Dr. Joti Samra interviewed on CTV News – Conspiracy trolls target B.C. victims of Vegas attack


(CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, October 27, 2017)


Some of the innocent people shot during the bloody Las Vegas massacre earlier this month are under attack once more, this time by online conspiracy theorists.


For weeks, internet trolls who are convinced the tragedy was faked have been spreading vitriol against the victims online, accusing them of being paid actors out to deceive the public.


Some of the injured, including Braden Matejka, a B.C. mechanic who was shot in the head, have even found themselves threatened with violence by misguided individuals who don’t believe what happened to them.


“I would shoot your head and see how your fake arse looks afterwards,” one commenter wrote to Matejka on Facebook.


“All these people are sellouts and should be hung for treason,” another conspiracy troll wrote on a YouTube video of Matejka in hospital.


The online abuse was so bad that Matejka reportedly deleted his social media accounts.


And he’s not the only local harassed for having been shot back in early October. Victoria’s Sheldon Mack, who suffered two gunshot wounds that ruptured his colon and injured his arm, has also faced accusations that he participated in an ill-defined global conspiracy.


When Mack posted a picture of himself in a hospital bed on Twitter, another user told him “we see through the charade” and linked to a messy, cobbled together document full of unsubstantiated claims about Vegas victims.


Mack did not want to be interviewed about the trolls but his father, former CTV anchor Hudson Mack, said the family is not engaging with conspiracy theorists online.


“We think it is unfortunate that anyone without actual knowledge of the incident and its aftermath would choose to perpetrate such misinformation,” he said in an email statement. “Rather than provide such people the attention they crave, we are focused instead on Sheldon’s recovery, which we are happy to report is going well.”


Labelling victims of tragedies, particularly those injured in gun violence in the U.S., as so-called “crisis actors” has been happening for years. Heartless trolls infamously attacked grieving parents whose children were slaughtered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.


Their conspiracy theories are usually vague, and often anti-Semitic. Some subscribers believe horrifying shootings are faked to sway public opinion in favour of gun control regulations.


None seem bothered by the harm they do to innocent victims and their families.


“It’s so horrific on so many levels,” said psychologist Dr. Joti Samra. “Here’s people who are dealing with a whole host of emotional reactions – post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, fear – their whole lives have been turned upside down. And then to have people on the outside that are making these ridiculous, outlandish, mean, hurtful statements, it’s terrible.”


Samra said as outlandish as their claims may seem to outsiders, there are plenty of people who truly believe them thanks to online echo chambers.


“There is this belief now if something’s on the internet that there’s truth behind it,” she told CTV News.


By engaging with fellow conspiracy theorists, and avoiding contrary evidence, people can end up swept up in seemingly unbelievable ideas, Samra said.


To view at source, click here.

Dr. Joti Samra interviewed on CTV News – Backlash as eggnog, Christmas décor appear in stores


(Josh K. Elliott, CTVNews.ca)


Canadians are pushing back against “holiday creep,” after eggnog and Christmas decorations started appearing on grocery store and retail shelves this week.


“It’s way too early,” shopper Jeremy Vandenbon told CTV Calgary, after spotting eggnog for sale at Safeway. “It’s not even Halloween yet and eggnog’s out.”


Shoppers at a Vancouver Costco were also irate about the Christmas lights, snowmen and other decorations that were recently put out on display.


“I hate Christmas until late December,” one shopper told CTV Vancouver.


“What’s Christmas stand for? Materialism or the good Lord?” another said.


However, one woman said she didn’t mind the early reminder about Christmas.


“it gives you that idea that, in the next few months, there’s going to be a big expense. I can start saving now,” she said.


Psychologist Joti Samra says that’s precisely why the “Christmas creep” can trigger such strong emotions.


“When we start to see this kind of heavy aggressive marketing that requires money… we get this kind of increased stress starting already,” she told CTV Vancouver.


