Car­jack­ing and bomb­ings, thank­fully not the norm

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Editorial - Steve Bartlett

What would you have done in Michelle Mur­ray’s sit­u­a­tion?

She was wait­ing in a parked Pon­tiac van while her daugh­ter and a friend smoked a cig­a­rette. There were three chil­dren un­der three in the van with her; two of them her grand­chil­dren.

The kids were watch­ing “Paw Pa­trol,” and the one-year-old was strapped in his car seat.

It was a pretty un­event­ful scene un­til a stranger climbed aboard, put a screw­driver to her face and de­manded that she get out.

“I thought, this can’t be real. This can’t be real …” Mur­ray told jour­nal­ists, in­clud­ing Rosie Mul­la­ley of the St. John’s Tele­gram.

“He had a weapon. We didn’t know if he was go­ing to turn that on ei­ther one of us at any time.

“But I was not leav­ing my grand­ba­bies. There was noth­ing he could’ve done to me, I wasn’t leav­ing them. There was no way.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mur­ray, the man be­gan driv­ing away as the three women rushed to free the kids.

“He didn’t stop … My daugh­ter was lit­er­ally walk­ing try­ing to un­hook the baby’s car seat.”

With the kids out of the ve­hi­cle, Mur­ray pho­tographed him with her phone and posted pic­tures to Facebook.

Jesse Lewis, 21, is fac­ing 25 charges. He’s back in court Oct. 22.

Mur­ray re­counted her story out­side provin­cial court in St. John’s Thurs­day, the day af­ter it hap­pened.

I sug­gest read­ing Rosie’s full cov­er­age at http://bit. ly/2s4icpz.

The predica­ment in which the coura­geous grand­mother found her­self is among the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ences our jour­nal­ists chron­i­cled last week.

It caught my at­ten­tion, mak­ing me wonder what I’d do if some­one jacked my car with the kids in­side.

I be­lieve I’d do the same. How about you? Here’s hop­ing we never find out.

Hope­fully, we also never ex­pe­ri­ence what peo­ple in Prince Ed­ward Is­land did 30 years ago.

Ac­cord­ing to an in-depth fea­ture by Jim Day in Satur­day’s Char­lot­te­town Guardian, a man named Roger Bell be­gan a se­ries of bomb­ings on Oct. 10, 1988.

His reign of ter­ror started with a home­made pipe bomb in a flower bed in front of the Provin­cial Law Courts in Char­lot­te­town.

The for­mer high school chem­istry teacher would set off two more — in a garbage can at Point Pleas­ant Park in Hal­i­fax on July 9, 1994, and at the Prince Ed­ward Is­land leg­is­la­ture on April 20, 1995.

One per­son was in­jured in the lat­ter ex­plo­sion, for­tu­nately the only ca­su­alty from the bomb­ings.

Bell also planted a bomb at the Speedy Propane Bulk Plant in Char­lot­te­town on June 26, 1996. Big­ger than his first three and ob­vi­ously set in a dan­ger­ous spot, it failed to det­o­nate and po­lice took care of it.

Bell’s call­ing card was “Loki 7,” a name from Norse mythol­ogy. His ac­tiv­i­ties hit hard­est on a psy­cho­log­i­cal level, ac­cord­ing to Day’s story.

“When I look at the Loki 7 bomb­ings, it was what cost Prince Ed­ward Is­land its in­no­cence,’’ re­calls Brad Mac­connell, Char­lot­te­town’s cur­rent deputy po­lice chief and an of­fi­cer who helped bring Bell to jus­tice.

“No longer did these things hap­pen in other places. They were hap­pen­ing here. It had a grasp on the com­mu­nity — fear that was tan­gi­ble. You could sense it in peo­ple.’’

Through tips and sur­veil­lance, they even­tu­ally caught Bell. I en­cour­age you to read Day’s fea­ture to find out how at http://bit. ly/2jcuhk0.

As you do, be grate­ful to live in part of the world where car­jack­ings and bomb­ings are out of the or­di­nary, and then take full ad­van­tage of the free­dom and peace we all take for granted.

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