Ontario Anarchist Wins Darwin Award In Tragic Thunder Bay “Misadventure”

RIP Anarchist Joey...

RIP Anarchist Joey…

The first time I met Joey was at an anti-police protest in front of the 52 Division police station in Toronto. Menonite “street preacher” Doug Hatlem was leading the crowd as they chanted “f##k the police!”; dressed in all black, and wearing a balaclava, Joey walked behind and tried to intimidate me into leaving. “What the f##k are you doing here?” he said, “why don’t you leave now”. I stood my ground, holding on to my camera a bit more tightly in case he decided to try and knock it out of my hands.

Always a charmer, Joey would regularly try and intimidate me at protests after that. Sometimes yelling out abuse, other times simply standing close enough to try and scare me. I’d usually just respond saying “hi Joey, nice mask!” and he’d respond by walking away.

My next incident with Joey was at a student fees demonstration a few months later. Like most of the Black Bloc contingent that day, I don’t think he was a student, but he and his friends all loved a good protest. Joey came up to me and tried to cover my camera with his hand, but he disappeared after a few minutes.

The last time I remember seeing him was at a pig effigy burning anti-cop protest organized and led by convicted G20 organizer Alex Hundert, Occupy Toronto leader Dave Vasey, and Chelsea Flook of Occupy Edmonton. Joey left me alone this time;  it was Alex who took the opportunity to try to push away my camera. When a fire truck came to put out the fire the anarchists had set in the middle of Queen Street, Joey and Now Magazine contributor Zach Ruiter began charging towards to stop it. Joey kicked the fire truck, they pulled their loud horn, everyone cheered, and the fire truck backed-out in retreat.


Tragic news came out three weeks ago that I only learned of last night. Joey’s life ended abruptly in Thunder Bay on September 7th. Local news coverage claims that he trespassed on a Thunder Bay property, climbed over 200 feet to the top of a grain tower, and failed to emerge after somehow landing the Kaministiquia River. Thunder Bay police Const Julie Tilbury explained in a press conference that his death was caused by “misadventure“.

Judging from his memorial page on Facebook, Joey had a lot of people who loved and will miss him. Byrone Sonne (the guy charged during the G20 for allegedly building a bomb) called him “fundamentally good and decent human being”. I never saw that side of Joey, only raw anger and hate, but I’ll miss him too. I’ll always fondly remember Joey as the man to helped start the Black Bloc’s “Greg Renouf Chant”- an honor bestowed on few, not even Harper got his own…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.genuinewitty.com/2015/09/30/ontario-anarchist-wins-darwin-award-in-thunder-bay-misadventure/


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  1. Word of advice: when you grip an item harder, you make it easier to knock out of your hand. A loose grip is actually better.

    • Michel Dumont on September 30, 2015 at 16:38
    • Reply

    I’ve known Joey for 8 years. He lived at my house on and off. I took the pictures of the grain elevator, and I found his boots at the bottom of the elevator. He jumped of course, and video exists of this. Hopefully that will not appear on a blog.

    1. Sorry to hear about your loss, hopefully his death can help deter others from engaging in similar stunts. If someone has posted the video on Youtube be sure to make a complaint, they’re pretty much guaranteed to take it down.

    • Anon Friend of Joey's on October 1, 2015 at 12:15
    • Reply

    Greg, you are utterly repugnant… you claim you will miss this person, yet your headline references a Darwin Award, which is given to people who do the gene pool a “favour” by removing their genes from potentially reproduction because the behaviours that got them killed or injured are, supposedly, so “lol stooopid”. You are supposedly mourning a loss of human life while, otoh, laughing about how stupid this person was and how he did the world a service by dying.

    And, of course, this says nothing of the fact that suicide cannot _conclusively_ be ruled out as a cause of death. So, in essence, you are making fun of a man who obviously had enough mental health problems to climb to a height and jump to what would almost certainly be his death, whether this proved intentional or not, and then you have the audacity to claim you mourn his loss, all the while insinuating that he was stupid and we’re better off without him.

    You are disgusting, of course, but you lack even the smallest modicum of courage to take a decisive position on so simple a matter. Let me demonstrate how this is done: if you were to jump off a grain elevator, for any reason whatsoever, i would, in no way, shape or form, give a second thought to your choice. In fact, if you have great heights on your mind, i would love to print you a Google Map with some choice options for you, frankly, you mouth-breathing organ sack motherfucker :)

    1. Thank you for bringing this issue up. I have no knowledge of if Joey had mental health issues or not – perhaps you do – but let’s assume for the moment that he (or others in his street gang) do. You might find it repugnant I criticised Joey’s misadventures, but please be assured I’m equally repulsed by the people who stood around and watched and/or encouraged Joey’s self-destructive behaviour.

      The organizers of the “f##k the police” marches and street clashes with the police depend on people like Joey. The movement channels angry young people’s pain into anti-social actions that put them at risk of getting further screwed-up entangled in the legal system. I’ve walked through many protests and have seen no shortage of mentally ill participants being egged-on into putting themselves at risk of arrest or self-harm.

      Imagine if rather than encouraging and take advantage of his rage, cheering him on as he’s kicking fire trucks, his comrades instead helped him find a positive outlet. Maybe he’d still be alive. Ultimately, the Darwin Award analogy in this case isn’t so much about Joey as it is about the movement that helped bring him to this point. It’s stupid, and he’d have been better off without it- we all would.

      • Jacob Roe on October 26, 2015 at 11:54
      • Reply

      What it may highlight is that many of these protesters are working out untreated mental health conditions—like, even if one is a straight-up Marxist, their beliefs in “justice”, “society”, etc. are immaterial flimflam, illusions sold by the Ruling Class in order to distract the Ruled Class from their power, by trapping them in delusional duality—justice, injustice, social, antisocial, if one is a strict materialist, these things are all material, not transcendental. So, that one believes it is just to feed the poor, that is, in Timothy Leary’s language, a function of “set and setting”, not of any contact with any transcendental truth on the matter. Feed the poor, or don’t, whatever conclusion you come to is a contingent neurobiological fact, not you being in touch with some ineffable metaphysical reality concerning right and wrong.

      Way back in the days of Occupy Vancouver, I was violently attacked by several of them who disagreed with something I had written on a sign. I mean, that is basically unmedicated religious fundamentalism, whether one has a “secular denomination” or otherwise, to attack someone over holding a sign, no matter what it says. Peaceful protest is great, that is a part of our democratic tradition in Canada. Violently intimidating people, damaging property, those things are counterproductive and only seem productive to the mentally ill.

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