial Church, of Winnipeg Canada, identified by the church’s pastor as a quiet person who seemed perfectly normal, stabbed a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus fifty or sixty times, beheaded the passenger, and ate parts of his body, last Wednesday, as other passengers apparently sat helpless. The church custodian carried the head of the victim, whom he did not know, up and down the aisle of the bus, taunting police and passengers. He also saved some of the body parts in a plastic bag, presumably to eat later.

He is being evaluated for psychiatric abnormality.

BBC Edmonton sun

Greyhound is apparently trying to erase all vestiges of a recently ended ad campaign with the motto “you’re never heard of bus rage” or words to that effect.

Comments

  1. #1 llewelly
    August 6, 2008

    Obviously, his fellow passenger was Jesus.

  2. #2 Virgil Samms
    August 6, 2008

    Maybe he became accustomed to a cannibal lifestyle by indoctrination of a cannibal cult.

  3. #3 gingebeard
    August 6, 2008

    Calling him a crazy church guy is unfair. He is definitely mentally unstable, and has been begging to be killed since having done this atrocity.

    He made no claims linking his actions to religion in anyway, he is sick, he knows he is sick. I hope he gets the treatment he obviously needs (he was in psychiatric care for four days prior to this action). He will be tormented for all of the sane days of his life, over what he did; but it had nothing to do with his faith.

    This is a true horror, but to link it to religion is false, and belittles those atrocities that are performed in the name of god(s).

    We should have compassion for this sick sick man, I cannot even begin to understand how in his sane moments he feels, but let us not confuse the issues.

    He is sick, mentally unstable, needs help and treatment. He, in his sickness performed and unimaginable act, and asks to die so that he doesn’t have to face what he has done, showing he (now) understands his actions.

    By all means attack the religious for their hypocrisy for their lies, for what they do wrong, but don?t paint this act with the same brush.. unless you wish to be seen as totally biased.

  4. #4 Mr_G
    August 6, 2008

    Make that “former employee”. He worked there six months, then quit, according to the linked story.

    That said, this is old, sensational, and terribly sad. To imply that his involvement with the church had something to do with his behavior seems crass. Not the sort of thing I’d feel comfortable crowing about. YMMV.

  5. #5 pough
    August 6, 2008

    gingebeard, I’m assuming this is being done to satirize the way (some) Christians tend to point to atheism as a reason for senseless killing and Christianity as the cure.

  6. #6 J-Dog
    August 6, 2008

    He IS a crazy church guy. Get over it.

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    There’s also the fact that the media thought this was relevant. Why would a reporter ever go to someone’s clergy to ask whether the person is rational? Yet they do it every time.

  8. #8 gingerbeard
    August 6, 2008

    No satire, this man is obviously sick and deserves compassion.

    As Mr_G points out Greg’s title implies the church (religion) has something to do with this. It doesn’t.

    The title could just have easily been wacked out immigrant looking for food harvests passengers on the bus.

    Or take any slant you want, my points are
    1 the guy is (was) seriously mentally ill
    2 we should have compassion for him, he is overwhelmed (in his current sanity) with guilt and disgust at his own actions
    3 this had NOTHING to do with religion, and linking it to religion just makes Greg look like he will do anything to attack religion; which I donít think he intends

    This is an easy pot shot at religion, but it is unfair, they do more then enough in the name of their god(s) we donít need to look for reasons to tar the religious.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2008

    gingebeard: Interesting that you make the link between this man’s insanity, his religion, and his cannibalism. I had not explicitly made that link in my post.

    But obviously, there is an historically deep and disturbing link between cannibalism, religiosity, the Christian church in particular, and yes, insanity. I do hope the authorities are looking for other victims and checking out the church as well (just in case).

    Old? Why is this old? Are we only interested in things that happened in the last few hours? (If so, this is not old, as his arraignment is being reported as a current headline). Also, please don’t mistake this blog for a news site!

