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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Pixelated Lynching

The absurdity of much of the media and the general public’s response to the Robert Dziekanski affair defines reasoned explanation.  One Facebook group calling for action to be taken against the RCMP members involved in the death has close to eight thousand members.  The incident – more than a month old now –has been on the front page of virtually every paper every single day since the video of the incident was released.  On Saturday, the National Post devoted fully ten – count them, ten – pages of coverage to it.  Rather, I should say, at least ten.  I stopped counting at that point.  For all I know, there could have been a whole supplemental section devoted to the matter.  The Globe and Mail went so far as to describe the death as an “execution” - a judgement which has been echoed in print and pixels across the land.  Has everyone lost their minds?

It is often repeated that this death raises “troubling questions.”  And so it does.  However, I put it to you that the questions which should be asked are not those which are being asked – or are those which are likely to be asked by any wastefully expensive public inquiry into the matter.

An inquiry seems likely to focus upon the Taser itself and, more broadly, to lambast the RCMP for its glaring failure to greet a violently out-of-control man who they were summoned to subdue with milk and cookies.  It appears appalling possible to me that the RCMP members involved might well, either by their superiors or by senior politicians, be thrown under the bus to satisfy public bloodlust on some pathetic technicality.   

That’s a serious possibility here.  It’s worth recalling, to pick one example, that when Sergeant Ken Deane, responding to a violent Indian protest at Ipperwash in Ontario, shot and killed a man who he believed to be carrying a rifle – a necessary and entirely defensible act – his superiors and the government of Ontario shamefully allowed him to be tried and convicted for criminal negligence causing death.  Similarly, we should also remember that in the case of Rodney King – another case where video distorted the public mind – the officers involved were not only disgracefully put on trial for subduing a violent criminal who was high on drugs but then, when a jury correctly acquitted them, were further victimized by a vindictive Federal prosecution whose sole purpose was to satiate the appetites of the unwashed and illiterate masses.

It’s easy to see how these events will play out.  The force members involved are marked.  The only way to satisfy public anger will be to find something to stick against them.  It won’t be murder or manslaughter.  Instead, someone will find some minor charge to throw at them or some of them in order to satisfy the public.  And that’s a travesty.

So far as the RCMP members are concerned, what happened here?

We know the sequence of events.  This man was, for whatever reason, obviously unstable and violently out of control.  Airport security declined to deal with him an instead the RCMP were summoned to the scene.  When the RCMP arrived, their job wasn’t to attempt to talk sense into a deranged man who they knew not to speak English.  Their job was to subdue him.  When he resisted their lawful efforts to do so and reached for a weapon – a blunt object which, if used to strike could well have killed or injured one of the force members involved – they used what force they had at hand to subdue him and end the threat he posed.  I fail to see what exactly they are supposed to have done wrong here.

The police aren’t social workers.  They aren’t there to talk out-of-control people into being nice.  When the police are called and a person is violently out of control, it is the job of the police to bring that person under control.  Nothing more and nothing less.  They did that job and, unfortunately, Mr. Dziekanski died as a result.  Yes, it’s sad that a human life was lost – but the blame for that rests upon the person whose violent and dangerous actions forced the RCMP to use force against him.  If I go running through the streets with a replica rifle shouting threats at the general public, the RCMP would shoot me – and rightly so.  Their job is to, within a split second, respond to threats – not to wait until harm comes to themselves or others and then act.

The RCMP members involved in this incident were doing their jobs.  They were defending the public.  I don’t believe they deserve to be condemned for that.  I will have no part in an ill-informed pixelated lynching of the sort we now see taking place before us.

Yet still, some troubling questions do linger – and ought to be addressed.

Primarily: why was someone with the background and skills of Mr. Dziekanski being allowed into Canada in the first place?  How exactly did we come to have an immigration policy wherein we would allow an unemployed (and quite possibly close to unemployable) man in his early forties – a man who didn’t speak a word of English and had a criminal record – come to Canada to live with his sixty-something mother?  That’s an outrage worth holding an inquiry over.  No wonder my taxes are so high.

