Monday, December 19, 2011

A tale of two neighbourhoods

Last week a Winnipeg family suffered a terrible fire that will change their lives forever. Of course the commenters who troll the comment sections of the various media outlets were out in full force. What a difference being rich makes. Almost a year ago, another Winnipeg family suffered a catastrophic fire where they also lost everything, but the commenters were a little less sympathetic. Now, strangely, the comments on the FreeP stories seem to have disappeared; all the links I followed on the North End fire offered me the chance to be the first commenter - somehow I don't think that everyone forgot to comment on that site.

The one comment on the Linden Woods fire that took a shot at the comments that usually end up on any story about the North End (or other supposedly less than desirable place) got deleted; I don't remember what it was exactly and it wasn't as articulate as it could have been but it touched on the fact that if were to comment in the same way about this we would need to question if this was perhaps a grow-op (even though the article clearly stated it wasn't, but that never stops the genius commenters normally, although I do think it was all said tongue in cheek) Of course if it was a true mirror of they type of comment generally made about the North End it would have read more like this "What do you expect in a neighbourhood like that, it was probably Asian gangs growing marijuana, houses there are always getting shot at"

In the North End fire, although there were sympathetic comments on the CBC story many of them also chose to zero in on the father of the 10 children, attacking his character and the fact that he had so many children. I can only presume that in the mysteriously missing FreeP comments section there was the standard "burn the whole neighbourhood down" comment that I see every time there is reference to fire in my neighbourhood. Curiously in the case of the Linden Woods fire, the commenters lambaste the the Free Press for daring to mention who the victim was or what he did for a living, saying it wasn't relevant. Yet telling the world that the father of 10 was unemployed and on welfare was apparently relevant to the North End fire. To be fair, the FreeP only mentioned he was unemployed, it was the commenters in the CBC story that felt the need to mention that he was on welfare, and link to a story (that I couldn't open because I'm not a paid Globe subscriber) that implied it would dish all sorts of other details about this man and his life.

I think that more than anything, what the reporting for the Linden Woods fire stories are missing are more details about the cause of the fire. We've now learned that it was caused by a heater in the garage, but I want to know way more details and I think the media is missing out on a great opportunity to educate the public. Forgive me if one of the media outlets did go into more detail and I just happened to have missed it - I was pretending to have a bit of a life this weekend and reading excessive amounts of news is usually more of a weekday thing.

So what exactly caused the Linden Woods fire? Was it because they plugged a heater in with an extension cord? Did they drape something over the heater? Was it a baseboard heater with faulty wiring? Was the heater just plain left unattended like all the instruction manuals warn us never to do??

On a very random note, did you know that it seems to be Linden Woods not Lindenwoods? One of the main streets that crosses through there is Lindenwood Dr. so I suppose that's where the confusion comes from. It also seems as though business are split on what to call it as there are both when they use the community name in the business name. I think I corrected all my "errors" but I will likely revert to my old ways eventually - I've apparently been spelling it wrong for about 20 years already!

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