Don’t know if you have been following the newspaper accounts of the unfortunate death of Raymond Taavel this past week in Halifax or not. The bare facts of the case are that Taavel tried to break up a fight outside a downtown bar and in the ensuing fight died. The interesting thing about the story is that because Raymond was a well-known gay activist the case has taken on a life of its own. Some of Taavel’s friends have branded the incident a hate crime and claim that there was a homophobic element to the incident. Probably at some level, every act of physical violence is a hate crime, but there is no indication that the accused, Andre Denny, knew the victim was gay.
Others have blamed the criminal justice system. It seems that Denny had been free on a one hour unescorted pass from the East Coast Forensic Hospital and hadn’t bothered going back.
The truth is, that like most cases of violent crime in our city, the root cause was alcohol. Even the accused acknowledges that, he claims the incident was just a “drunken fight”. And yet no one wants to talk about the fact that if it hadn’t been for alcohol, Raymond Taavel would probably still be alive today. Have a great week and remember: To see what is really possible, you will have to attempt the impossible.