So, a nearly-certifiable mental drug addict ran into the parliament buildings and committed suicide-by-cop. Sadly, he felt compelled to take someone with him but (and this is not intended to diminish the memory of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo or the tragedy to his family in any way) so do all of the demented shooters-of-the-public.
The US has had more than their share of gun-toting maniacs over the last forty years. But we’ve had a few as well (i.e. Marc Lepine) and Norway had a loon of the same feather not long ago. The addled are everywhere. These people are 100% alienated, marginalized, desperate, mentally ill and usually under the influence of something chemical as well. They are dangerous. They are NOT terrorists.
But you know that.
Today’s headline: CBC – Harper Wants to Make Terror Arrests Easier. Seems Harper wants to make arrests easier where he could more logically have said ‘I want to make mental health and community care of the sick and disenfranchised a priority.’ It would have been a more directly related-to-the-facts reaction than suggesting easing of restrictions on arresting people. And, anyway, what could be easier than shootin’ them dead’? That lunatic who ran over a soldier with his car, overturned it in a ditch as a result of a high-speed chase with the cops, was simply executed. He was trapped in the car upside down in a ditch. No gun. They shot him where he sat.
And that was NOT an isolated case. Shooting and tasering willy-nilly is often the default reaction of police these days. See: Sammy Yatim. See Peter DeGroot, See Robt. Dziekanski. Arresting may not be easy but it seems pulling the trigger is getting easier.
Making terror arrests easier is really just saying, ‘Make arresting people easier’. That means innocent people as well as guilty people. That means fewer rights and freedoms for Canadians. That means less proof will be required for arrests. More jail time.
And that is a giant step towards a police state.
Well, it is really just another giant step. We’ve taken a few too many already.
But we haven’t objected much, now have we?
The US is intentionally militarizing it’s police forces. This is a fact. It is why small towns have SWAT teams and armoured vehicles. The bulk of it is hand-me-downs from the military. It is why the police are trained as they are. It is a conscious decision to focus military might inwards on citizens rather than outwards on foreign invaders. The Conservative/Republican thinking is (on the surface) that ‘we can’t afford a standing army anymore so let’s combine police and soldier functions so that we have, in effect, a standing army within the civilian population.’ Sort of a logical next-step in the military mind-set after having the Reserves.
That all this serves to create a secondary market for the military industrial complex is just a bonus to the economy.
And Canada is following suit. They sent a Swat team after Peter deGroot even though his sister offered to go talk him in. Mr. DeGroot was somewhat marginalized by his health and his vision and his general abilities. The eliminated him. And – in case you missed it – there was no charge, no proof of a crime.
While the poor, addled miscreant placed himself in a bulls-eye in the Centre block surrounded by Parliament security armed-to-the-teeth, Stephen Harper hid in a closet. I don’t blame him. His security probably made him do it and, let’s face it, the Prime Minister has to be considered a target for anyone making the moves that Michael Zihaf-Bibeau made. I would have hidden, too. But after learning the facts of the case, I would not be calling out for more powers to arrest , would I? I’d be trying to provide more care for the mentally ill and the marginalized, wouldn’t I?
Do you know why I would be such a nice guy instead of a hate mongering, dissembler and power-tripper? Do you know why I would not think to strengthen over-armed and trigger-happy bullies? Do you know why I would choose the path of compassion rather than power?
Because the path of repression and oppression doesn’t work. Even if people don’t openly resist, they resist in their hearts. It festers inside instead. It makes us all dangerous and suspicious of one another. It makes our country worse to live in and more vulnerable to real enemies. And it divides us.
The only reason civilized people accept government is for reasons of peace and security. Increased Swat-style security is not the way we want that in Canada. Harper is making yet another series of mistakes and he is tacitly asking our permission to accept them.
How are we going to answer?