Second: I, for one, would like to know what kind of airport security we have in place if this deranged man was allowed to roam about for eight hours unnoticed and unmolested by police or security?  The last time I came across the border I was harassed and aggressively bothered by the border services agency over my iPhone.  How did a man who didn’t speak a word of English and was apparently in a highly agitated state for some period of time manage to clear customs and then fail to attract the attention of anyone in a position of authority for such a prolonged period of time?

Third: is the horrible abuse suffered by the RCMP members involved – and the police as a whole –as a result of inflammatory media coverage of this incident likely to make the police less aggressive and therefore less able to defend myself and the rest of the general public?

Those are some questions worth asking – but which, regrettably, will be ignored and swept aside in the rush to find someone for the public to blame.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on November 20, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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the cops tasered him and he went down. There were 4 cops standing over him. They tasered him again and one pig shoved his knee into his neck.

Why didn't the cops cuff him when he was obviously subdued on the floor from the first taser?
That's how I saw it.

Posted by: reg dunlop | 2007-11-20 6:46:34 PM

You are right. All these people jump to conclusions and pass judgement without all the facts. A case of dumbing down or the closing of the mind.

May none of them ever face such unfair and biased judgement.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-11-20 6:47:41 PM

They tasered him again, Red, because he presumably attempted to get back up. In any case:

1) By sluring the police, you betray your real beliefs.
2) It's easy to second guess people watching split-second actions on YouTube a month later.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2007-11-20 6:52:17 PM

I haven't seen the youtube video of it, only the tvnews one about 10times. There was no "presumed attempt" of him trying to get up, from what i saw.
The cops are armed to keep the peace and not use excessive force. I think they failed.

Posted by: reg dunlop | 2007-11-20 7:43:47 PM

The eight thousand people on face book and probably at least eight million more Canadians are jeering the police for reasons other than the fact that they killed a hapless, tired, frightened, frustrated man at one of the worst places in world to be holed up ... an airport.

I think the outrage goes beyond the incident. I think people are feeling as they do because the police represent more to a lot of us, whether we realize it or not. They represent a loss of our freedoms and our dignity. Our governments have gradually put tons of new rules, regulations, laws and restrictions on us that have made us all wonder each time we find ourselves having too much fun ... are we allowed to do this?

I don't only blame our politicians. I also blame our politically correct neinotd in society for the additional social pressures and guilt they lay on us for just being who we are.

We cannot say certain words and phrases anymore. We cannot even express our differences of opinion without being labeled a bigot or racist or being heartless to some group or individual. If we drive a too big car then we don't care about the environment. If we smoke, we place a burden on the health cares system and on it goes.

We are a frustrated nation of dependent serfs.
We have stupidly given up our freedoms for some nebulous rights and entitlements at a very high price.

That is why when we see the autoritarianism of the police in action we are enraged not only at the event, but at the fact that when the system decides to target you, you are helpless.

Until we all grow up, grow a set and start tossing back the goodie bags of right and elusive entitlements that are dangled before us for our votes and acceptance in the great mosaic, we will continue to decend into the vortex of social slavery.

Self-reliance, the ability to work and keep more of our hard earned money, to be freed from politically correct confines, to truly have freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness, to get off each other's back and show some true tolerance toward each other nd allow individual diversity rather the culutral diversity that we are told is of such great value, we will continue to harbor this anxiety and anger that is ready to flare up and condemn the police from doing their job even when they screw it up.

Posted by: John | 2007-11-20 8:24:14 PM

A substandard immigrant who speaks no english, is emotionally unstable, and is unemployable is allowed to come to Canada as a landed immigrant. Being socially challanged and possibly retarded, afraid and alone, acts agitated at the airport. RCMP, with the grace of stupid Marine Corp grunts, come in and kill him. What did you think people like that were going to do? It is quite likely they are proud of what they did.

Posted by: F.M. | 2007-11-20 8:38:33 PM

Yoshi: "...RCMP for its glaring failure to greet a violently out-of-control man who they were summoned to subdue with milk and cookies"

...you know, that might have even worked. He wasn't a violently out-of-control man. He was a guy locked up for 10 hours without who knows what explaination. He talked with the lady, he didn't throw the monitor through the glass door after people told him not too.

He was just bored beyond tears and reacting probably to a nicotine withdrawl.

Four goons, and that is what I have no problem calling them and the wanna-be Security guy doing Linebacker stances at the doorway do nothing to settle this guy down.

