June 24, 2008
Mat Matters: Leave the speculation and blame elsewhere
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling
On May 27th, 34-year-old Calgary architect Joshua Lall stabbed and killed his wife Alison, 35, his two daughters Kristen, 5, and Rochelle, 3, and Amber Bowerman, 30, a tenant in their home, before committing suicide. A third daughter, one-year-old Anna, was not harmed. It instantly brought me back to last year with the story of the Benoit family tragedy.
Everything I read in the papers sounded eerily similar to what co-workers of Benoitís said in the wake of his death. Lall was well respected, a loving family man, a person of strong character, hard working polite, friendly. So what happened? Speculation has been made about mental illness, but the only one who truly knows what happens is dead.
Both were sensational stories across Canada. However, there was one major difference in the two stories -- the blame game. The WWE was targeted, Vince McMahon was targeted, the media jumped on the steroid bandwagon. At a time when people should have been focusing on the effect it was having on those that loved the Benoit family, it became a media circus that completely distracted from the basis of what happened -- a family was dead.
Then a few days later, on June 2nd, former Calgarian Alicia Bateman, 28, and her ex-fiance Ryan Sawchuk were found in Batemanís Ottawa home. Sawchuk had flown from Calgary to Ottawa that morning and their bodies were discovered that evening -- she was found strangled in her Jeep, he hung himself. Another murder suicide, another million possible reasons why, but no concrete answers. One thing I have now learned is that these things happen. It doesnít make sense, you canít grasp how or why, but sadly it will continue to happen in society regardless of what a person does for a living.
As Chris Jericho said to me when I mentioned the Calgary tragedy to him, ďNobody is going to the architect union and saying, 'Maybe architects drink too much coffee.íĒ
Wrestling may be looked down on by some members of the media and society, but for millions it is an important escape, like any other form of entertainment.
Unfortunately, when tragedy strikes entertainment, things get spun out of control. Such was the case in the Benoit tragedy. One lesson we should take from this is when things beyond our control happen, we should just focus on the facts as they come out and leave the speculation and blame elsewhere, as hard as that is to do. Just donít believe everything you see on CNN.
Jason Clevett is a freelance writer and SLAM! Wrestling staff member from Calgary.