Recently a young girl by the name of Ashley Roberts was out and about using an iPod she had borrowed from a friend when she found herself surrounded by three other teens in Scarborough; a part of the city of Toronto, Ontario. One of the girls demanded to see the iPod and then helping herself to it out of Ashley’s pocket. As she pulled hard enough to yank the earbuds out of Ashley’s ears she said, “I think I’m going to take this.”
The 17 year old Ashley didn’t put up a fight because as she put it “I would have ended up in the hospital.” However the person who Ashely had borrowed the iPod from was of a different mind when she said that under no circumstances would she have given up the iPod even it it meant her being mugged. This young girl Christina McPherson said she would rather be stabbed than give up her iPod.
This is all in light of a trial starting in Ottawa of a youth who is charged with the stabbing death of 22 year old Michael Oatway. Oatway was a fellow Ottawa citizen who was allegedly killed for his girlfriend’s iPod on a city bus.
Police are calling these iPod assaults an epidemic; much like the swarmings we saw happening in malls in the 1990s where the targets were expensive running shoes and jackets. Now those things have been replaced by the ubiquitous Apple iPod.
In an interview with Zosia Bielski and Jand Armstrong from the Globe and Mail Vancouver Police Constanble Tim Fanning said
Nearly every young person has one or wants one. Users are easy to spot, sporting the white ear buds, often referred to as “mug me” earphones.
“For a thief, it’s like a crow seeing something shiny,”
Police blotters across the country are filled with reports of people being swarmed and mugged for their iPods and cellphones
Hot iPods are bought and sold at a deep discount on schoolyards.
Outside Toronto’s Central Technical Institute recently, some students boast that their iPods cost them between $10 and $30.
Many are stolen, in some cases from classmates.
As sad as this might be to say but none of this surprises me in the least. I still remember the story of the child in the US many years back who was killed in the playground for nothing more than his brand new pair of Nikes. It is a sad commentary though on how little value we place on human life over the value of a product.