This is not a druggie on overdose, or a bar fight. We'll have to wait for the inquiry, but me thinks it will be slanted.

Remember what was said in the press release for a reason and how many officers where on station before everyone found out about YouTube or the guy's video tells me the RCMP will play dumb on this one.

My respect for them unfortunately took another hit.

From musical rides, to raiding a guy who said no to a bank loan for a friend of an ex-PM to this.

But we got an equal opportunity taserer!

Wonder if the guy was black, gay, or middle eastern if the howling would be louder.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 9:29:57 PM

"The RCMP members involved in this incident were doing their jobs. They were defending the public."

Yoshi, are you reading an RCMP press release or what? Come on!

Four guys plus how many Security grunts is defending the public?

Crap, what'd they send in if there was a real riot?

Calling Car 54, calling Car 54.

This defines overkill to the ultmost.

Unfortunatly this pun isn't funny.

I appreciate and volunteered in the past with cops, and have the upmost respect for them, but when they screw up, it isn't a sin to call a spade a spade.

Sadly someone lost their life over a goon job.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 9:37:34 PM

...John, I was agreeing with you up to the point you said "If we smoke, we place a burden on the health cares system"

Uh yeah.

But do go on. We have become a society of compromisers.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 9:42:37 PM

Back in the ' old days ' , a couple of male cops would use their 200 lb frames to control the likes of this poor man . This present matriarchal society , demands not only equality in police hiring practices , but a modification in techniques , such that the non 200 lb ., often woman officer can handle the situation . In this case , unfortunately a taser gun as mandated by a wimpified police force was a bad substitute for 200 lbs of donut - fuelled mass. Further more it is far too messy watching a Rodney King - like scuffle break out where someone gets a few whacks with a billy club ; much more desirable is the clean kill , where the whole thing gets stopped in its tracks . After all in this case , there was a flight arriving at that gate in 5 minutes and the whole thing had to be ' dealt with ' , so as not to offend anyone .

Posted by: daveh | 2007-11-20 9:47:07 PM

>"They tasered him again, Red, because he presumably attempted to get back up. In any case:

I don't think anyone would have to PRESUME as much if the RCMP would release Paul Pritchard's video.

>1) By sluring the police, you betray your real beliefs.

The police need to be held accountable.
There was no need for their haste in assaulting and killing Robert Dziekanski.

Robert Dziekanski had been at the airport alone for 10 hours and was threatening nobody when the police attacked him.

>2) It's easy to second guess people watching split-second actions on YouTube a month later.
Adam Yoshida | 20-Nov-07 6:52:17 PM

From that 'split second' nearly ten minute cell phone video I'm not guessing much.

I watched it more than 10 times and counted 3 THREE closed circuit security cameras in the area where Robert Dziekanski spent his last hand full of seconds on this earth. These CC cameras were trained on the area from 3 different angles and there were probably more cameras than appear in the cell phone video.

The incident – more than a month old now –was accompanied by a trusting Paul Pritchard who voluntarily gave his video camera to an RCMP officer who PROMISED to return it and it's intact memory stick within 48 hours.
Well the RCMP LIED.

Paul Pritchard STILL has not had his memory stick returned.
With all the evidence the authorities have from the other CC cameras one can only conclude that they are keeping damning evidence, beyond what any careful observer has collected from the cell phone video, from the public.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 9:47:45 PM

Three CC's cameras in that area? I remember watching a news report or something saying there wasn't any, my mistake.

To give the RC's a break, the film and memory need to be witheld pending investigation.

Oh wait, this is the same country that court judge put a press blackout on one of Canada's biggest public thefts - AdScam. Definately a Liberal attempt to cover up.

So too this is another classic CYA, RCMP style.

Dang if I'll release my vid's next time I see something to a cop, at least that is what I feel.

Did it to yourself pal.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 9:57:40 PM

Taking the observer who recorded the cellphone video as the Southern point the first CC camera comes into view NW from the recorder.
Camera #1 is inside the small office cubicle from which Robert Dziekanski takes the computer.
The camera is midway to the back near the ceiling.

