…..I am not keen on what the police have become – a quasi-military gang of security for corporations and rulers seemingly given license to harass, intimidate and, in the latest oft-repeated offense, kill ‘ordinary’ people like George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Change in community policing is long overdue but 90% of the public are apathetic (until they get a speeding ticket). We care but we do not care enough to do anything about it. And the system relies on our unconscious apathy.
We (the governed) are like one-ton steers being led on a flimsy tether by a little kid (the government)who thinks he is special. That HAS to change.
Slight tangent: When I ran a medical clinic in Vancouver’s skid row, we had a policy never to call the police. There were reasons for that; chief amongst them was that they would not come! We were literally one block from the police station and, on the two occasions over five years that we really needed a strong presence to protect staff and patients and we called, they never showed up! They neither served nor protected.
The second reason was that, for the most part, most of the staff could diffuse a ‘hot’ situation with a calm and gentle approach. And we had ‘hot situations’ every day. Anything short of a person with a gun we could handle and we did. And we never had to face a gun.
The third reason was that the police always seemed to get it wrong (for the perp and the community). They would use force and scream orders at a totally zoned-out raving schizophrenic who was incapable of complying or cooperating and then that poor sap would suffer their ire to the point of being beaten up, handcuffed and arrested. None of the social services in Skid Row relied on the police. It was too dangerous for everyone – public, patients, staff.
We did not hate the police, they just could NOT do their supposed job right.
Of course there is a need for a rapid response to an escalating violence but, as a rule, two healthy, calm, intelligent, unarmed human beings can diffuse the situation and do so rather quickly. Send in the guns when some nut is on top of a building with a rifle and a bucket of ammo.
The community needs a ‘force’ but not a big one. What the community REALLY needs is more ‘social-worky-types’ that actually do the ‘day-to-day, walk-the-beat, show-the-badge policing’ and they can leave the macho-military, bullying crap to a carefully selected few. Save the tough guys for the other nutty gangs. The best part for the cities is that it would be a lot cheaper and way more civilized for everyone.
I am NOT going to go on and on about that except to use it as the intro to the observation that the larger ‘system’ is clearly breaking down. Especially in the US. Leaving aside the police problems, the whole justice system is being exposed as a farce and an injustice – especially to minorities and increasingly to the lower and middle class. So is their health care system and their education system. No one really cared all that much because the US held out the promise of ‘getting rich’ and, so long as you could stay in the game (translation: out of jail and healthy), you could maybe get rich (and remain ignorant and apathetic to the other issues).
But that get-rich system has also proven flawed. The rich are getting richer and the poor are just getting poorer. The American-style of a Capitalist economy is riddled with fraud, lies, double-standards and growing inequality. And we, in Canada, are not much better. That truth is emerging and more and more of the oppressed are coming together. Black Lives Matter marches are usually about 60% Black and 40% White with significant number of Hispanics and Asians.
So, what is the answer?
I have all sorts of answers and opinions but all of them are built somewhat on what I know of the existing system. In other words, my long-steeped immersion in the system gives me some knowledge of it but NOT any knowledge of what is OUTSIDE that system (except the newly discovered mini system of barter, in-kind payment and gifting of the off-grid community). I am still ‘in the box’ trying to think outside of it.
Nature’s answer is just to burn it all down and start again.
THAT natural crack in the BIG wall was revealed again as the Minneapolis rioters set the police Third precinct building on fire. The masses revolted and fought back in a real ‘burn it down’ revolutionary way. Of course, no one wants violence and destruction but the Governor of Minnesota pleading for peace, and the Orange president threatening to shoot the protesters and now to ‘unleash the vicious dogs’, revealed the fear in the establishment of the masses revolting.
China showed that same fear over the very peaceful pro Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Basically, the governments are giant, paper facades built on the flimsy foundation of the passive apathy and lack of unity of the masses. Plus, the bastards are armed. We live in organized gangster-land.
If the masses ever get really hungry and angry about it AND organized, look out! The result will not be peaceful.
I’ve heard the US described recently as a failed state. From the outside that is what it looks like. The dominos are falling. The list of failed states is getting ever longer. As you mentioned, even countries that are expert at putting a lid on it may well be overrun. Even countries that practise humane, social distance (and I’m not talking about the virus here) and treat their citizens with common decency, won’t be able to avoid it. They will soon be overwhelmed by anarchy as people try to escape tyranny and poverty. We have been warned that uncontrolled climate change is not compatible with a civilised world. So far we have failed to listen on the only scale that matters – a global scale. Off-grid, socially isolated tribes will not work. The world is too small. Sorry. Global cooperation and a respect for science and a commitment to universal human rights, and a rules-based order. It has been tried before. The United Nations. Too many people think it is a global conspiracy. That is because they can’t do what they want. But they can do a lot as nation states so long as they sign to some universal values (rather than Bill of Rights. That has not gone well). It is never going to happen. Catch 22. We can die trying or die if we don’t. But only atheists die for good, right?
