So, prior to last week, I can’t recall the last time I heard about someone being decapitated. I understand that people die all the falling off of buildings and being struck by leaping sea rays. But I thought that, like powdered wigs and print news, were a thing of the distant past, that had gone out of style along with the guillotine.

I was wrong. In the last week, there have been a pair of horrific murders in vastly disparate regions of the world sharing this common thread – after the were finished stabbing, the assailants severed the heads of their victims and displayed them to terrified onlookers.

On Thursday, Vince Weiguang Li, a 40 year old Canadian newspaper delivery person with no prior criminal history sat down next to Tim Mclean on a Greyhound bus travelling from Edmonton to Winnipeg. Li then proceeded to stab his 23 year old seatmate to death with what one witness termed “a Rambo knife.” After terrified passengers abanodoned the bus and sealed the murder and victim inside, Li proceeded to decapitate McLean’s corpse and calmly carry the severed head to the front of the bus. Further reports imply that Li, while dismembering the corpse, may also have eaten his victim.

Fast forward to today, when a 35 year old as yet unnamed suspect on the tiny Greek island of Santorini was apprehended after being shot several times following a high speed car chase. And just why was he being chased by the police at a high speed? Well, because he killed his girlfriend and then went for a stroll along the streets of his village holding her decapitated head in his hands. Which is the sort of thing that tends to impel people to report you to the police.

While 2 reports in a week is probably not necessarily a spree, it’s a little troubling to think that otherwise normal people separated by continents both decided to cut off people’s heads. Here’s hoping this isn’t exactly a trend.

In other news, Russian author and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn died today aged 89, with his head still presumably attached. If you haven’t read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, you should really check it out. Brief, stark and stunningly told, I read it when I was 17 and it’s stayed with me ever since, one of two books (along with Jack Abbot’s prison memoir In The Belly of the Beast) stolen from a high school civics teacher that almost made up for the horrendous class.

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