In what seems to tragically echo too many other stories from Canada, the news is reporting that "A severed human head and foot have been discovered in a park near Toronto."
We've been reporting on cases of human feet washing ashore in western Canada for sometime now (see our previous posts here).
Now this particular case is, it should be noted, over 2600 miles from the feet that have been washing up on the Canadian shores.
So what's the link?
We have, as I keep saying over and over, given up speculating on source of the feet that keep washing up on Canada. Is it a mass murder? Is it weird drift patterns? Is it an area drawing suicide victims? These are questions others can ponder. We've given up.
But wait--I do have a new theory to consider involving this most recent news.
With highly publicized "events", there's always the possibility of copy-cat crimes. In the case of the Canadian feet, for example, there was at least once case of someone stuffing dead animal feet into a pair of shoes and leaving on the beach. Sick--but that's the kind of stuff that clog up the search for patterns.
What I'd like to ponder here, however, is the possibility that the media are making unrelated events seem related. A sort of selected attention. An unusual pattern starts--severed feet washing up on beaches--and then people start looking for more cases, further confirmation of the pattern. It's in our nature.
I'm perfectly guilty in perpetuating this right now. Surely this case has nothing to do with what's happened 2600+ miles away. But once we start looking for further evidence of the pattern, we start to focus on the similarities and not the differences of new pieces of evidence. Take the case of the severed body parts found in Montreal. That also, almost certainly, had nothing to do with the feet washed ashore. But once you start looking for the pattern, the pattern seems to stretch itself up more and more events...
So what do you think? Confirmation bias -- or a series of grisly connected events?