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?
Four RCMP dead in Mayerthorpe and three RCMP dead in Moncton from long guns. Presumedly shot by individuals with mental health issues. Now DeGroot is dead! The DeGroot case is under investigation and the circumstance of his death as yet unknown is troubling. As is the case of Dziekanski unarmed, confused, only to be killed in a confrontation over non-compliance when challenged by police. .You are correct that mental health issues encite these incidents. I think the issues are deeper than mental health concerns and are caused by a Harper zeitgeist to polarize Canadians which empowers some and alienates others. Harper’s policies are not inclusive and are increasingly creating more people each day with a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness.
Harper speaking to an American Conservative Lobby group in 1997 as reported by the CBC said, “[S]ome basic facts about Canada that are relevant to my talk… Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.
In terms of the unemployed… don’t feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don’t feel bad about it themselves, as long as they’re receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance.”
As you point out Harper hid as one of these disaffected mad men committed suicide outside the meeting room door the Hall of Honour. The next day Harper teared up as he spoke of shared Canadian values in a speech in Parliament. (Is Harper’s shared value lack of empathy?) Harper later became his partisan self as he spun his tale of terrorism and terrorist cells. What do we call an action that without regard kills innocent people? If this killing is done by Canada in Iraq, isn’t that state terrorism? When did state sponsored terrorism become a shared Canadian value?
Callers to the CBC, comments on this page, my own views and those of my neighbours are all in agreement: the real danger is in the government abusing it’s power to make a mountain out of the October 22nd molehill. The shooter was a nut. End stop. Period. Leave it! Harper would do well to take a measure of the response that seems to be welling up: DO NOT TREAD ON ME!
I was sorry to hear/see of this kind of trouble brewing in Canada. But I must add, I was not surprised. When I was in PEI this summer, I witnessed a traffic stop on the loop. Three cruisers, front, back, and side, a tactical vehicle not far away. This is PEI, where the normal crime blotter reads like a large Sunday School picnic at a public park, where maybe a few drunks were found asleep in public. It was a bit of a reality check for me, and now I realize our slow but steady malignancy of mega-police-statism is beginning to impact our northern neighbors.
Glad someone’s awake, and good luck marshaling any kind of majority support. It would not be possible in the lower 48, as every nefarious “solution” to mostly non-problems always hides under the banner of needed action “for the public good.” The ignorati here vote automatically and in ever larger numbers in favor of so-labelled issues here, so most of us thinking folk have long ago given up voting as utterly futile.
I understand the feeling of futility-of-the-franchise. But I really think the most positive, constructive answer lies outside of that process anyway. I think we have to be the community we want. I think it goes back to the people. I really do. Small business. Local govt. Helping community. Local gardens. The whole ‘hippy’ thing. But voting OUT the worst of the bunch is also good. I vote simply to cast a cancelling vote against the mainstream parties. I always vote GREEN. I know they will not get in (might be their most attractive feature, now that I think about it). But it is a protest vote. It is ‘anybody but the BIG boys’. I was nauseated at Harper’s post-shooting address to the nation but Mulcair and Trudeau were only marginally better. They all spoke mainstream, terror-centric drivel.
Sounds pretty good to me – we don’t really have an organized lightning rod for discontent down here, save for maybe the “tea parties,” who have been co-opted out of meaningful existence and maligned away to insignificance by the mainstream press. At least a protest is registered for you by voting green.
And I wholeheartedly agree that we have to make change at the community level, as you said so well. That’s the only way meaningful change occurs. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
It will be interesting to see – from a distance. that is why I am here and not closer to the action. The action is getting scary.
As we reel from Wednesday’s terrible incident in Ottawa, it is time to reflect on the social safety net that has been disappearing from our schools, hospitals and society in general. The danger is that the Conservative government will overreact by erasing collective civil liberties while ignoring root causes. This man suffered from mental health issues. What he did was terrifying. That does not make him a terrorist.
Absolutely. And I would add that half the people shot and tasered are mentally ill and can be ‘talked down’. And I say this from years of experience in the field (albeit in a different era). Half of those may not have even committed a crime! More than half of those ‘resisting arrest’ charges are just thrown at the suspect for no other reason than they were not cheerily cooperative and the police are covering their backside for using excessive force.
The social safety net is, in my opinion, as much our fault as the government’s. We largely live apart from community nowadays. It is we who alienate, we who separate and we who reject. It is only when the person is isolated to the extent that they are mental does the state add their ambivalent and inhuman treatment to the equation. It is up to us first – as individuals – to make random acts of kindness, casual conversation and social involvement with others. If we don’t do that, we can be sure the government isn’t gonna fix it. They’ll probably just shoot it.
Long gone is Canada’s reputation as a Peace keeping nation. We would be much better to be helping the victims of war not adding to their misery. The same goes for empathy of the down and out. I recently attended a meeting on smart meters (Dumb) and viewing of ” Take back your power ” A real eye opener. I asked Dave Coles to attend Dave was the head of CEP and is now living in CR check Dave out he has a clear view of how things are and could be. Have a great day!