When it comes to shrinking away from its responsibility, when it comes to providing exactly the opposite of what its name implies, when it comes to letting everyone down - not just the victims of crime but the entire population - nothing beats the good ol' Canadian justice system.
Seeing that things have finally started to quiet down in the good ol' USA - after a crazy summer dominated by all those rabid, angry, crazy, incensed right-wing teabaggers, birthers and townhall shouters with all their mad cries of "Socialism!" and "Fascism!" and "Obama was born in Kenya!" - I was thinking it might be safe to once again venture down there for a vacation.
It appears that the rednecks have put their guns away for the moment. At least until Obama tries to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
"Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game"
- Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"
Imagine, if you can, a justice system where justice is, in fact, part of the system.
Imagine a country where those in a position of power and authority can actually be held to account when they abuse it. A place where cops not only can't get away with beating on innocent people, but where those innocent people can in fact fight back in self-defense without finding themselves in prison convicted of "resisting arrest" and "assaulting a police officer".
Whether you've been following the sad, tragic tale of Robert Dziekanski's brutal death at the hands of those four RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport back in October 2007 or you're simply concerned about police brutality in general, you absolutely have to watch Terry Milewski's fantastic piece that aired earlier this week on CBC's flagship nightly news program, "The National" (see link below).
Specifically, everyone needs to see the interviews with Tunney Moriarty and Al Clarke, two retired RCMP officers who have a combined 61 years on the force between them. We're talking about two people who spent most of their working lives serving in the RCMP, but who now feel so incensed by the Dziekanski case and, particularly, the way it's been handled by the force that they feel they have no other choice but to speak out and speak up. And have they ever! These guys are a real inspiration.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows"
Cowards. That's the one word that continuously comes to mind when I hear about these out-of-control cops and their tasers.
There have been numerous cases of these weapons being unleashed on harmless victims in recent years, but I think two cases in particular highlight just how cowardly some police have become.
You who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears
Bob Dylan, "The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll"
The cops who brutally attacked newly-arrived immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007, tragically causing his death, will face absolutely no criminal charges. That's right, none.
A year ago when I wrote my sad and angry piece, "Kill, Duck and Cover: The RCMP Rant", I was outraged and sickened, but at least I knew that, with the video evidence the whole world had just seen, there would eventually be some sort of justice for Dziekanski and his heartbroken mother, Sofia Cisowski. But, sadly, I was wrong. There will be no justice. None whatsoever.
A man and a woman were sentenced today in Winnipeg for the kidnapping, imprisonment and rape of two young girls, aged 12 and 13. And we're not talking about some quick ordeal here. Far from it. One of these girls, the 12-year-old, was held for two months as a sex slave and continuously drugged, raped, tormented and tortured. The other girl was also raped numerous times, and she eventually became pregnant. The couple showed absolutely no remorse and asked for no forgiveness. So what kind of sentence do you think they received?
Imagine a law designed and used specifically to protect rapists and to punish those who are raped. A law - a whole legal system in fact (the Sharia Islamic law system) - that says rape doesn't actually happen, it's really just women fornicating.
In this legal system, with this form of "justice", 99% of rapists go free while many raped women are sent to prison to serve long sentences. Sound ridiculous? Sound impossible? Well, it exists alright, in a very real country called Pakistan, and thousands of very real women are wasting away in prison right at this very moment simply because they were raped.
Now here's something that even the Taliban might find extreme, unjust, ridiculous and barbaric. The government of Scotland has proposed a law to jail the parents of juvenile offenders/criminals. The kid steals a car - throw the mom in jail! The kid gets into a fight and stabs someone - send dad to prison! Make the bastard pay! If mom has died or run off, well then throw grandma in jail! What the hell? Someone's got to pay for junior's bad behavior.