I do not think being OTG is a panacea, a complete answer or even a perfect short-term solution. But it is further away and distance counts. Further equals safer.
When the world goes all to hell, we’ll all go with it but we’ll likely go last. As for your listing of the forces at work including climate change, I agree. We could likely ‘weather’ any one of them, maybe even two of them. But this seems to be turning into the perfect storm. A corrupt financial and political system presided over by an imbecile, a global pandemic, a world with festering wars all over the place, inequality, pollution, disunity, general mismanagement and all at a time when China is turning the status quo on it’s head and Russia has embraced war-by-meddling. I am now so old that I can no longer dual-task. One thing at a time for me. And please don’t talk while I am doing it. I can’t imagine what juggling all those much larger balls must be like…..in fact, I can’t imagine it because no one is doing it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Last four sentences. Me too.
According to the CBC 70 percent of the deaths at the hands of the police across Canada between the years of 2000 and 2017 suffered from mental health issues or were drug addicted. As you mentioned some of the killed were having mental dissociative episodes. Insane man with knife shot and killed by police. I see the policing issues in the USA as not equivalent to Canadian policing Tragedies. In the USA, “ Driving while black’’ sometimes leads to fatal police interactions. About 25 persons In Canada are killed by the police each year.
We are different….no question. But the ‘police mindset’, the ‘police culture’ is similar. Them vs us. Gang mentality. In Canada, shooting innocents is rare. But neck-squashing, get-on-the-ground-screaming and general bullying is common. Our police do not have to shoot because Canadians are generally unarmed. But plenty of Indigenous people have been left on a frozen road in the middle of a prairie winter and plenty of ‘lost women’ weren’t even looked for. We are not as bad but we are not good. Of course the US shoots more of their people – the people themselves have embraced the ‘open-carry’, concealed-carry gun ownership mindset. If I was an American cop, I would be much more frightened than if I was a Canadian cop.
We share an openly bigoted mindset with some Americans. Your comment upon the bigotry towards Indigenous persons North and South of the border: Wounded Knee, Oka and similar incidents is a point well taken. Yes, some police in Canada are bigots as are some Canadians bigoted. But to speak about a police mindset in Canada…?
Well…….I am speaking from personal experience – from what I have seen. Even my wife was appalled at one instance that, in itself, has her ‘off-put’ with the police and we are not talking incidents like Robert Dziekanski being tasered to death at YVR or the shooting of Sammy Yatim in an empty bus in Toronto. We have ‘seen’ and we have ‘felt’. That, of course, does not mean anything. Our personal experiences are not a deeply researched, data-mined, double-blind study done by professors over several years. We could be wrong. Furthermore, I worked with delinquent youth and skid row denizens and refugees. My exposure is somewhat ‘different’ than is that of another person living and working in a more civilized environment. Still, that is what I think. That is what I can debate (even if I lose). That is what it seems like to me.
The problems with the police might be solved by teaming up a “normal” police officer, who knows the “hard skills” like arresting, firing a gun, writing a speed ticket, with a second officer trained in the soft skills. In that way, with every intervention, you would have 2 views on the situation, and you could use the approach that works best for that kind of situation. And then have some speciales SWAT team standing by for the special cases that require a hard intervention. Also bringing back cops to neigbourhoods will and does work. We are in some areas returning to a system of what we call a “precinct cop – sorry difficult to translate), where a cop is assigned to a neigbourhood. He or she really KNWOS the community, often travels by bike as to be more approachable and often even pays house calls from time to time with people in difficulties to find out what is going on before situation escalates.
For the global situation, I don’t think there’s a fast solution, the system has been corrupt for so long and there is no “quick fix”, but people are getting tired about the way things are handled, that’s for sure! There was a cringe of hope that with COVID there would be a new way of thinking, that finally people would see “the light”. But as situation slowly begins to normalise, it seems most of use are falling back in the old, bad habits. AGAIN more traffic jams, more accidents, more people annoyed if they have to stand in line 2 minutes, everyone seems to be getting back in the fast spinning wheel and hurrying from 1 place to another. So we don’t learn from our mistakes and we fall back quickly in to our old habits. So i’m quite pessimistic of how things will evolve. I’m afraid there will be revolution (anarchy) rather then positive evolution….also simply because the big beast (government and big money) simply cling to their current status and wealth
Not sure corrupt is correct term. The issue is the fostering of inequality. Case in point is many workers do not have paid sick leave. It is not corrupt not to provide ones employees with sick leave but without sick leave inequality happens.
