Compassion and judgement

On April 28, a terrible car crash occurred in Surrey, BC, in which an entire carload of people (all part of the same family) were killed.

The driver of the other vehicle, which by all accounts had to have been going at a very fast speed, was hospitalized. Immediately, people began speculating about the cause of the crash. Not just speculating, but rushing to judgement. He was speeding and running red lights because he was reckless, or drunk, or stupid. Whatever. People felt justified in condemning him without any actual knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the accident.

The man died a week after the crash while being operated on for a brain tumour that no one, including the man himself, knew he had. Blood tests have since shown that he was not under the influence of anything at the time of the crash, and now the realization that this brain tumour could have contributed to the crash is making people rethink their earlier judgements.

Why, as a species, do we do this? Make snap judgements about people and situations based on our (usually very limited) knowledge at the time? This is how lynch mobs begin, you know.

The short of it is that we don’t ever know the full story behind any event. We’ll never know what crap is or has been going on in someone’s life up to that point, why someone might be driven to do something.


Shaken, not stirred

Haven’t felt a significant earthquake myself here in Ottawa since the one I wrote about in June 2010.

Was trying to get a nap in after working all night and felt this vibration go through the springs of my mattress, like a huge truck convoy going past the house. When it went on too long, I decided to get up and check online. Twitter for the win!

According to the Earthquakes Canada site, they’d initially said it was a 4.8 near Braeside, ON, but now they’re reporting it as a 5.1 magnitude quake 21 km NE of Shawville, QC, at 09:43. The page for it is at

The USGS page for the event is at

Be sure and report it if you felt it at both places. (Both pages offer questionnaires to fill out for just that thing.)