Sunday, 14 June 2015

To Serve Unprotected

Mayerthorpe, Moncton, St. Alberta and Edmonton: all places where law enforcement officers have been shot and killed by criminals. Let us not forget the 2014 shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo by jihadist Zehaf Bibeau in Ottawa.

First responders are the first line of defence for citizens and yet they are also left unprotected either by the law, the media or a shortage of proper equipment. In Moncton where three officers were shot by a deranged man on a rampage, it appears that some officers were not wearing any protective jackets. The reason is that the protective jacket is too heavy. The subsequent report on the shooting also reminded us that the officers may not have had the proper firearms to deal with the situation.
 In the United States there has been a rash of law enforcement execution by either would be terrorists or black criminals emboldened by racism rhetoric in the main stream media. There is no doubt that the situation in the U.S is far worse than in Canada, however it seems that in today’s world it is fair game to shoot at first responders no matter what the grievances or circumstances are, What may be disturbing to some is the way that events in the U.S is reported in the Canadian media. Too often the reports focus entirely on the violence exhibited by police officers when they address explosive situations. There is no doubt that there are always bad apples in every profession. However  the media tend to focus on ‘blue on black’ rather than ‘black on black’ incidents. Canadian media rarely report that 98% of blacks’ deaths are perpetrated by other blacks, either in the commission of a crime or innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The recent events in Baltimore demonstrated the wide gap between law enforcement and wanton destruction of a community. The problem is that the media tend to jump to conclusion without all the facts being revealed. Sure there are problems but to give credence that in Canada we may have the same racial problems are far from the truth. We have our problems but the situation can rapidly be acerbated by giving credence to statements like the one made  by  Toronto journalist and public intellectual Septembre Anderson who said that:” I see value in that violence’ when asked about events in Baltimore.
Furthermore the constant reports about the militarization of the police force maybe overplayed. Times have changed and police forces are faced with more dangerous confrontations every day. Terrorists and criminals, some of them equipped with their own armoured vehicle, think of nothing but to shoot at first responders, as  riots, racial and civic protests  get more violent. There is no need for excessive show of force in every situation, but the reality demands that any violent attack is responded in kind by the police.
In the debate about racial incidents we always bring forth the idea that we do not have enough diversity in our forces. However when a black Commissioner of Police supports  “carding” — the stopping and questioning of people by police and the recording and filing of details of those who aren’t under arrest or being detained — the Toronto Mayor promises to get rid of the procedure. Carding when done properly does not profile race but crime. However the courts must make the police accountable to ensure its proper usage. The Police is there to serve and protect but they should also be given the tools to do so, otherwise it will be the general public who will suffer.

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