    Yes, there is cynicism here. It is true that if this guy was known to be an atheist, there would be a connection made. Again and again and again. In this case, hypocrisy means ignoring his christian connection.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2008

    Ginger: Our comments crossed in the mail…

    I do not intent to link this specific act to religion. But I do raise the possibility that there is a link between crazy beliefs and crazy actions, and there could be a link in this case. The link will never be investigated because of the widespread cultural bias that religion = good.

    You are claiming that this has NOTHING to do with religion. How do you know that?

  11. #11 Orac
    August 6, 2008

    I do not intent to link this specific act to religion

    Bullshit.

    That’s exactly what you intended. Otherwise, why would you have used the title for this post that you did? “Crazy Church Guy”? You’re not fooling anyone.

    But I do raise the possibility that there is a link between crazy beliefs and crazy actions, and there could be a link in this case.

    Ah, yes. You “raise the possibility” that religion was involved. Not that you in any way believe that religion was behind this. Oh, no.

    Your words are obvious weasel words with plausible deniability built in. Very nice.

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Orac, since when does Greg use weasel words when he can push a statement OTT and watch the fallout of people taking it strictly seriously instead? If you want to attack his rhetorical style, attack the right one.

  13. #13 gingerbeard
    August 6, 2008

    Hi Greg,

    Fair enough I let my own bias from being around the mentally ill for much of my life influence my opinion and erroneously state it has nothing to do with religion.

    Until the full report is published, I will step back and allow he might have, in his insane state, believed he was acting in accordance with gods will.. or some such crap, however nothing to date has been reported to indicate this. Just that he cut the guys head of and ate part of him.

    I agree with you that most religion is filled with outlandish claims and ďcrazyĒ shit. But there is a difference between ďcrazyĒ and mentally ill. Or do you also advocate that violent video games encourage violence, that watching a superman movie (or the matrix 2) encourages people to believe they can fly. It is the same argument as crazy religious beliefs are linked to (all) crazy actions. If he was screaming about how god told him do it to save the world, then I couldnít disagree with you, but other then the fact he used to work for the church ( who likely sponsored his immigration), and is religious, there is no link here.

    Like I said, hungry immigrant tired of cat, tries a little greyhound meatÖ.

    Twist the stereotypes however you want if all you are doing is being reactionary. And linking this action to religion is biased, and shows a real strong bias against religion to the point you will claim a link where there is Ė so far- none mentioned.

    Iím not going to defend religion, I couldnít, but as printed in the newspapers in Canada so far, there is no link between this mans actions and religion. There are however links between his actions and mental illness.

    (And I didnt make the link between religion and canabalisim, that was another person)

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2008

    Orac, you pseudonymous twit, I’m sorry that you are unable to make the distinction or understand the nuance. Maybe if you were not pseudonymous you would feel more responsibility to think about what you read and write before you make such a fool of your pseudonym!!!!

    I honestly do not know what this guy’s story is (other than the fact that he is an obvious nut job … and sorry if that sounds unkind. But he did murder, behead, and eat somebody on the bus). There does not need to be a religious connection. However, he IS connected to a church.

    Had PZ Myers eaten a fellow passenger on a greyhound bus, almost the entire Christian world would be on their bloody feet screaming “Atheist! Atheist! Drive a stake into the Atheist!”

    My point is obvious. Jeesshh…

  15. #15 laurisa
    August 6, 2008

    i’ve been living in the bush too long. Ginger’s plea for compassion doesn’t even leave a blip on my radar. Instead, I shrugged my shoulders and really had a flash of the thought, ‘so what, the guy will be dead by morning,’ that’s just how you take care of things around this area of the world.

    I really have been here too long. because i can see the point. how is society going to help this man? rehabilitate him? to what? a born again christian? and why? why would a society ‘save’ a person to their standards? Other societies, a man faces the consequences for what he’s done by the victim’s loved ones.

    hmm..lemme think…killing someone. well, i’d damn sure do it in the society that i need to ‘confess my sins’ or whatever shit they dictate and ‘be saved’, then in a society where after slaying someone, i’d be hunted, tortured, and finally the shroud of death brought on by loved ones of the dead.