Costco declined an interview request from CTV Vancouver. However, Safeway acknowledged rolling out its eggnog early, saying that the product was brought out in anticipation of Thanksgiving in October.


Marketing professor Patti Derbyshire says stocking eggnog early can have mixed results.


“The Christmas enthusiasts, they’ll be over the moon that they’ve got their eggnog earlier,” Derbyshire, of Mount Royal University, told CTV Calgary. “The recipe making can start earlier, the cocktails can start earlier.”


But she says customer backlash may lead to a lot of unused product because people either aren’t expecting to see it on the shelves, or are “choosing not to buy it because it’s just too soon.”


To view at source, click here.

Dr. Joti Samra interviewed on CTV evening news with Ben Miljure – ‘Decking the Halls’ before Summer’s End


(Alyse Kotyk, CTV Vancouver)


The back-to-school rush has come and gone and in its wake, Christmas decorations are creeping into Metro Vancouver stores.


Lights, trees, cards and crackers fill an entire aisle at Vancouver’s Costco and Safeway has stocked eggnog on its shelves. At Walmart, a number of outdoor lights were set up just across from the Halloween décor.


But while it’s still technically summer, this year’s start to the festive season has begun a little later than it did in 2016 when Costco was selling trees by early August.


According to experts, the trend of Christmas sales before summer’s end isn’t new. In fact, Christmas ads ran as early as mid-August back in the 1800s.


Even so, with Christmas still 98 days away, this year’s holiday spirit might be coming too early for some shoppers.


Some people who spoke to CTV News on Monday said they hate the early “Christmas creep.”


“What’s Christmas stand for? Materialism or the good lord?” one person asked.


Psychologist Joti Samra says many people associate holidays with financial stress, and that could be one reason early Christmas displays trigger such fierce debate.


“There is this feeling, when we start to see this heavy, aggressive marketing that requires money and funds, that we get this kind of increased stress starting already,” Samra said.


CTV News reached out to Costco but the company declined to do an interview – leaving their in-store Christmas displays to stand as their only statement on the matter.


To view at source, click here.

Dr. Joti Samra interviewed by Global News – Toddler Party Crashers




You’ve heard of wedding crashers, but what about toddler birthday crashers?


One Richmond mom is speaking out after allegedly being on the receiving end of a visit by some uninvited guests, and she said they appear to be repeat offenders.



On Saturday, Stephanie Wong and her husband threw their three-year-old son a birthday party at Richmond’s City Centre Community Centre.


She said everything was going well until they noticed two women who didn’t look familiar and were snapping photos in a photo booth.


She said something felt off, so she approached them to find out who they were.


“We actually asked them, ‘Do you mind telling me exactly where your family is, who you’re with?’ They pointed to a table with a lady with glasses,” she said.

 But when they approached the person that the pair had pointed out, she had no idea who the two were.


“By the time we went back to the photo booth, they took their photos, they left the room with a huge plate of food as well,” she said.


“Looking back at our photos, they actually took two photos at the photo booth and we have a photo of them helping themselves to food at the buffet table as well.”


Wong said the incident left her feeling unsettled afterwards, so she posted the photo to Facebook to see if anyone could identify the couple.


At least one person replied saying they recognized the pair, who had allegedly crashed another party and asked for cake and food there as well.


Others said they had similar encounters at parties in public facilities — where passersby assumed the event was public.


Wong said she has reported the incident to the community centre, who told her it had never heard of anything like this before.


CKNW is continuing to attempt to contact the alleged party crashers for comment.


City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend said the Wongs’ story is the first time he’s heard of anything like this occurring at one of the city’s community centres.


But Townsend added that community centres are meant to be public places.


“We encourage people to come and connect with their community there. We want them to be welcoming places. At the same time, safety and security are always a concern.”


He said that’s why it’s important for hosts of private events to keep tabs on guests.


Townsend added facility users can always post signage reminding patrons a private event is taking place.


To view at source, click here.


Dr. Joti Samra interviewed by Global News on Crane climbing Incident

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