Bus Hijacking That Sounded Fishy (Probably) Was
Last December 30th, when it was reported that a bus was hijacked in downtown Toronto, the story that we were told didn’t seem to make much sense. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
…a TTC bus was hijacked earlier this afternoon, and the details as of right now are sketchy at best. According to City, a man boarded a bus at 12:30pm at around Bay and Wellesley, rode it down to Front and Bay, and then — and this is particularly significant — only when the bus was empty except for himself and the driver did he pull a gun. “From Bay the vehicle went eastbound to Cherry St., north on Cherry to Queen St., and east from there to Church St” (City’s final directions are wrong, however, since Cherry is east of Church, not west). The suspect got off the bus and “took off” on foot. The man is a white male, in his 40s, 6’1″, and was wearing a black suede jacket, jeans and a red hat.
Bad thing? Of course. But no injuries to the driver (who’s doing alright, described as “calm” by Detective [Toronto Police Detective Gordon] Serroul), and done in a careful and deliberate way, as the suspect waited until the bus was emptied before flashing a gun. We’ll have to wait for more information to come through about it, because the whole thing sounds very weird to us.
Our thesis was that Toronto is an exceptionally safe city, and that rare events like this get blown out of proportion by the mainstream media — especially when they’ve just happened and details are scarce. To the best of our knowledge, no other media source questioned the hijacking, but the absolute absurdness and rarity of the incident should have tipped their more seasoned media minds off: even Serroul said right after the incident that he couldn’t “recall one [other time] where a bus driver was confronted and actually where he was commanded to take the bus on a trip.”
We’ve been waiting to hear more about what happened on that bus ever since, and, as it turns out, our suspicions may have been right: CityNews is reporting that the driver, Sean Forbes, is charged with making the whole thing up.
Our conclusion the day after the hijacking (after a teenaged boy was shot at Yonge and Dundas, also under somewhat suspicious circumstances) was that “Toronto may be many things, and many master statuses and over-arching defining labels can be used to describe our city. “Dangerous,” however, just isn’t one.” But “strange” probably is, and a little skepticism in this weird place — especially from our media outlets — is always a good thing.
Photo by Kevin Steele on Flickr.