"Somebody took him. So sudden, so sudden. Now I have to share these stories with my nephew, with my sons, about Coco."
"I have to share these stories with them because they won't get to grow up and cherish this life with him. I'm grieving right now."
William Boushie, North Battleford, Saskatchewan
Their explanation when the farmer, Gerald Stanley exited his house to confront the young people, was unacceptable. They were ordered to exit his property, forthwith. What then ensued was an argument that turned violent. The farmer was armed with a gun, the people in the car were defenceless. The violence was represented by Mr. Stanley shooting 22-year-old Colten Boushie dead while he sat in the car.
His frightened companions hurriedly exited the car and ran for their lives. A week later, accused of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, his killer stood in North Battleford Queen's Bench Court to plead not guilty to second-degree murder. Each side, the Stanleys and the Boushies have their supporters. Both family, friends and public supporters.
Mr. Stanley cannot be held to be not guilty since he shot the young man to death. He is most certainly guilty of poor judgement, of a lack of restraint, of misunderstanding his and their situation, and addressing it in a manner that took one life and will impair another. This man cannot but regret his rash behaviour, but how does anyone 'regret' killing another human being?
It's hard to believe that aboriginals and non-aboriginals so much distrust and fear one another that a white farmer would raise a gun to threaten unarmed young people, and then, dissatisfied with their reaction, demonstrate just how serious he was. There are unsubtle hints from the RCMP that the same young people may have been implicated in a robbery, that the story about a blown tire was rubbish.
By some accounts, admittedly family skewed in favour of the dead young man, he was an exemplary student, a very reliable and well-behaved young man. So the question arises: despite the sad reputation of young aboriginals' disdain for law and order and their over-representation in crime and imprisonment, there are many others who behave just the same as young men do anywhere, sometimes unethically, for a thrill.
Even Olympic, medal-class athletes when they're in a strange place where few know them personally, are known to act out and by their immoral behaviour bring shame to their countries of origin and to the sport they represent to such great acclaim. No one is prepared to shoot any of them; they will return home to be feted for their medal-gaining prowess and it will be recalled how stupid they also were on foreign soil.
These young people were not on foreign soil, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Yet the hostility with which they were greeted and the violence to which they were exposed resulting in the death of one of their number is irreversible, and adds immeasurably to the burden of white guilt and the burden of exclusion on the part of First Nations communities from the greater treasure that Canada represents to all its inhabitants.
"I want to see a difference made I want people to come together and just support each other instead of fighting", Edward Soonias, a close friend of Colten Boushie's said.