March 04, 2005
The world we live in
A few weeks ago, The Vancouver Province newspaper had an opinion letter published the following letter:

I have been a police officer in British Columbia for 25 years...The rate of apprehension for various property crimes is disgusting.

While I do agree that some of the problem may lie with the police, I also believe there are other areas that need attention. I have dealt with numerous criminals who have committed crimes anywhere east of B.C. and come to B.C. to plead guilty.

Why? The courts in this jurisdiction generally give less severe penalties. Where people may serve time for an offence elsewhere, they receive conditional sentences or probation in B.C.
This was written by my brother. I don't let myself think of the daily grind that he goes through. A few years ago, he told us that the department he works for changed it's name to the Police Service, rather than Department, to try and soften their image. The superiors brought in goal setting and other corporate strategies to turn the department into politically correct entity. My brother was asked to list his goals on his performance review. He wrote 3 - "not get shot", "come home to my family" and "not to be carried by 6". It did not go over well. In fact, he was given a write up for insubordination.

What happened in Alberta yesterday is beyond tragic. Our innocence has been lost and the white elephant no one wants to address came barrelling through the fence fully charging. This could happen in BC or anywhere. The police are overworked, underfunded and are up against people with little regard for the justice system. Compounded by that are the inadequate sentences being levied. Yesterday, the opposition began calling for stronger sentences for those caught with a marijuana grow op. They asked for a minimum 4 years. 4 years? When I hear some of the sentences for much less crimes in the US looking at twice that, it makes me feel sick. For many many years, our justice system has erroded piece by piece. It is a joke in the criminal society. Many view the time and the fines as just cost of doing business.

Yesterday, the four Mounties who lost their lives were just another symptom of how far from the plot we are. All four had less than five years of service under their belt. One of the men only began service 17 days ago on Valentine's Day. They were assigned to surveillance on a farm suspected of being involved in growing marijuana and stolen property. The man living on the property regularly spouted off about killing cops, had a litany of charges on his record and was most recently convicted of mischief for installing a spike belt on his driveway to keep people out. His own father referred to him as a 'wicked devil'. Why he had a .308 semi-automatic rifle is beyond me, but I'm sure they're not hard to get if you want them.

It's easy to ask why the junior members were left there without more experienced officers. The truth is likely twofold, that there just aren't enough members available and that they hoped that the guy was all talk. Lots of people spout off about the police, but thankfully, very few actually do.

As I mentioned yesterday, my brother does not talk about his job. We don't ask. He will tell us humourous stories about things that happen from time to time, but we don't hear of the rest. We only know he's home, and he's ok. That's got to be enough. But he's hurting now...he's called my Mom about half a dozen times since yesterday and me about 4. For no reason, just to say hello, ask silly questions. This is when we know he's shaken. It's in what he doesn't say, rather than what he does. He's planning on taking the trip to Edmonton as soon as the funeral arrangements are made. That's a given. It's an unwritten rule that if you can pay your respects to your brothers, you do. He's on holidays right now, so he can.

Around 1980, a police officer was killed in the line of duty in my town. I remember it well. The scum left a courthouse downtown, took a taxi into Richmond, calmly walked up the steps of the local RCMP detatchment and opened fire on the first man he saw, Cst. Tom Agar. Cst. Agar was young, married with a young daughter and one on the way. His wife, who had the misfortune of arriving for lunch with him at the same time, saw her husband shot and went into labour, having their second daughter prematurely. For years, his name was synonymous with sacrifice. There were marathon runs in his name, and his family was given the upmost support. But googling him now, I find very little. We forget so quickly.

Four policemen murdered. This should be huge news, and in some degrees, it's getting more coverage than a lot of things. But the news is spotty. 5 minutes at the top of the newscast but that's all. If this was in the US, and 40 policemen killed (considering the population of the US is 10x that of Canada), television would be pre-empted. It would be everywhere and we wouldn't be able to get away from it. Why is that different here? Why is it possible for us to stick our heads in the sand and get away from it? This is not acceptable, this should rock us to the core. Have we finally come to the point that we are in such denial about the state of the country that we chose to gloss over such tragedy, lest we have to admit how bad things really have gotten?

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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Turning thirty and a half
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