The Editor’s Desk: Armchair experts not wanted

In the wake of the disappearance of two teens wanted for murder, lots of people are expert trackers

You seem like a person who knows things about the wilderness and police and stuff, so why haven’t police been able to find those two teens who are wanted in connection with three killings in B.C., and were last seen in northern Manitoba? Welcome back, my friend! And before I go any further, I’ll say as a disclaimer that while I’ve read a lot about these things, I have about as much practical experience and knowledge as most of the thousands of armchair experts who have been weighing in on the subject, seemingly confident that if they had been in charge of the search, the two teens would have been found before they left Port Alberni.

What do you mean? It’s easy to pontificate from the comfort of home with no pressure to get results and no consequences if you don’t get a result. Facebook fire chiefs, my son dubbed such people in the wake of the 2017 wildfires.

Someone commented that the police don’t seem to have any trouble finding a Tim Hortons. Hilarious. Let’s treat that as if it’s a serious contribution to the discussion, and not a cheap gag. Tim Hortons restaurants are generally located in places called cities and towns, on things called roads, and feature highly visible signage. There’s also an app you can download which shows you the location of all the Timmies in your area. They are not, in my experience, located in remote, bug- and animal-infested wilderness which features lots of dense undergrowth, bogs, and swamps, but few if any roads. Even if they were, your app would be useless, since there is no internet or cellphone coverage.

Fair point. But with all the resources police have available, like thermal imaging equipment and planes, shouldn’t the pair have been found by now? No. As anyone knows who has, say, flown over the area in question, or any other remote area in Canada, there’s a whole lot of “there” out there. People searching for someone who has gone missing in a clearly defined location — while on a hike, say, having left behind information about where they were going, and when — often can’t find them. In this case searchers know where the pair were two weeks ago, but no idea where they went after that.

Gotcha. And even if they were still in the area where they were last seen, it seems pretty clear they don’t want to be found, which makes the searchers’ task even more complicated.

So if they wanted to be found that would have happened by now? Not necessarily. Maclean’s magazine recently featured an article (https://bit.ly/2KgMV3V) about two German men who, two years ago, were canoeing in the area and had an accident that left their canoe unusable. The men decided to leave a note and hike the 120km to Gillam, Manitoba, where the two teens were spotted in July.

What happened? They figured they could walk 30km each day and make it there in four days. Instead, they made 7km the first day and were soon exhausted. Their shoes were completely torn apart, their feet were always wet, they got soaked when it rained, and they had to ration their food. At one point a helicopter flew overhead, but even though they waved and tried to attract attention to themselves, they were not spotted.

Wow. Indeed. It took them 10 days to finally get to a road about 15km from Gillam and flag down a vehicle. By that time they had run out of food and were constantly on the verge of giving up. This is two men who wanted desperately to be found and knew they wouldn’t be arrested as soon as they were spotted. The B.C. teens clearly don’t want to be found.

Thanks for putting things in perspective. Always happy to help. And a word to the wise: the Tim Hortons/doughnuts/police thing gets really old, really fast.

10-4. Thanks.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Cache Creek residences on flood alert as Bonaparte River rises again

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Vanderhoof man dead following two-vehicle collision near Ashcroft

Incident occured on Highway 97C near Barnes Lake Road on Canada Day

Rain prompts travel advisories, road closures in Cache Creek area

No stopping during heavy rain on highways near Cache Creek

Free screenings of ‘Twilight Zone’ episode filmed in Ashcroft

‘A Small Town’ was filmed in February, and is now available as part of TV show’s second season

Ashcroft council moves forward on rezoning project

Amendment to zoning bylaw paves the way for new housing development in North Ashcroft

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read