“Family of bus-slaying victim sues suspect, Greyhound, authorities”

by Walter Olson on September 3, 2008

Canada: “The family of Tim McLean is suing Greyhound, the RCMP and the man suspected of committing the gruesome killing of the 22-year-old man aboard a bus in rural Manitoba in July.” (CBC, Sept. 2).

{ 21 comments }

1 Shtetl G 09.03.08 at 1:30 pm

What type of protocols does Greyhound have in place to ensure that their customers heads are not lopped off by maniacs? Even if they do have such protocols I seriously doubt they were followed in this instance. The fact that this tragedy was not averted clearly calls for the need for mandatory psychiatric screening for all bus passengers. Anything less and we will have to deal with the shame that we could have prevented another tragedy like this ten or twenty years later. I hesitate to use a hackneyed expression but is anybody thinking of the children?

2 Bill Poser 09.03.08 at 1:36 pm

In response to this incident, some people actually are calling for security checks on bus passengers similar to those at airports. Greyhound has pointed out that this would be impossible to implement since buses pick up passengers at all sorts of places other than full-fledged bus stations.

3 David Wisniewski 09.03.08 at 2:14 pm

I love it. Another lawsuit that “is not about money”. If you believe that, I have this bridge I’d like to sell you.

4 anon 09.03.08 at 2:47 pm

“the man suspected of committing the gruesome killing . . . .”

Where you’ve got a literal busload of witnesses who saw the guy murder this poor kid and then cut off his head, and where the murderer was arrested at the scene, covered in the victim’s blood while in possession of the bloody murder weapon and the severed head, I think calling him a “suspect” is a bit formalistic.

5 z0l0ft 09.03.08 at 4:12 pm

The family is seeking about $150,000 in damages, but Prober said the lawsuit is not about money. It’s about accountability and responsibility for what happened to McLean, he said

Add the “not about the money” tag to this post. The fact that lawyers still say that is incredible.

6 Walter Olson 09.03.08 at 4:14 pm

>Add the “not about the money” tag to this post.

Done.

7 Todd Rogers 09.03.08 at 4:18 pm

So, Walt has kindly asked that we use a filter of sorts to avoid offending the surviving loved ones. It’s his field and he does get to make the rules. I’m going to try and not stray in to the gray area. Recap: One minute, the victim is catching a snooze and listening to his headphones. The next minute he’s…well, we know what happens next…very sad, indeed. Some guy pretty much comes unglued and not only murders the poor guy but continues on to desecrate his body. Now, where in this story (even in light of all the details I omitted) did confusion erupt as to who is at fault here? And why does the family feel it necessary to hire someone to help them navigate the legal system? The legal system, by the way, doesn’t even seem to be a stake holder in this whole endeavor. But, someone, some where, saw fit to take this matter and shove it through the legal labyrinth to see if gold would come out on the other side. Walt, I respect the site, and I respect your rules. But these people are really asking for criticism of the worst kind. I’m not going to write what I really think. But it’s probably pretty clear. The action is ridiculous.

8 OBQuiet 09.03.08 at 4:40 pm

“In response to this incident, some people actually are calling for security checks on bus passengers similar to those at airports. Greyhound has pointed out that this would be impossible to implement since buses pick up passengers at all sorts of places other than full-fledged bus stations.”

I expect that convenience will end pretty soon after they lose this or some other similar case. The social and economic costs of this being ignored by the courts and lawyers.

9 Bill Poser 09.03.08 at 4:46 pm

“I expect that convenience will end pretty soon after they lose this or some other similar case. The social and economic costs of this being ignored by the courts and lawyers.”

A valid fear, but from what I’ve seen so far, few people think that this suit has much of a chance (except, of course, against the “suspect”, where liability is a sure thing but who probably has no assets).

10 krs 09.03.08 at 4:52 pm

This is pretty disgusting. Buses are one of the few forms of transportation that normal people can still afford.

The logical conclusion of this is that we have metal detectors and X-rays everywhere. After all, this killing was on a bus, but the next killing might be inside a building or in a park!

If McLean was the second or third Greyhound passenger this guy had killed in transit, if passenger had brandished a machete at the ticket counter, or if Greyhound insisted on regularly picking up hitchhikers near a prison despite a bunch of violent incidents, then I’d understand.

But McLean’s family apparently wants every bus stop in Canada to install the standard TSA anal probe station so that bus travel can become as unpleasant and invasive as air travel. Ugh.

11 Avierra 09.03.08 at 5:24 pm

What’s interesting to me is the $150K figure for damages. I mean, that’s chump change in the big scheme of things. I wonder how they arrived at that figure, because the litigation makes very little sense on the face of it. Or maybe they picked the figure because they thought the bus company might pay them to go away if it was low enough?

