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Wednesday, August 21 Front Page >> Random Rants >> A lament about Reena Virk.
A LAMENT ABOUT REENA VIRK.

May 15, 1999, 4:05pm

Yep, it's been a while.

Okay, so what have I been doing in the past month since I put up the last rant? (Has it been a month? Is it that long? Maybe not, but if your name is Dave, you know you want it, bad).

Well first, I gotta say that my earstwhile online buddy and fellow coffee hound has got me fully addicted to eBay. I hate that guy now. As if the cigs and the coffee weren't bad addictions enough.

Lemme get some other quickies out of the way before I launch. What's been goin' on... hrmm. Well, it's been the busiest month for my business ever. Seriously. At one time I had 6, count 'em, six projects on the go. Just last week I logged over 80 hours of work. I've been staring at my monitors so long that I'm starting to look like that television-eye kid in the old Dennis the Menace books. (no, not Dennis... it was a sort of "spin off" comic that had nothing to do with Dennis, but was drawn by Hank Ketchem). Oh yeah... five of those six projects were those types that actually make me money. Wait a sec... no, they don't make me much money... they make heaps of cash for my subs.

In other news, I got a Rocky to go with my Silvia. I decided, what the hell, it will look good beside the Silvia, and heck, $200 US isn't that much to pay for something that should last 20 years or more. Rocky? Silvia? What the hell am I talking about?

Reena Virk
Okay, rant time. I actually tried writing this three times now, but each time it went on and on and on and on and on... you know the score. This time, (fourth!), I hope to get my thoughts concise.

Anyone out there heard the name Reena Virk? A search on cnn.com might not turn up much, but visit the National Post to get the scoop (type in Reena Virk in the search window, and you'll get a ton of stories).

Anyway, in a nutshell (with no disrespect intended to her memory), Virk was a 14 year old girl who was beaten to within an inch of her life by as many as 9 teen girls. Then, as she stumbled away, near death, she was followed by a pair of completely soulless people who finished off the work the others started by beating her for 15 minutes more, and finally dumping her body into a river.

The details are pretty gruesome. While the gang attack happened, many other kids sat idly by watching, and in some cases cheering on. While Virk was being beat by the large group, attempts were made to set her hair on fire. Several attempts to burn her skin with cigarettes were made. She was repeatedly kicked in the skull as she pleaded for help. The gang enjoyed their work, and the crowd enjoyed the show. When Virk was finally let go, she stumbled away, across a bridge only to be attacked by two people, a teen boy and girl, and beaten for an additional 15 minutes. She was stripped of her clothes, and she was killed by them.

All of this was done because of Virk was a misfit. An overweight, not-so-attractive teen who desperately wanted to fit in.

There are several things about this case that offend me to no end. First is the inhumanity of the teen girls who initiated the beating. The details of the case show that Virk was actually lured to the beating, with promises of a "cool party, and you should come!" by some of the assailants.

The second thing that just makes me sick to my stomach is the crowd reaction.

The third thing is the final minutes of her life.

I'm not that old. And I used to get into fights. I used to say that I never started a fight, but I'd try to finish one. Actually I probably did start a few. Fights could get extremely dirty. But a decade ago, 15 years ago, fights were generally one on one. Swarmings did sometimes happen, but it was usually the luser drug crowd types who did that kind of shit, and when swarmings happened, people almost always stepped in to stop them. I'd even been swarmed once myself (a very memorable night at a place called "On Tap" in Ottawa), and the moment it happened, my own friends and complete strangers were in there grabbing the guys off of me. No one respected a "swarmer" because they were the biggest kind of coward, and everyone, even the swarmer wannabes knew it.

But these days, swarmings are commonplace. You constantly hear about kids getting swarmed at malls for their jackets, shoes, cd players, etc. I've visited websites that talk about swarming as if it's the cool thing to do. "Stick with my pack, move with my pack, attack with my pack" was one memorable quote I read. Hell, there was even testimony in the Virk trial that people laughed at the events. And in a further show of callousness, for days afterwards dozens of people at the high school everyone went to knew about the murder, but didn't say word one to the cops.

I blame it on something I've talked about before online. It's this bullshit, politically correct, pass on the responsibility attitude towards parenting we've been seeing over the past 15 years.

The fact is, many teenagers today do not know what respect, responsibility, or discipline is. I may sound like some crusty old guy when I say this (and I'm not that old), but it's true.

Too many kids these days expect their parents to buy them a cell phone when they are 14. Too many kids expect their parents to buy them a car when they are 16. Too many kids these days know that if they get pissed off enough at their parents for any form of discipline and responsibility training, they can cry wolf to their guidance counselor at school, and guess what - joe detective (or jane social worker) shows up at the home to investigate child abuse.

A good example of this can be seen anytime you go to a mall. Especially in the evening. Take a look at all the kids with cell phones, using up their free minutes. Take a look at the cars they are driving. Ten years ago, only the spoiled brat rich got these kinds of toys (okay, back then it was pagers and cars). These days, because parents are either unwilling or unable to actually discipline their children, they figure they can bribe some good vibes out of them by buying them fancy baubles... whether they can afford them or not. And to even suggest these 14, 15, 16 year old actually get a job? Get serious!

Two days ago I was described as "jealous" when I voiced this opinion. Jealousy might have had something to do with this feeling back when I was sixteen, seeing the rich boys driving in their dadbought cars. Today it isn't jealousy. It's just a complete lack of respect on my part towards these spoiled, not so rich kids.

I see three real problems in the raising of kids in the 90s. Number 1 - political correctness has all but outlawed any form of parental corporal punishment. Number 2 - parents these days do not teach their kids responsibilities - when you give your child a car for maintaining a B+ average, then pay his insurance, and give him a gas credit card, you aren't teaching them responsibility - you're teaching them that if they put their hand out long enough, they can get what they want. Number three - kids today have no sense of responsibility.

Part of it has to do with society as a whole. When I was 11, I had a paper route. How many kids today do you know that have one? In my part of the world, the paper is delivered at around 4 am, and kids are not hired to deliver the daily papers. In fact, the general trend in society is that kids shouldn't work at all while in school... they should "concentrate on their studies" (personal note - in my own observations, this attitude has struck because far too many parents like wearing a badge that says "my kid got a supah high score on the SAT or whatever).

The lack of responsibility comes from the first two problems as well. That lack responsibility leads to a lack of ethics. That lack ethics leads to a near total inability to know what is right and what is wrong. Teenagers have almost always had a sense of invulnerability to most things (hell, I felt that way at 16), but now many also feel they are untouchable by society's rules and regulations.

It is these types of kids who could watch a person like Reena Virk get beat senseless. It is these types of kids who could participate in beating her senseless. It is also these types of kids who could kill her so callously.

I've been thinking about the Virk case for a very long time now. I still think that the participants are the most inhuman of human beings and should be locked up for life (which won't happen as most of the assailants are young offenders and will have their records wiped clean when they become adults). I also blame the parents and their little social mindsets. I'm a firm believer that when a teen does a violent crime, the parent should pay a price as well as the teen. Of course, this will never happen, at least in my country.

Oh yeah - something else that has been coming out of the trial:

Many of the girls (who beat Virk up) were from supposedly upstanding, respectable families. At least one of the assailants was owned a car. Several observers owned cars, yet no one tried to bring Virk to a hospital. And many cell phones were at the scene (according to police reports), yet no one called 911.

No one cared.

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