I don't know the truth of what happened to Rehtaeh Parsons. When I first heard the account of the teenage girl who was allegedly the victim of gang-rape, then bullying and pictures of her being raped shared on the Internet, I was as outraged as anyone else.
But outrage based on one-sided accounts is not a substitute for truth and justice needs to be based on facts and evidence, rather than feelings and subjective accounts. So does good journalism.
Christie Blatchford wrote a column in the National Post yesterday that challenged the narrative that was the first most of us heard about the Parsons tragedy. It was based on investigation and it if it is correct, it supported the reasons that charges were never laid in the case.
Blatchford reported how the alleged rape may have been consensual. That Parson's story was unreliable and changed from account to account, and that based on the law, the photograph of her that was distributed and did not show her face or any identifiable part of her, did not constitute distribution of child pornography.
A virtual, national lynch mob had assembled to try, convict, and given the opportunity, execute the alleged criminals. It was led by the self-promoting egotist Warren Kinsella, who actually tried to entice the group of illegal anarchist hackers known as Anonymous to take vigilante action.
With the revelations in Blatchford's column, just where the truth lies is murky and impossible to define.
So, with their narrative challenged, Kinsella and other hysterics, who know little more about the truth then things they've read from Parson's parents' facebook postings, have turned their wrath onto Blatchford. Referring to her as "the pro-police, leftie-and-native-hater at Postmedia" he makes absurd comparisons of her with the fascist Ezra Pound.
If drunken boys had had sex with a drunken girl who asked them to, then why would it be rape for the boys but not the girl? That question hasn't been asked much and nowhere has anyone attempted to answer it.
Christie Blatchford was courageous in examining and challenging the persecution of accused who have been convicted soley on opinion and conjecture. It's the type of courage we've seen in the past from journalists like H. L. Mencken and lawyers like Clarence Darrow.
The tiny minds of deplorable individuals like Kinsella appear so threatened by the possibility that they may have been wrong that they have to lash out at anyone who suggests it. Such behaviour is despicable.
Rehtaeh Parsons deserves justice. The harassment she was subjected to that led to her self-inflicted death was deplorable and that is something that should be addressed. But the boys accused of raping Parsons deserve justice too, be it punishment if they are guilty or vindication if they are not.
One thing is certain. That justice isn't going to come from anything said or done by self-serving Internet pundits like Warren Kinsella. It is going to come from the courts and the justice system, and that's where the real work on this matter needs to be done.