12 Karen 09.03.08 at 5:59 pm

Sometimes people file suits because it’s the best way to ensure accountability. Given that the damages are regulated under the Fatal Accidents Act and total all of $150,000 for eleven people (we’re not talking windfall here, people) and given that there are things that can be done, I’m not sure why people think this is so outrageous. Metal detectors on the side of the road – I doubt it – but hand held wands might help – the drivers must collect tickets – wanding a person isn’t really going to get in the way. One change that has already been recommended is not to allow carry-on baggage in the compartment.

Sometimes the only way to get their attention is to file a suit.

Don’t forget – in Canada, loser pays, so no one does this frivolously.

13 Chad 09.03.08 at 7:49 pm

Filing lawsuits brings accountability… yeah like lawyers bring justice….. A fantasy only found in the minds of profoundly out of touch humans.

Lawsuits are brought for one reason only..
Two people thinking they can get rich, the so called wronged person and the lying amoral snake who hopes to pocket as much of the lotto win as possible.

There are exceptions to the wronged person but never a exception to lawyer, they always have one thing in mind…. Your money and as much of it as they can steal.

14 OBQuiet 09.03.08 at 8:20 pm

“Metal detectors on the side of the road – I doubt it – but hand held wands might help – the drivers must collect tickets – wanding a person isn’t really going to get in the way.”

??? Wouldn’t the driver need to set off the buss to do this? They probably need to often anyway to load luggage but now it would be always. Extra time to wand. And to remove all the metal from pockets. Exposing your personal possessions to the eyes of possible thieves on board. And are we prepared to give the driver the same level of authority we provide the TSA in the US or what ever group pulls similar duty in Canada?

Will I have to leave my pocket knife at home for a bus trip like I do for the plane now?

Your point about loser pays is valid though. Better there than here to test the theory.

15 roy 09.03.08 at 8:30 pm

As far as securing busses go, it’s worth remembering that a lot of people use busses as part of their day-to-day lifestyle, which implies sometimes carrying dangerous materials. Somebody riding home from the sporting goods store in preparation for a camping trip may well have a machete. Groceries may include cleaning supplies that create hazardous fumes. Laborers riding to and from work may have screwdrivers, knives, and any number of potential improvized clubs. Then there are pocket knives.

Airlines have to invest a lot to make the bag check system practical, and it’s still pretty bad. Will Greyhound have to do something similar for grocery bags and toolbelts?

16 Todd Rogers 09.03.08 at 9:24 pm

Why in the world would we stop at wanding only those who ride on a bus? Why not wand everyone who gets behind the wheel of any four-six-eight-ten-eighteen wheeled vehicle? Why do vehicles even need to be involved to justify wanding? How about pedestrians? Plan on going for a stroll…a walk of the dog? “Hold it right there, we’re going to need to wand you first – never can be too sure…HEY, ARE THOSE NAIL CLIPPERS!?!?! Take this thug to the lock up and his dog, too…wew, that was a close call. Alright boys, let’s go find another unsuspecting villian.” Maybe we shouldn’t just limit our detection devices to those which sense metallic objects. Perhap we should also put K9s on all buses, too? In fact, why even have detection devices (or creatures) at all? Why not strip search everyone who plans on leaving his or her home – of course each citizen would have to file a travel plan with the politburo, first. But that’s no worry…”papers please.” At least we’ll all be safe in transit. Just ask Harrison Bergeron.

17 Bill Poser 09.04.08 at 12:03 pm

Prohibiting carry on bags on buses is a terrible idea. Have you ever taken an intercity bus? You’re likely to want to have with you books, food and drink, laptop, games if you’re traveling with children, etc.

There’s no need at all for increased security on buses. This is a ridiculous reaction to a one-in-a-million incident.

18 James Moore 09.04.08 at 5:19 pm

It’s not about the money. Did you notice the amount of the suit? $150,000. No American lawyer would touch it for that kind of a take – How many zeros would we have to add in order to turn this into an American-style lawsuit?

19 Deoxy 09.04.08 at 6:08 pm

It’s not about the money. Did you notice the amount of the suit? $150,000. No American lawyer would touch it for that kind of a take

Ah, but in Canada, they’ve got Loser Pays, so the “take” for the lawyer (assuming they win) is ON TOP of the 150K, not taken out of it.

Enormous difference!

20 David Wisniewski 09.07.08 at 6:26 pm

Karen said, “Sometimes people file suits because it’s the best way to ensure accountability.”

If that was the reason this suit was filed, why not ask for damages of only $1? Whenever someone says it is “not about the money” and then demands $150,000, they are only fooling themselves.

21 Todd Rogers 09.07.08 at 6:42 pm

If it’s not about the money, and the plaintiff truly was interested in accountability for example, and wanted to use a financial measure as a means to an end, why not donate the proceeds or start a foundation which serves their started end?

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