The second CC camera is dead North of Robert Dziekanski's butt when he is supine on the floor with 3 RCMP officers on top of him.
Camera #2 is all the way at the back of this larger room mounted near the ceiling just to the left of what resembles a minibar/desk. There is a red sign to the right of the camera and a shint sign on the fron of the minibar/desk halfway up. and a sign near the wall that says Victoria.

Camera three appears right at the end of some renditions of the cellphone video others are cut short. Camera #3 is NW of Robert Dziekanski's final position, supine on the floor, to the left of the exit door mounted near the ceiling. A sign near the wall that says Victoria is beside the exit door.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 10:13:35 PM

Camera #2 is all the way at the back of this larger room mounted near the ceiling just to the left of what resembles a minibar/desk. There is a red sign to the right of the camera and a shinY sign on the fronT of the minibar/desk halfway up.
(There fixed it.)

*Note not all videos of this incident are exactly the same.
Some come in parts while others stream smoothly from one end to the other.

Some are grainier and some are clearer.
Some expand to full screen and some don't.

Some begin earlier and end earlier, while some start later and end later with a 5th MAN coming in after the RCMP shout CODE RED.
The 5th man is in a dark suit and he goes down on one knee and feels Robert Dziekanski's neck for a pulse.

Anyone who really cares should surf the net using both Robert Dziekanski's name as a search point and also use Paul Pritchard's name.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 10:23:39 PM

>Camera three appears right at the end of some renditions of the cellphone video others are cut short. Camera #3 is NE and to the right (not NW) of Robert Dziekanski's final position, supine on the floor, to the left of the exit door mounted near the ceiling. A sign near the wall that says Victoria is beside the exit door.(this is the only sign that reads Victoria Camera #2 doesn't have one I think as I stopped watching 2 days ago)

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 10:34:22 PM

CJ wrote:

I live in Vancouver and have personally spoken to two eyewitnesses to the Dziedzanski death, one at considerable length. Everything they related to me has been borne out by what I have now seen in the video. There are some facts that some commenters here seem unaware of.

First, Dziedzanski’s size. He was about 5 foot 10 or 11 and a rather pudgy 190 pounds or so. He looked middle-aged and was not strongly or athletically built. All four police were larger than he was.

Second, the amount of time he was in the airport. He was there for at least 10 hours after being processed through customs.

Third, the “response” to telephone calls from the public to airport security and 911. This is extremely important, because there are actually two scandals here, the police incompetence and the joke that is YVR airport security. He was shouting and raving and breaking up a chair and a computer keyboard for two hours in the international arrivals area before police arrived. Airport “security” were nowhere in sight until a minute or two before the arrival of the four police, who came from outside the airport in four police cars that parked in front of the terminal arrivals level. They in turn arrived at least 45 minutes after at least two calls had been made to Richmond 911.

Dziedzanski had been in the arrivals area where people wait to meet people coming from customs. It was 1:00 am and customs was closed. He got into a supposedly secure area when a limousine driver with a key inadvertantly let him in. That driver was one of the people who called airport security and 911.

People at the scene thought Dziedzanski was mentally ill, but did not feel physically threatened by him. This can be seen in the early part of the LiveLeak video where a woman attempts to talk to him.

After two hours of noisemaking watched by a couple of dozen limo and taxi drivers and airport passengers, Dziedzanski was dead within one minute of the arrival of the police.

The people I talked to who witnessed this outrage are conservative, law and order working stiffs. They were both horrified by the event and very critical of the police and of the airport. Both of them also thought that the cause of death might not have been the taser, but simply too much applied to Dziedzinski’s back and neck as they were trying to handcuff him.


Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 10:43:58 PM

...i'm one to usually wait out the first report, sadly time is starting to show the first report about RCMP abuse still remains true.

It wasn't so much the taser, but the knee to the neck had something to do with it.

What's the truth on a report about the RCMP not calling in the YVR EMS but called the Richmond detachment which took longer to get there?

Also, the RC's aren't trained in CPR any more?

Too many questions. I hope I don't have to travel through YVR in the future. Glad to see my $10 improvement fees at work.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-20 11:00:12 PM


I don't smoke, but I understand that others are hooked and pay enough tax on their habit to more than cover the cost of any hospital care they need. Most die young and never become burdensome seniors. So you can rejoice in that if you are that down on them.

