Tuesday, 3 March 2009

just a moment to review ...

Up, Down, In This Thread.

Obey, Andre the Giant, Shepard FaireyReview, Revert ... Recuse, Refuse, Reject, and ... Renounce :-)

This blog started with Moses, coming from a series of sermons by Michael Ward at Central United Church in Calgary. A-and then, a few Sundays ago I was listening to Louise Granahan at Beaches United in Toronto - only caught the final installment of her take on Jonah - but I am reminded now to look at Jonah and Elijah and possibly Job more closely, and with the perspective picked up from Ivan Illich & Jacques Ellul that modern-day 'Christians' represent a subversion or a corruption of Christianity rather than a legitimate tradition.

Really just an old fart rolling in the dog-shit - I was dismayed that day to find a new (and presumably politically correct-er :-) version of the Lord's Prayer in use at Beaches United, oh well ... ho hum ... who cares?! The United Church of Canada is nothing more than someone's vermiform appendix (maybe belonging to wazzizname? ... the CUPE guy ... yeah, got it, Sid Ryan) - a tonsil, an infected tonsil maybe.


But to continue ... re-started is more accurate. I stopped the old blog last August. I thought that I would just stop, but ... it was easier said than done. Some kinn'a endorphins goin' on eh? Sitting at this keyboard smoking and drinking coffee. I have been reading Gabor Maté's Hungry Ghosts (which I do not recommend for a number of reasons) but I would not say this is an addiction, more just something to do now that the world seems to have let go of me entirely. Got to fill in the time somehow eh? Got to fill some space, wait for something to happen like Callisto in Thomas Pynchon's Entropy, make something happen ... whatever

Lately it has all been the Braidwood Inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's death, and the Saskatoon trial of Curtis Dagenais. Neither of these stories would even be stories if there had been any adults in the room, or if the few who were there had acted or been listened to.

In the case of Robert Dziekanski, Sima Ashrafinia had all the information she needed but didn't act decisively. Why not? Easy to look at it from this distance, and I would not judge the woman for the world - she is clearly a 'good woman' a good person. For a few minutes, since she is from Iran, I thought she might be a Baha'i, but she is not. Something stopped her from taking initiative - most likely one of the usual suspects ...

The other obvious adult, Kirby Graeme came onto the scene too late.

In Spiritwood, Rob Clarke was the adult, and he was in the room, and he did act - told the boys and girls not to chase Curt Dagenais, to let the man cool down and go after him the next morning. But they ignored their boss! It looks to me like the RCMP culture is at fault here, or that is, the lack of it. There have been big changes over the past decades, women on the force, Sikhs complete with turbans; effectively an entire changing of the guard. What has obviously been lost is honour, honesty, responsibility, character - values.

Kees Van Dongen, Lepreuses P114, Henry de MontherlantIn short, I think many RCMP officers no longer know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Savvy has either been replaced with inflexible moral certainty or by procedures and guidelines. They have moved farther and farther away from the people they are serving (there's that subject/object split showing its ugly face again). Indeed, one of the things I became aware of while 'researching' the Spiritwood debacle, was the apparent prevalence of RCMP officers marrying one another. Deep insecurities in evidence.

A digression - I was once a Fire Chief, and for a few years got to hang out with cops and firemen. There is a real sub-culture here. You are treated very well wherever you go - as soon as they know you are on the inside. This is natural in a way, both firemen and police regularly face problematic situations which ordinary citizens do not. So they tend to socialize, all good. The down side comes when one of them steps out of line and they circle the waggons to protect him or her.

Ultimately the authority and responsibility have to go to the top man. Giuliano Zaccardelli went out defiantly, saying, "There is not one moment, one decision or one circumstance of my career, that I would change." Weasel Asshole! And the man who has replaced him, William Elliott, is a fat bureaucrat, and, as we get to know him better, a compromiser and an ass-coverer.

The best hope is that municipalities in western Canada simply stop using the Mounties as their police forces. This will take the RCMP off the front-lines, and they will become just another Ottawa problem. This is probably unlikely ...

Local police forces, manned by local citizens, may become corrupt, witness the southern United States during segregation. But their corruption has less scope, and in the passage of time will be corrected because they are local - people will know them, who they are, what their characters are and so forth. And some local police forces in Canada have very good reputations - witness the RNC Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Others are worse than the Mounties (if that is possible), witness Sureté Québec - but Québec is, of course, special.

Another possibility is revolt - as the details of what was done to Robert Dziekanski come out, and the corruption is revealed at all levels, there is lots of rage showing itself across the country. But Canada is ultimately complacent and regardless of the outcome of the Braidwood Inquiry I don't think anything of this kind will develop.

So we depend upon one man, Thomas Braidwood, to make up his mind and decide how far he will take it. Interesting.

Colonel Sanders, CheerleadersBut that wasn't what I started out to say. This blogging has got to stop. I am putting most of my energy into it and getting nothing whatsoever back. Even the people who say they want to know me better don't read it, or, if they do, say nothing to me about it. My son said to me, "What are you doing?" A-and I said, "Well, blogging, reading, riding the streetcars." Then we laughed - but there it is. QED. There may be a few posts about the process of finding another 'way', but that's (gotta be) IT.

If I find anything really juicy following along Jonah, Elijah and Job I will let y'all know some other way :-)

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death's honesty
Won't fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness that plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I've had enough
What else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.

     Brother Bob, Gates of Eden, 1965.

She's a brown-skin woman,
but I
Love her just the same.

     Outlaw Blues, 1965.



Marjaleena Repo said...

You are totally right about "no aduls in the room," in both the Dagenais and Dziekanski cases. Witnessing the Dagenais trial in Saskatoon that thought has been on my mind all through: "No grown-up in charge — and these are the consequences!"

Rob Clarke WAS in charge, but did not appear to demand that his orders were actually followed; he soon became part of the Rambo-style operation himself. It is yet to be determined who gave the order to ram Dagenais truck (when it had already stopped) and draw guns on him.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

David Wilson said...

yeah, Rob Clarke, an adult but no paragon, it must have been a handful being the rooster in that hen-house, no wonder if he was pussy-whipped, and caught in a mesh of cross pressures and conflicting loyalties - white/native, cop/citizen, all of it, BUT at the beginning he did the right thing, or tried to at least