Bring him to justice – media questions

DATE: Sept 17

I’m upset.  No, upset doesn’t cover it – I’m pissed.  With the Toronto media.

This past weekend a service station attendant was killed.  Someone pumped over $100 worth of gas into his vehicle, then attempted to flee without paying.  The attendant was struck by this vehicle and dragged some distance.  He later died in hospital.  The police know who they’re looking for and have issued a Public Safety Alert for this man on a charge of second degree murder.  And the media are reporting this search and publicizing the man’s name and picture.

Yes, this was a tragedy and this man deserves to be off the streets.  According to news reports, this wasn’t the first time he’d pulled a “gas and dash”.  His name was also mentioned in reference to some prowling incidents in the west end of Toronto.  Granted this was a very public event and a provincial politician, who frequently used that station, has  said he’ll try to change the law so drivers have to pay before they fill up and there is of course public outrage over the callous behaviour of that driver.

But is this really any different than the search for George Flowers?  George Flowers, aka “Mr Flowas”, according to the Public Safety Alert – and here’s the link: has been HIV positive since 1996 and never bothered telling his partners.  How many women has he sentenced to death with his silence?   The police alert was issued August 13.  To my knowledge, a local television news station, CP24, mentioned it once.  The Toronto news radio stations have the bulletin on their websites, as do some stations in western Canada – Winnipeg Manitoba, Edmonton Alberta and New Westminster BC come to mind – but it has not received the general coverage this hit and run has seen.  Why not?

Is it, as I wrote above, that the hit and run was such a public incident, or that a politician is involved in finding a solution to prevent the problem in the future?  Or is it that the search for a serial killer who used sex as a weapon, for that is what George Flowers is, or will be, less “glamourous” than a hit and run?  Let’s face it.  With this “gas and dash” fatality, the news crews can get footage of the station and the area and speak with people from the neighbourhood.    Other than a news anchor reporting on the search for Flowers, news footage is scarce.  His victims won’t want to appear on camera.  They have spent years in some cases trying to rebuild their lives after getting a diagnosis of HIV positive and being on television would destroy those lives and violate their privacy.  But surely the print media and radio could be doing a better job of publicizing the search for George Flowers.  I’ve been told I’m the only person who has written anything about this matter.  While I have a good number of regular readers as well as many others according to the site statistics, I don’t have the coverage commercial media has. George Flowers is as much a hazard as is Max Edwin Tutiven, the apparent driver of the SUV.  So why isn’t the media doing more?