The average junkie that we are so willing to care for and provide shoot up sites for are 100% liabilities and even though they also often die young, they contribute zero and cost plenty in thefts, insurance claims, policing, tax evasion, policing, aids, Hep C etc etc.

Smokers and saints compared to them. Also consider the big fat pigs that are 30% (and rising fast) of kids as well as adults and tell me they are less of a cost to the medical system than smokers.

17% are smokers in BC Half of them are immigrants.

You need to be tolerant to all individuals or none of them.

Posted by: John | 2007-11-20 11:07:40 PM

The RCMP officers in question are no longer being investigated.
They have been reassigned to new duties.
There is now only a review on the use of tasers.


Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 11:09:23 PM

I see that my earlier comments do not need to be modified, and I shall wait for the facts to come to light with an inquiry.

Hopefully the inquiry will begin with Immigration, for from what has been reported concerning the man he should never have received landed immigrant status. Secondly someone in Immigration at the airport had to process him, so what kind of communication took place. Why did the same person not attempt to communicate with him later?

Secondly why was he allowed to wonder where he did for the length of time? The moment he left the holding area, he should have been dealt with without calling in the police.

What was the involvement of airport security? Unless it is a terrorist situation they should be able to deal with it in my opinion.

Perhaps if someone had intervened long before by offering him a smoke (I can already hear the screams, so don't bother) and trying to find a person able to communicate with him (hint - Immigration), things would not have got out of hand.

How exactly was this reported to the police? What description of events and the situation were they given? Were the constables in question competent? Were they properly trained, etc.?

Yes, I also have questions for all these points but await all the facts. I find this knee-jerk automatic condemnation of the police similar to adolescents revolting against authority.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-11-20 11:25:13 PM

>I find this knee-jerk automatic condemnation of the police similar to adolescents revolting against authority."
Alain | 20-Nov-07 11:25:13 PM

It may come as a surprise to you, Alain, but there are already a host of facts before us with which to judge.

1) Robert Dziekanski was in the airport 10, hurt no one and died within 1 minute of hos contact with the RCMP.

2) The cellphone video records the RCMP entering the drama with a SHOUT. This is to intimidate Robert Dziekanski and demonstrates the state of mind of the RCMP, which is confrontational and pugilistic.

3) Paul Prichard's video of the event has been confiscated. It is a violation of his rights, and shows the RCMP to be operating in BAD FAITH in regard to the information they want the public to know.

4) Who is doing the investigating?
THE RCMP is investigating itself.
Will it be an open inquiry?

This is all wrong, Alain, this Robert Dziekanski affair.

Then question isn't whether or not we want law and order.
The question is: DO we want to live in a Police State?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-20 11:36:52 PM

Sorry Speller but you are still out to lunch on this one and I have no idea what bug bit you.

Anyone throwing around police state as a description of Canada has no idea of what a police state is. I am not aware of any international airport abroad where a foreigner behaving this way would be treated with kid gloves.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-11-20 11:50:25 PM

>"Anyone throwing around police state as a description of Canada has no idea of what a police state is.
Alain | 20-Nov-07 11:50:25 PM

Alain, you are being foolish.

I didn't describe Canada as a Police State.

How do you think Police States come about, eh?

Do you think Germany was a Police State before Hitler came to power?

Canada can easily become a Police State if the abuse of police powers are not recognized and condemned.
Canada does have a War Measures Act, you know Alain.

Who do you think rounded up Yoshi's folks for internment camps, Alain?

Canada is a country with far too little transparency and accountability from the government and it's agents.

Various levels of government in Canada have secrecy in areas that have nothing to do with national security and getting information from the Canadian government is an arcane, frustrating, and often futile exercise even for the Opposition in Parliament.

Are we to be governed by our consent?

Are we citizens or merely subjects?

'Oh Canada, We stand on Guard for Thee' has a pretty shallow meaning for you, eh Alain?

Are you too comfortable with fascism or are you too apathetic to cast an intelligent vote?

How shall I understand you?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 12:17:36 AM

What, Alain, do you think of the National Gun Registry?

Do you know that the RCMP lied with statistics about firearms in relation to crimes to give the Liberals ammunition to push this particular political point?

What, Alain, do you think was the RCMP's motive on that particular question? Why did they lie?

WHERE is Paul Pritchard's video stick and WHY has it not been released?