China showed extreme restraint in dealing with the Hong Kong thugs. These so called Democracy protesters waving US and UK flags on Chinese soil burned people alive, beat anyone who dared to voice one word of different opinion, even beat people who simply spoke Mandarin. They literally almost destroyed Hong Kong and you call them peaceful?
I agree, Wing. China showed restraint for a long time. Mind you, it was China that reneged on the one-country, two systems deal. And I am guessing that you have more sources of information than do I so your opinion counts more. But my friends in HK are divided on the issue. The older ones want harmony at all costs and excuse the government for anything. The younger ones claim they were 100% peaceful protesters and they attribute the ‘thuggery’ to Mainland plants. In other words, they accuse the government of playing ‘black flag’ by sending in disruptors to add the ‘thug’ component so that they (PRC) could justify force. The Joshua Wongs and the booksellers did not look like anarchists to them. I confess that seeing pictures of the thugs all being dressed the same – white t-shirts and jeans suggested that THAT element was organized and it was clear that they were not WITH the student protesters. But I have been wrong before. This may be one of them.
1.4 billion chinese people want Taiwan back, 1.4 billion chinese people want Hong Kong back. 1.4 billion chinese people enjoy far more everyday freedom where it counts then the so called Democracy in the West. These spoiled brats in Hong Kong are pure traitors and want to divide and break up China. No country in the world would allow that. With all your experience in life, i cant imagine you would fall for the conspiracy theory of planters. PRC wants a free and prosperous Hong Kong more then anyone else, because it is part of China. You are so wrong on this one Dave, just like every China bashing Westerners who have never even set foot in China. Canadians are so ingrained with the everyday biased and fear mongering of China they are completely out of touch with the reality of the Chinese society. Let me repeat, 1.4 Chinese people live far more freely and safely then the so called free world. I know not because I am a CCP sympathizer but because I have been on both side myself.
this is a Ipsos poll.
90% of Chinese citizens believe their country is heading the right direction.
where ever US goes, it will bring war, death, torture, suffering and human tragedy. Yet, canada is still following US.
maybe the percentage is so high in China because more people are used to following the path of the party. Mind you, I also don’t like the way the US handles things, but China is quite the opposite
Looking at the actions of the police might be too a narrow of a focus. The broader issue appears to be bigotry. I recall many examples of historical bigotry enshrined in Canadian laws: The internment of Canadian citizens during WW II: Japanese Canadians, German Canadians, Eastern European Canadians, Communist Canadians, conscientious objectors, and many others. Prior to that Canada had the Asia exclusion laws that were on the books until the 1950s. Many examples of bigotry continue in Canada today. With social media the opportunities for bigotry are now far richer. The result of which contributes to a lack of civility and social cohesion. Part of the issue is the labeling. of others and the a blaming and shaming culture by some. Being civil and kind is one tiny step towards increased social cohesion.
No question – bigotry and racism and poverty and…the list goes on….all play a role. But, bottom line: the police have alienated themselves from the common citizen and have adopted dysfunctional methods in their work. I do not blame the individuals. The police have an ugly culture and a rosy-cheeked new hire lives and works with a heavy, macho, cynical and polarized peer group. If you lie with dogs, you get their fleas.
That many of the police in Canada have deeply held views about the value and worth of certain Canadian citizens has some truth. Your point about the old hands inculcating the new officers with the culture which the long standing officers prefer is a deep concern. But community policing is changing old cultural views. The old guard is retiring. A young police officer carrying a bigotry chip on his or her shoulders faces future career complications and limitations. Harassment of officers by other officers often ends Now in discipline or dismissal. The bad old days are under scrutiny.
I think that is largely true….I have not been in the morass of ‘street life’ now for some time. Much of what I know is from experiences past. I confess to making the ‘leap’ when I see the George Floyds and the unbelievable weekly carnage when watching TV in Arizona a couple years back. Driving while Black is real. But Robert Dziekanski being tasered to death at YVR and the shooting of Sammy Yatim was also real and somewhat more current. And the occasional stupid police crap like the MV Higgit in front of my house was real. I think change may be afoot but it is not up to speed as of yet. ….I think.