  16. #16 JoJo
    August 6, 2008

    Laden: Orac, you pseudonymous twit

    You capitalized on a tragedy. It was base. And then you call out those who criticize you for doing so for posting pseudonymously? Pretty weak shit.

  17. #17 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Yeah, L, but that’s also how we get the kind of neverending civil conflicts that tear countries apart. When everyone is close to someone who’s died, everyone is due some kind of vengeance, and no one is safe. Where you are, that doesn’t change the situation much now, but it means the violence would likely ripple on even if the corruption were rooted out.

    I do agree this guy isn’t likely to be around long, though. From the way he’s talking, he’ll see to that if he can’t persuade someone else to.

  18. #18 gingerbeard
    August 6, 2008

    Laurisa

    As Gandalf put it

    Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo?

    Compassion is supposed to be an aspect of civilization.

    The guy is sick, not didling choir boy sick, but from what has been reported, truly mentally ill.
    But then maybe you are right, why show compassion to the mentally ill.
    Eye for an eye– hmmm religious tenent–

    Hope where you live you donít have an active army, say participating in any UN actions, after all fair is fair, your solders may kill people in another landÖ and then they should come over and kill your people, and lets just keep it going till we are all dead.

    How about coming out of the bush and seeing that sometimes the correct response to an unjust death is not more killing.

  19. #19 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Gingerbread, Laurisa is currently in lockdown to keep from being captured and killed as part of the local troubles. She’s seen a bit much lately, any very small part of which could make a quick and dirty solution look good. Friendly warning: Chill.

  20. #20 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Sorry. I meant Gingerbeard. My fingers got away from me.

  21. #21 laurisa
    August 6, 2008

    Civilization was defined by whom? who gets to dictate to me what other ‘aspects’ constitute a civilization?

    sorry the guy’s sick. sorrier yet for the family of the dead son/father/brother/uncle/husband. is that the compassion you are soliciting? got me there.

    The last paragraph is for you to understand it is not an eye for an eye. It’s more like natural law.

    The soldiers where i live, dear gingerbeard, sometimes protect me, sometimes will not. They kill people like me, they kill people like themselves (not other soldiers, mind you), they kill to defend, they kill for revenge.

    How’s about YOU enter the bush and tear away the curtains of the picket white fence you are mystified by? Fear for your life every once and again. It sure the fuck opened up MY eyes.

  22. #22 laurisa
    August 6, 2008

    Why Mz. Z…you were all over that one. Even me, chill. Thanks!!!

  23. #23 Doug
    August 6, 2008

    There is a religious connection. The christians claim that their worship of myths causes the participants to be good or at least better, and that society gains from believing in the myths.

    If people want to claim to be christian fine but, there is nothing “better” about having “faith”. Claiming that christianity is better is delusional and/or dishonest.

  24. #24 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Heh. The warning wasn’t about you, L. You’ve got one or two people who are doing the tiny bit they can to watch out for you, you know. Somebody provides a target they can hit from here, even in all innocence… :)

  25. #25 laurisa
    August 6, 2008

    Stephanie: I missed your above comment, and you are right. Infliciting violence will only perpetuate it, as demonstrated around here. There’s tribal wars that have been going on forever over…a cow…or whatever. doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me, but if I were native to this land i bet it would.

    I was surprised at my reaction to the story. This is how desensitized to death and killing i have become. I didn’t mean to sound an advocate for this lifestyle, I was merely shocked at how much sense it now makes after my time here. And it is shocking. I can’t even count the people i knew once and are gone today…because I quit counting.

  26. #26 gingerbeard
    August 6, 2008

    Hey L

    If you see the violence of where you live as preferable to a society where you donít need fear for you life, then I have no argument for you. Personally I donít want to fear for my life at the hands of soldiers or others. Thankfully I do live someplace where I donít have that fear, and having that fear is not a virtue.

    As for Natural lawÖ bull shit. Most animals donít kill unnecessarily. Most territorial fights over resources, over mates, etc are non lethal. Just because humans donít know how to back off doesnít make it right or a natural law. Itís the opposite, itís a twisting of nature.

