Meet Kayla Bourque. This lovely young woman is a fan of serial killers, slasher movies, and sadistic sex. You can check out her self-portrait on this website where she goes by the name of MurderErotica.
Ms. Bourque hit the news recently after she tortured and eviscerated the family dog while videotaping the event and providing live narration. She had previously disemboweled and dismembered her cat back in Prince George where she spent her childhood, and she revealed this, one imagines gleefully, to a classmate at Simon Fraser University where she was a criminology student. The classmate, not as enthusiastic about cruelty to animals as was Kayla, went to the police and the subsequent police investigation uncovered the video of Kayla’s fun with the family dog. That lead to her arrest and incarceration for six months.
I imagine the investigating authorities, and those who examined Kayla’s brain box and the evidence on video, were horrified. The problem is, there is no legal reason to hold her in custody. She was not, technically speaking, crazy. So they reluctantly released her, with as many restrictions as they could find excuses to impose, 46 conditions in total, including that she is to keep a strict curfew and have no contact with birds, animals, children, the elderly, knives, colleges, universities or (most dangerous at risk of all) the Internet. They also put out a warning to the general public, featuring her picture and a description of her crimes, with the information that she is dangerous and “a high risk to re-offend”.
When that picture and warning hit FaceBook, it went viral. Much swooning and hand wringing ensued, not to mention violent fantasies of giving Kayla Bourque the same treatment she had given the family pets. Many were the calls for her continued incarceration.
A very few of the FaceBook comments were calmly rational and simply questioned how such a person could come to be the way she is. But many were threatening violence, or fantasizing violence enacted on Kayla, while at the same time calling for Kayla to be incarcerated because she has violent fantasies. Irony is wasted on some people.
Anyway, Kayla Bourque is out on the street, at least during daylight hours. Monsters walk among us, and they can be very hard to recognize as monsters.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, a man who has never hurt any living creature as far as we know is also facing criminal charges and legal sanctions.
Remy Couture is a special effects and makeup artist. But Remy Couture’s work is simply too realistic. So realistic, in fact, that pathologists were supposedly unable to be certain that no actual homicide had taken place. He’s been charged with corrupting morals. Corrupting morals? Do you ever get the feeling that the authorities have a lot of nerve charging an artist with that “crime” in today’s world, a world in which the president of the United States kills civilians in far away countries with drones flown by video game pilots in Arizona?
The very term, “corrupting morals”, harkens back to the days when everybody seemed to be so very sure about what was moral and what wasn’t, and most of the time got it wrong. It brings to mind the burning of witches.
The article I linked to doesn’t say what punishment Couture faces if found guilty. But the mere fact that he’s gone to trial should be enough to freak out any fan of realism in cinema or art.
I can understand the need for a public warning on the release into society of somebody like Kayla Bourque. The fact that she has acted on her fantasies in the past must surely indicate that she would like to take her fantasy life out into the real world. It would be irresponsible of the authorities to refrain from warning the general public, no matter what the social consequences for Ms. Bourque. The violent fantasies she inspires in the FaceBook commenters are less excusable. Perhaps, like Remy’s art, that is her real crime.
I wish we had a legal excuse to keep Kayla Bourque institutionalized for the rest of her life, and I detest the kind of movies, pseudo-snuff films, that Remy Couture is involved in making. You couldn’t pay me to watch them, much less be involved in their production. But the argument that he is influencing others to commit crimes doesn’t work for me. He’s not telling anybody to commit any crime. If you are going to censor him, then we should also censor any reporting of violent crimes, because it’s a known fact that copycats, possibly serial killer fans like Kayla Bourgue, will imitate.
“And if my thought dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine.”
If we are going to punish people for their fantasies, or for expressing their fantasies, do we start with Stephen King? I’m sure there are many who would like to do that.
Complicated questions. Your thoughts on this would be most welcome.