No one is denying your feelings. Feelings are good. No one is challenging your feelings please be assured of that. You are entitled to your observations and to your very strong feelings about what you have seen. But it might be a stretch to express your feelings as what ought to be recognized as the case.
Maybe……but maybe I am right, too…..I have certainly been wrong before. But I also have been right before. We’ll see. Don’t forget, a lot of life is nuanced, vague, unknown and unknowable. There are no studies, there is no proof.
Sometimes we have to go with inferential scanning and direct experience. In fact, we all do go with inferential scanning and now, with the news being called fake and science being called fraud, some people are going with nothing but IS. At least I have Colin Kaepernick, MLK, and thousands and thousands of protesters agreeing with me. And, in BC we just had two more people die ‘while being arrested’ in the last few days . Inference? Yes. Circumstantial? Yes. Experience? Yes. Definitive proof? No. That’s why this is a Blog and not an article in the New York Times.
Are you referring to the Richmond incident May 30, 2020, where a mall cop was in a struggle with a man in medical distress. The RCMP put the man in cuffs and he died later in hospital. Cause of death offers four possibilities. As for appeals to the crowd…crowds as they looted in Minneapolis St Paul, Minnesota some might agree with the crowd. But the looting was not done by the police.
Yes. And, as crazy and weird as the guy may have been, does he have to die? He did NOT die at the hospital, he was PRONOUNCED dead at the hospital. The guy died after the police got there, handcuffed him and before the hospital could do anything. I am NOT even saying that the police did anything wrong – every case is different. I am just saying that in one or two days two more people died in the custody of police. Yes, I understand very well that some cases are the police being there during a traumatic incident and so, by circumstance they are associated. And sometimes the deceased died from choking on their own vomit while in jail….and that is considered just an accident. But, if someone is so drunk that they are handcuffed unconscious and put in a jail cell(rather than detox) then a certain ‘duty of care’ is obligatory. Neglect in that case was an accessory to death.
Do not get me wrong…I KNOW first hand what it is like to get burnt out and defeated trying to serve and protect. My last year in skid row was marked by my rapidly decreasing sympathy and my equally as increasing apathy. By the time I left, I just wanted to Napalm the whole area. But that is because I was spent, exhausted and depressed by it all. I really should not have remained another day. I was no longer fit to do the job. I could easily have been next to be accused of dereliction of duty. I get it. But that does NOT change the fact that the job needs doing and the police don’t/can’t/won’t do it anymore. Also bear in mind that we/I dealt with hundreds of drug-zombies a day. At least three or four were violent and threatening. Most police don’t have it that intense every day. Also bear in mind, that I had no back-up, not even a fellow-staffer. Nor was I paid like they are. Nor did I have the benefits. AND I NEVER KILLED ANYONE.
What was the second one?
“PRC wants a free and prosperous Hong Kong”
Free and Prosperous.!?!?!
The PRC propaganda machines are alive and well.
Go to Tiananem Square on June 3 or June 4th for the 21st anniversary of the massacre and hold up a sign asking one, simple, question.
“How many died?
You’ll find out how “free” you are.
Actually, my mistake its the 31st anniversary of the Tiananem Massacre and STILL, most mainland Chinese have never heard of it……….sad.
Dont know your own history yet you lecture us about a “free” society.
“1.4 billion chinese people want Taiwan back, 1.4 billion chinese people want Hong Kong back. …”
The only problem with that is…..
What if Taiwan ( a FREE Nation) doesnt want to be part of a communist dictatorship?
60 million people with no say in their life and how they freely CHOOSE to live it?
Just ask Tibetans how much they “love” life under the glorious PRC.
Has the atheist PRC govt “chosen” a new Dali Llama yet?
Ever since they arrested a 7 year old child and his parents ( making him the youngest political prisoner on the planet) as the 11th incarnation of the Dali back in 1989 ( the same year as the Tiananem Square Massacre)…………. no one has seen or heard from the child.
Kind of like the two Canadians swooped up 500 + days ago on “spying charges” mere days after Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport on an International warrant.
A typically spiteful childish PRC response to a legally executed warrant.
But is all about the PRC “Saving Face” in the eyes of 1.4 billion uninformed comrades.
Perhaps Meng arrogantly expected Canada to ignore her warrant because she was rich and her father was a powerful ally of the leaders of the PRC?
But you can be sure her “gilded cage” in the richest neighbourhood in Vancouver has much nicer meals than the slop served in Chinese prisons.
Don’t lecture Canadians Wing.
We have a far far far better idea of the truth and a slogan spewing, closet communist, with delusions of world domination.
Take the propaganda and sell it somewhere else Wing.
Its not flying here.