    Maybe your eyes have been opened, doesnít sound like you understand what you see.

    Thanks Stephanie, I can defend myself, but I do appreaciate the attempt.

  27. #27 sailor
    August 6, 2008

    You all jumped on Greg so hard you missed the ending which was hilarious:
    “Greyhound is apparently trying to erase all vestiges of a recently ended ad campaign with the motto “you’re never heard of bus rage” or words to that effect.”

    You can either take tragedy seriously or you can laugh at it. The latter is more likely to lower blood pressure.

  28. #28 laurisa
    August 6, 2008

    Gingerbeard:
    1) Never said I preferred it. i said it opened my eyes. You (apparently) live in a society where you put out pleas to pity a person that DID kill unnecessarily. Which brings me to
    2) Where I’m living is a large contributor to where you get your precious resource of oil from. Killing is largely done over resources. Strike one, I am not anywhere in the middle east.
    You are correct, I knew when I hit the send button natural law would be misinterpretted. Natural meaning to those that live it. Human, yes. Although you sound wise enough to know that indeed animals do and will kill for territories. Seems to me a bunch of species got it figured out, hence the lone male.

    Tell me dear friend, is it if I don’t understand what I am seeing that you can interpret if for me? Please remember, most humans don’t live as good as you, and somewhere down the line people suffer because of it. Now tell me what I don’t understand about what I see.

  29. #29 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2008

    Laurisa literally has placed her life in danger so that the rest of us can have our lifestyle. Well, she’s doing it because it is her job, and she gets paid well, but she could be doing other things.

    Ginger: I don’t agree with your argument defining the difference between one kind of crazy and another. I’m not going to disagree with it either. I think these things are complex. If the Nintendo Game tells someone to go out and kill everybody and they do it, that is probably the kind of crazy that the guy who eats someone on the bus is experiencing, but who knows, maybe there are differences. Does this mean the Nintendo game is at fault? Probably not. Is widespread wholesale misogynous violence seeping into every aspect of our middle class youth culture a problem? Of course it is. I’m an anthropologist. I have lived among violent cultures and pacifistic cultures, and in the violent cultures, they teach the kids all about violence and how cool it is, and how it is linked to their identity. In pacifistic cultures they do it very differently.

    There is also the phenomenon of culture-bound psychiatric disorder that can relate to, but not be caused by, such things. This guy in Canada may have thought the person sitting next to him was trying to implant an Intel Chip into his head. 10,000 years ago he might have thought he had a magic, evil obsidian chip. In either case, the guy who stabs the other guy 60 times and eats him is not normal in a way that matters. (I don’t think anyone is disagreeing on that).

    Yes, Doug, you are absolutely right about the religious connection at the societal and cultural level.

    Sailor: Yea, that part is hysterical. Even the concept of “bus rage” itself … This is absolutely perfect fodder for the late nights…. perfect!

  30. #30 gingerbeard
    August 6, 2008

    I have been trying to avoid being disrespectful of Greg, or anyone one here, after all I am a guest. But if Greg is going to argue from authority:

    ďI’m an anthropologist.Ē

    Then I have to challenge the quality of that authority, hopefully politely.

    If you cannot see the difference between the actions of a mentally ill person and irrational (crazy) ideas within a religion or culture, and simplistically determine there is little or no difference (or choose to avoid making that distinction) I simply cannot respect your authority as an anthropologist. Creating the link between his action and religion based on nothing more than the fact he has a religion and your bias is exceptionally poor science.

    I know this was not the point you were addressing in stating your authority, but if you are going to argue from that position, then your statements are held to that standard. The society in which this man lives in is pacifistic, he was not living someplace where beheadings are considered appropriate. There has been no evidence put forth to date that his actions were related to his religion. There have been statements in the paper addressing the fact he may be mentally ill and just exited psychiatric treatment.

