Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Archive for September 2009

A half step in the right direction

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BC’s Minister of Housing, Rich Coleman is proposing new legislation that allows police the authority to force a homeless person into a shelter in times of particularly inclement weather.  Well, I guess it’s a start.

But realistically, the situation is getting absolutely dire on our streets as they are gradually being taken over by what are euphemistically called “the homeless” in our ever-so-correct society.

I was listening to the Bill Good show on CKNW this morning and one caller referred to his weekend sojourn to Gastown.  He described people urinating on the street nearby the cruise ship terminal amongst other horrors.  He said it would be a long time before he and his partner returned to Gastown.

This is nuts.  Gastown is the cradle of history for Vancouver and the local business association has done yeoman’s work to try and make Gastown the tourist area it richly deserves to be.  But they are continually handcuffed by the poverty pimps who are convinced that homelessness, addiction and indeed, pissing on the side of a century old tourist attraction is a right.

This is what we have reaped from the seeds sown by our permissive, liberal society.

The “homeless” may well be without homes in most cases.  But, the reality is that these people are the most marginalized in our society, victims of significant mental health issues for the most part which is exacerbated by adding addictions such as crack cocaine or heroin.  The politically correct term in vogue today is “dual diagnosis.”

But much of the problem has been caused by the political left and their social engineering.  The problem with any idea born of good intention and generally applied, is the resulting unintended consequences.  Such is the case with closing down the mental health institutions for all but the most severe of the insane.

The test for the police, as things sit in jurisdictions across the country, is the person a threat to themselves or others?  If so, the police may apprehend and take the individual to the nearest ER with a Psyche Assessment Unit (PAU).  Once there, they must sit and wait, often for hours, until the patient is assessed by physicians who sign off that the person has taken a little trip on the dis-Oriented Express and the hospital will take custody of the individual for what is usually only a relatively short period of time.

But that is only for those who are an actual danger to themselves or others.  This is the revolving door on our mental healthcare system.

The original idea, as I understand it, was to allow those who posed no danger to be released into the community with the intent of helping them integrate into society.  We formed community mental health teams who went around trying to manage this Sissyphean task. This was in the enlightened 70’s.  Unfortunately, society is still paying the costs of that particular piece of nonsense.

There is no question that the sanitariums of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were houses of horror in their own right.  Read Ken Kesey’s “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” to gain that understanding. But allowing folks who, for a variety of reasons, are incapable of caring for themselves out into the community out is, in itself, insane.

As an example, there is a female resident of a SRO hotel in the Gastown area who is frankly, nuts, to use that less than clinical description.  I may not be a shrink, but I know nuts when I see it.

At any rate, the law of unintended consequences is aptly demonstrated in her case.  Since the so-called Supervised Injection Site (Insite) opened in the 100 block of East Hastings in Vancouver, she has become a heroin addict when she was not “dual diagnosis” before that.

What happened?

Well, the trendies and the hand-wringers who were convinced the SIS would save hundreds of lives of junkies who were overdosing, began referring to the SIS as the “Safe Injection Site.”

Oh that’s alright then. If it’s safe, so she thought, she could go there and be “safe.”  Of course this necessitated her using heroin in order to be safe.  And so she became a heroin addict to go along with her existing paranoid delusional / schizophrenic state and all the while, she was being watched over by well-meaning provincial government workers.

The poverty pimps try all manner of spin to make you think they are doing good things with these folks.  Look at the term “Needle Exchange.”  The next time a dirty needle is exchanged for a clean one will be the first time.  It is a needle dispensing system and nothing more.  Walk around the streets of the Downtown Eastside or Strathcona in Vancouver, 97th St. In Edmonton, 10th Ave. in Calgary or the Church and Jervis area in Toronto and you will find evidence of this littering the curbs, parking lots and unfortunately, even school playgrounds.

We don’t want to risk a junkie getting HIV so we shovel needles off a truck, only to risk the health of an innocent child?  Another one of those unintended consequences I suppose.

Coleman is on the right track with his effort which will have the hand-wringers setting their hair on fire.  Bet on that.  But the reality is that Coleman’s initiative is only a half-measure.  Unless and until governments across Canada reopen secure containment and treatment facilities for the mentally ill, this is little more than a band-aid on an axe wound.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

September 22, 2009 at 1:54 am

Posted in 1

Those truculent Liberals

with one comment


So, it would seem the prospect of our annual federal election has dissipated for the moment thanks largely to NDP leader Jack Layton’s ability to master the incredibly obvious.  Pity Michael Ignatieff hadn’t the same basic skill set.


But then Liberal arrogance is nothing new in this country.


I was amused to read the story that ran today on the amount of money spent by various government departments on golf balls and tees.  The winner was the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation who spent a whopping $37,419 on golf balls and $7,967 on tees. Wow!



I’m a golfer and I can’t get my head around how many tees $7,967 would buy.


But bureaucrats with a sense of entitlement spending our money on frivalous things is nothing new. Would that it were.  No, what was really interesting from that story was this comment that appeared on the CTV website:


It’s a comfort during this recession to see that the conservatives are such wise managers of money, end of joke, laugh here! How dare they complain that the Liberals wasted money? Parliament worked until the conservatives took charge and they have wasted how much taxpayer money on their annual quest for a majority? Millions upon millions. Canada can’t afford the conservatives – we can do better with the Liberals!


