EDITORIAL: Letter found at Penticton schools exposes society’s failure

It’s impossible to tell whether a menacing note found on school grounds is a real threat or a hoax.

It’s impossible to tell whether a menacing note found on school grounds is a real threat or a hoax.

School officials and the RCMP are, appropriately, treating it as a real threat. Hopefully, it will turn out the note was a hoax and their precautions were not needed.

But even as a hoax, even putting together a letter like this shows the mark of a disturbed mind, and in some ways a failure of the education system and society.

Part of what makes this note so disturbing is its specificity. The mother in a wheelchair not getting enough financial aid to even make the rent, a child with only one pair of pants and no jacket tied to the shame of turning to a welfare system that isn’t doing enough to help.

Real or hoax, the author did a good job on pulling together problems that are all too common and real. Chalk one up for society failing to look after its weakest members.

Then, let’s turn to the language of the letter. Again, real or hoax, the spelling mistakes and atrocious slang make you wonder if the writer ever attended school, or why they hadn’t been educated beyond thinking this patois was cool.

Even if this is a joke in incredibly poor taste, you have to wonder about the state of mind of the writer. Thinking a death threat is funny is bad enough, but the author has nailed so much pain and anxiety that it is impossible not to think they have some serious emotional problems themselves.

There shouldn’t be any doubt that the author of the note is responsible for his or her own actions, and deserving of both punishment and care. But the ammunition used to scare us?

Society made that way too available.