Unmitigated Disgust

Thieves broke into and stole personal possessions and heirlooms from the car of Pat Burns’ widow yesterday, mere hours after the ceremony laying the respected hockey man to rest. Police say there is no doubt that the thieves knew exactly to whom the items belonged, noting that Burns’ wallet was in the car.

The funeral of Pat Burns in Montreal yesterday marks the end of a long story that started when Burns was a police officer in Quebec, saw him become the coach of the junior hockey team owned by Wayne Gretzky, followed him through a brilliant career with Montreal and Toronto and to a Stanley Cup win with New Jersey, and finally saw him succumb to cancer after a long, courageous battle. Respected by everyone in the hockey community and known as a tough but fair man, Burns will be missed by a countless crowd.

What kind of pathetic, diseased mind thinks that in some way it is right to subject this man, or any man’s family to this kind of indignity on such a sad and solemn day?

People wonder why I disdain people.

This is why.

For all our ability and potential to do good things, perhaps in spite of it, we more often than not do the wrong and worst things. We fight, we steal, we lord our strengths over the weaknesses of others, and we show such an utter selfish disrespect for the world outside of us. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who don’t fit that mould, and the rest of us step outside of it now and again, but on the whole we’re a dirty, greedy and thoughtless little species. My greatest reason for losing faith in humanity is that we live in willful ignorance of this very fact.

If we could at least recognize ourselves for what we are, maybe we could work a little harder and more effectively at overcoming these shortcomings.

Pat Burns is destined for the Hall of Fame at some point down the road. I remember his days in Montreal well, and remember the stingy, defensive style of play that he brought to the team, later to be undone by Jacques Demers. No doubt there is incredible value for the items stolen from his widow’s car, and no doubt this is exactly what the pathetic losers who ransacked the vehicle were thinking about.

They were thinking about themselves.

There’s a market for anything, and I’m sure someone would be willing to quietly pay a handsome sum for the stolen items for their personal collection. What’s sad is that there are people who would do so, and that, because of them, people like these theives exist. All that really matters here is that more injury and insult has been heaped upon a family grieving the loss of a husband and father at a time when they are most vulnerable.

I hope to hell Burns’ brothers on the police force and his many fans in the hockey world find the theives and, quietly, visit some grief and injury upon them as well. Maybe that’s just me exhibiting the traits of pettiness and dirtiness that I deplore in humanity. But, I’m willing to accept that.

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