It’s hard to know where to begin with that blind stupidity.


In the first instance, no matter what political critics might like to stand up on their hind legs and bleat about, profligate spending on stupid things by entitled bureaucrats is rarely the fault of whichever politicians happen to occupy the corner office at that time.  Unfortunately, the nameless, faceless bureaucrats who actually tend to run things do what they want with our money with a sense of righteousness and entitlement that would make the Artful Dodger blush.


Using discretionary budgets for things like golf balls is just not something that would ever get to the ministerial level unless that minister happend to evade all the bureaucrats in the civil service whose job it is to keep the minister occupied, and go poking around their department.


But what was really hard to take from the intellectually challenged individual that wrote that little bit of vitriolic nonsense – which I might add sounds a lot like the vitriolic nonsense that is forming the majority of the Liberal Party’s talking points these days – is the assertion that bureaucratic mischief with the public purse was the fault of the Tories and if only the Libs were back in power everthing would be different.


That’s really an “Oh my God! Stupid!” statement.  Consider the HRDC Billion Dollar Boondoggle (it was really three billion, but why quibble?), Adscam, Chuck Guite, their very own godfather Alfonse Gagliano, never mind the unholy alliance with Power Corp and the selling out of this country’s sovereignty to the government of the People’s Republic of China or Chretien’s own real estate deals on the back of napkins.  The administration of the last majority Liberal government was the most corrupt government this country has ever seen.  Bar none. There is not even a debatable second choice.


Don’t be surprised at the blind stupidity though.  Liberals all over seem to be afflicted with the same disease.  Look no further than the still alive (barely) former US President Jimmy Carter and his ‘anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist’ drivel.  People all over America are criticizing Obama because his socialist policies defy what they believe in, not because he is Black.  The last harbour of a liberal is to start name calling.  Any critic is racist or homophobe or Islamophobe or some other type of phobe yet to be invented.  I know, I’ve been called all manner of things over the years depending on whose ox was being gored.


The worst part is that neither Ignatieff, nor Carter nor the comment writer can ever establish any reasoned argument for their stated position.  In point of fact, when presented with a reasoned argument against their stated position they inevitably start name calling.


On the other hand, with dozens of MPs from all parties without vested pensions, all the election talk was likely just posing anyway.  Something that appears to be particularly suited to Michael Ignatieff.  With any luck, he will be unsuccessful in the next election, whenever that may be, and he will run off back to the USA and the ivied halls of Harvard.


See ya.


Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

September 18, 2009 at 3:47 am

Posted in 1

Let the punishment fit the crime

with 5 comments

Yesterday’s story in The Vancouver Sun (Dismissed in 2004, 2 Mounties keep jobs) should be the final chapter in the determined effort by the RCMP to get rid of two North Vancouver members for “trash talking” in text messages to each other using their on-board police computers.

That Constables Sat Dhaliwal and Deri Kinsey used inappropriate and offensive language is not in issue.  There is no doubt  they should not have said some of the things they did.  But the knee jerk reaction to fire them was wrong.  So said the Federal Court of Canada in 2007 and has now been upheld by an RCMP adjudication board.

I can’t imagine how many cops would be left standing if everyone was to lose their job for making an inappropriate comment or using a sexist or racist reference at some point in their career.  Does that make all cops sexist or racist?  Not in the least.  Hands up anyone who has never repeated or listened to a sexist or racist joke.  Ever tell a blonde joke?  That is sexist.  An Irish joke? That is racist.  But it doesn’t make you sexist or racist.  It makes you capable of laughing at ourselves.

Policing is a tough, emotional job.  You deal with the worst society has to offer on a day to day basis.  The only regular folks police typically deal with are victims.  Everyone else is either a criminal, thug, addict, gangster or smart ass punk.  You learn early on in the game that your original concepts about helping and making a difference are little more than  ideals that have little basis with reality.

Cops see the most horrible things and deal with the emotional impact that inevitably results by using so-called ‘locker room humour.’  They joke about things that would reduce the average person to a blubbering basket-case.  It is a survival method and is critical for their emotional health.

Are the jokes appropriate and politically correct?  Hardly ever.  Cops, in their humour, disparage dumb crooks gangsters, bikers, the brass, minorities, white people, females, males, traffic cops, internal affairs, paper pushers, journalists, politicians, government, bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, pretty much anyone who isn’t a street cop and some who are if it is felt they don’t carry their load or are cowards.

Do I condone the actions of Kinsey and Dhaliwal? No, but I won’t condemn them to the unemployment line as the Mountie brass tried to do. They should have received  a punishment that fit and counselled as to their future behaviour.  And that ultimately, is what the adjudication board decided.

At the end of the day, despite some of the criticisms of the police haters, members of the RCMP are simply human and fallible.  Just like you and me.  When they do something wrong, it is right that they be corrected. But, let the punishment be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

In Kinsey and Dhaliwal’s case, many of the comments they made were about a female co-worker who, uh, let’s just say,  got around a bit.  They used the sort of language that would make many folks blush. But they did so in what they believed were private conversations between themselves.

They didn’t deserve the public ‘execution’ they received.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

September 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Posted in 1