Belak’s death now subject to a whole new blight
By Terrance Gavan
The people deserve the truth.
Unfortunately, we are at the whim of the petty bourgeois bureaucrats who subscribe to “Colonel” Jack Nicholson’s assessment, delivered with unholy venom to pretty boy JAG lawyer Tom Cruise.
“You can’t handle the truth!”
Well, dammit. And sorry Colonel.
And all we ask is that the truth be delivered in a timely and sensible fashion.
Someone has got to start telling the truth about Wade Belak’s cause of death (COD). (Speculation that Belak died of accidental strangulation is rife on the web right now.)
So? We need the truth. Now.
We understand the reluctance.
Human compassion is built into our chromosomes.
It’s quite honorable to care for a fallen brother.
An old saw comes to mind. “Don’t speak ill of the dead.” Of course if you’ve never been to a Baptist funeral? And you really take that piece of wisdom as gospel? Give that “Baptist goodbye” a pass. They don’t pull any punches, the Baptists.
We are a little disappointed and saddened today because more speculation is being foisted on the befuddling case of Wade Belak. We have been bombarded by broad spectrum viral bombast.
We blame incomplete police reports filed at the time of Belak’s death and a coroner’s office that won’t step up with the goods.
Wade Belak’s funeral is over and the floodgates have opened. And he deserves better. His family deserves better.
We are hearing reports about unintentional strangulation as the actual COD (cause of death) in the Belak case.
Do I believe it? Who cares. And that’s not the point. Until the police and the coroner come clean?
Everything’s on the table. Up to and including alien abduction.
In an editorial I did recently I mentioned CBC, TorSun and AP reports which said that Belak had committed suicide. I was pretty sure – from reports received from some sources that I trust – that there was more to it than simple suicide. The police were hemming and hawing, and nothing was being confirmed through official sources.
Draw your own conclusions. I assumed that there was a cover-up ongoing, but I had no confirmation.
Now the sluice gates have opened on another waterfall of rhetoric, speculation and moaning verisimilitude.
What we need now and we required from the beginning was and is full disclosure.
And what’s gained from not telling the full story from the giddy-up?
The mere fact that the Toronto Police refused to reveal the actual COD was disconcerting and irritating. And in hindsight? It’s bloody baffling.
Do the Toronto Police Force and the coroner’s office really think that the newspapers, bloggers, TSN and radio outlets would stop digging?
That someone wouldn’t leak?
That non-disclosure is a valid way to approach something like this in the age of the Internet?
About a day and a half after Belak’s death I – and several other writers I know – became aware of these “other” allegations vis-à-vis Belak’s cause of death. A fellow writer – and a guy I trust implicitly – emailed me asking if I had heard the “new bits” regarding the Belak affair.
Now comes the detritus regarding these trite and petty allegations.
Do I believe it? Well, I had my doubts about the suicide and I have my doubts about this. Remember the boy who cried wolf. Well, the moral of that tale has nothing to do with wolves and boys. It concerns that new word coined by Stephen Colbert. Truthiness.
Truthfully. It doesn’t matter how any of these guys – Belak, Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien – died. The hair-raising, spine tingling fact is: Their deaths are anomalies. Young strong men gone way too soon.
And now? Well now, because the Toronto Police saw fit from the git’ to bury Belak’s cause of death in a thin veil of spun smoke?
We will be treated to another week of dusky dark detritus, dirt and accusatory finger pointing.
An incomplete police report at the time of death does no favors to anyone. Least of all to Belak’s family and friends. And his two daughters.
We’re all human. Police officers are included in that we. I can see why a coroner would be reluctant to spill the beans.
So what’s true? (And we have to realize that until the coroner’s office and the Toronto Police fess up? We’ll never know what the heck to believe.)
Until we know? Belak and his family will be subject to ongoing innuendo and the grey spittle of venomous gruel.
Justice Minister Pierre E. Trudeau once said that the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
He wasn’t talking about investigating suspicious deaths in a hotel room.
He was talking about moral absolutes.
And there are none here.
So let’s keep our judgments in our closets.
And be careful about throwing stones.
Because you know… we’ve all got our own fragile panes.
Sens reporter Terrance Gavan was born in Ottawa. Attended Carleton University, graduated from University of Manitoba. Sports Editor for The Manitoban; Sports Information Director at the U of M. History: Interlake Publishing, CP, UPI, Winnipeg Sun, Assignments:CBC Radio/TSN. Managing Editor/Kanata Kourier/Standard 92-93. Quebecor; Currently: Sports and Entertainment Editor The Highlander, Haliburton, ON. Award winning photographer and poet. Lives by a lake with his dog Billie Jean. Happy. Happy.