    You asserted in the title of this posting and again within the comments that there is a link between this manís actions and religion. There is no support at this time for this assertion and it only signifies your willingness to attack religion unjustifiably. I think religion is a crock load of crazy with some good messages in it. And I have no problem with people attacking the religious for the wrong they do and harm they create, heck even just attacking religion for its existence arguing it is detrimental is fine. But linking this manís actions to religion is just prejudice and ignorance. He is (most likely) mentally ill.

    And yes Laurisa I do live (I hope) in a society that can have pity for the actions of a mentally ill person acting out of character and unfortunately killing another person. If he was in a state to have chosen this action or the choices that lead to a killing i.e. he was a drunk driver, then no I would not have much pity. But what has been published shows he is as appalled by his actions as we are, and if he is mentally ill his actions may have been out of his control. I am biased from having worked with and lived with the mentally ill, and have seen how their mind betrays them. But this is illness not religion.

    If you would like to debate/discuss this more with me Iíll provide my email addy to Stephanie Z as she seems a very companionate person, or Greg can provide it to you, but I donít think it is fair to use Gregís blog to continue our personal discussion.

  31. #31 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2008

    Gingerbeard, if you want to discuss this, you can do it out in the open. That’s exactly why a post like this is here. On the other hand, if all you want to do is condescend to my friends as less enlightened beings, I’m not particularly interested.

    For the record, I’m completely with Greg that if this had been an atheist, the religious would have had a field day. Compassion doesn’t keep me from undercutting their “religion is the source of all that is good in the world” message any more than it keeps them from trying to beat me with it. Sure, religion might have helped this guy–as long as it was paired with a nice regimen of meds.

    I also think that mainstream religious imagery is filled with so much torture porn that in that culture, someone whose grasp on reality is dangerously slipping away can be harder to spot, both from the inside and the outside. So discussing someone’s religious traditions, while probably premature for this guy, has a claim to relevance.

    Nobody is denying that this guy is mentally ill, despite your protestations. If anything, we’re taking that for granted and moving beyond it.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    August 7, 2008

    Ginger, let me clarify a few points for you.

    You are out of line with this “argument from authority” song and dance. You appear to have confused or muddled the idea of “argument from authority.” You know how you keep implying that you know something about the mentally ill because you have some (unspecified) experience? Is that auguring from authority or from experience and knowledge? Why is it that your experience with the mentally ill is relevant to this discussion but my years of experience and intensive study in anthropology is not? Go look up “appeal to authority” in Wikipedia, read, learn.

    I was not referring in any way shape or from to Crazy Canadian guy in reference to video games etc. Go back and read your comments. You told me that you figured I was thinking certain things about such issues … a side track from the point of the post above (which is totally OK of course) and I responded to that. Why are you linking my comments about youth steeped in a culture of violence to Crazy Canadian Guy?

    Finally, again, and I’ll say it real slow so that even you and Orac can understand ….

    Just as Stephanie (who gets it) has indicated above (and sailor and others): I am pushing the point that churchiness is linked to goodness and non-churchiness is linked to immorality or lack of ethics. I am offering a synical slap in the face for the drones that believe this. As I have said above, other than the fact that he is obviously a nut job (and this may have complexities and subtleties that we do not see or know about) I have not made a direct link between CCG and this church or this religion. This distinction is mean to be subtle and provocative.

  33. #33 Jason Failes
    August 7, 2008

    I suppose we should have an emergency eucharist right next to the fire extinguisher to prevent these kinds of impulses in Christians on long trips.

    [/satire/sorta...]

  34. #34 Virgil Samms
    August 7, 2008

    I was the first one here to draw an explicit link between the criminal act of cannibalism on the Greyhound bus and the ritual cannibalism at the heart of the Christian eucharist (ergo “cannibal cult”). I am also pseudonymous. I demand my share of flames.

  35. #35 Stephanie Z
    August 7, 2008

    But Virgil, you ask for them so often we have to ration.

  36. #36 Michael Bo
    August 8, 2008

    I just lost all respect I have for Orac. What an innane comment! But, perhaps he has found god…or a tasty cracker