Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Call off the hyperbole police

A friend pointed me towards a very strange story in the Toronto Star today, about a women allegedly threatening to kill a senior aide to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty:

The charge follows an incident on Sept. 30, when Vir sent a packet of mix for making gulab jamun, an Indian sweet, to McGuinty to express her "love and affection," dropping it off to staff member Monica Masciantonio.

The same night, she emailed McGuinty, asking whether Masciantonio had given him the mix.

"I said, `If she didn't give it to you, I'll kill her.' It's just slang," Vir said. "I use this term all the time with my husband and my kids. In Hindi, it's, `Mein tumarhi jaan nikal dungi.'"

Seems like a figure of speech to me, and not a serious threat. However:

…on Nov. 20, after the election, half a dozen police officers showed up at her door. They confiscated her laptop, cellphone, camera and papers, and hauled her to jail on a charge of conveying a death threat. There she spent a frantic six hours until her husband bailed her out. "I was so upset I couldn't stop crying. I kept asking, `What wrong did I do?'"

There has to be something more to this than meets the eye, as with the facts as presented in the article this doesn’t really make sense. Unless there is something we’re missing, I’d hope saner heads could prevail and McGuinty could step in here and help settle this.

It’s a cautionary tale though, perhaps, to think carefully before you click send on that e-mail to a public official.

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