Remember the name Will Baker everyone because he is the Greyhound bus beheader, previously known as Vince Li, who has just been released from custody without any conditions whatsoever.
How could that happen? It could happen because Li/Baker was found “not criminally responsible“(NCR) for beheading Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in July 2008 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. See McLean in photo to the left.
And, it is that “NCR” finding that is the problem because the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1999 that anyone found not criminally responsible could be released without conditions “if” they were not deemed dangerous by a Review Board.
Well, the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board granted Li/Baker that release yesterday.
Why did that Review Board come to such a conclusion? Because, the Global News link indicates, his doctor, Jeffrey Waldman, “…told the board earlier this week that he is confident Baker will remain on his medication and will continue to work with his treatment team if released.”
Waldman also “…testified that Baker knows it’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.” Think about that. “It’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.”
Yes, I have compassion for people with mental illness. In fact, I am a former special needs counsellor and therapist who helped many people with mental difficulties manage their symptoms and achieve success in life — but through learning and cognitive strategies, not medication.
Which causes me to wonder what Li/Baker will do with his time on his own. Will he stay in close touch with his health team? Will he have a job or meaningful activities? And, what will happen when and if he travels to China, which allegedly is his long term plan? Will he, for example, continue to have access to his medication in China? Or, once away from his team, will he start hearing voices again?
Anyway, regardless of a person’s mental illness, we have to stop making excuses for taking the life of another. Killing someone has consequences, or should have consequences. In the past, before medications became available, anyone found “NCR” for murder had to be hospitalized for life. At the very least, should Li/Baker not have been given the condition that taking his medication had to be supervised.
What about the victim in this case? Has the justice system forgotten him? The horrible reality is that McLean, Li/Baker’s victim is never coming back to his family. Plus, the horror that young man must have experienced is unimaginable. Killed in cold blood. Decapitated as he sat quietly in his Greyhound bus seat.
The crux of the matter is that the Manitoba Criminal Review Board has allowed Vince Li/Will Baker, who was found “NCR” for killing McLean in cold blood, to be released without any conditions even though he requires medication to maintain equilibrium. They also allowed Vince Li to use the anonymous name Will Baker, presumably so he won’t be discriminated against.
Truly, we live in an upside down world when the rights of people like Li/Baker are prioritized over the safety and well being of the general public.