Why, if there is to be an open public inquiry into the Dziedzinski death, have the officers involved not been at least suspended with pay instead of simply reassigned?

What is the point of an inquiry?
It's just smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 12:32:10 AM

John - I am a smoker and I have been to Poland. Smoking in Poland has been an almost universal habit for years - the Soviet soldiers smoked or the Soviets would have likely outlawed it to make the lives of Polish people even more miserable.

Robert D.'s girlfriend said Robert was a chain smoker - he had been 16 or more hours without a smoke - my guess is he was suffering from severe withdrawal compounded by TERROR. He must have thought that something had happened to his Mom (car accident, arrest..)when she was not there to meet him; if she is like my parents, if she said she would be there that would be a rock solid promise and only some sort of disaster would prevent her from being there ...The BAD part; she WAS there but the airport people told her Robert was not there so she went home to Kamloops after waiting five hours in the SAME airport as Robert was, both desperatly looking for each other.

Did Robert D. do the unthinkable - did he light up a cigarette in a closed public space and get threatened by the uptight health Nazis? Is this why his heart was racing and his blood was boiling? Maybe he thought he had emigrated to a Free nation and he was wishing with all his heart that he had never left Poland adding grief to panic to worry to nicotine withdrawl.

Canadians do not know the meaning of terror unless they have traveled to a Dictatorship such as Poland was before the Soviet Union melted down - people in Poland never knew a secure day in their lives; they were constantly under the treat of arrest and detainment for doing nothing criminal - maybe just for looking at someone in authority the wrong way - criminal ment death (through hard labor or a bullet). Truped up charges were arranged and a person disappeared.

In Canada, the police are expected to control every situation in this hapless land of 'helpless citizens', people who have no common sense because PC and the environment /health control freaks do not believe in Freedom or Compassion - they want all the $$ and all the say OVER all the people, all of the time.

Yours is a great post John - I hope many people will read it because you speak common sense - something that is very uncommon in this fanatical nation. Fanatical over trivial things, cowardly over anything serious and sooo very ready to play the 'blame game' - to even go whacko to protect their oh so subtle agenda.

The PC would never consider logic and how their narrow, intolerant agendas resulting from falling into the 'for the health/protection of the people' trap could have caused the death of Mr. Robert D.

Law of unintended consequences.

Posted by: jema54j | 2007-11-21 12:45:50 AM


I don't think Mr. Dziekanski lit up a cigarette.
I don't think Mr. Dziekanski was ever out of the secure area, or had access to his baggage, or could communicate what he wanted to buy even if they sell cigarettes at the airport.

I think Mr. Dziekanski had been without smokes, food, drink, and sleep for a long time.
Longer than the 10 hours he had been at the airport.

I wouldn't even be surprised if Mr. Dziekanski hadn't even been to the toilet since he got off the plane.

But the real focus should be that 1 deadly minute after the RCMP confronted Mr. Dziekanski with violence, when he was a threat to no one.

Some suggest the area Mr. Dziekanski was in was needed for people who were debarking in 5 minutes.
I wonder how long the area had to be sealed off after his death while evidence was gathered and his body was tended to?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 1:02:50 AM

Murder, for sure not.

Involuntary manslaughter, yes.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2007-11-21 1:06:45 AM

Talk, talk, talk is all we can do about this dreadful incident which reflects on the RCMP and Canada as well. It's being talked about around the world.
What will come from it remains to be seen. How can justice be served in this case? What will be learned from it?
Let's hope the Police forces get the message you don't use tasers on people unless it's a very last resort because they can kill. They've proven to be as deadly as bullets for some people, this latest victim did not deserve to die.

One would think a person coming to this modern country who couldn't speak our languages could have been given some help to communicate his frustrations even by a telephone call to someone in the Polish community.

Most alarming there was no help at an INTERNATIONAL Airport. There are so many questions as to how authorities could have goofed so badly.

Posted by: Liz J | 2007-11-21 7:13:12 AM

I wonder how many other innocents the cops/RCMP have murdered that were not caught on video. 'There's something rotten in the state of Denmark', nay, make that Canada. Cops aren't social workers to talk to potential threats about life and feelings to calm them down, sure, but they are definitely not supposed to be violent brutes.

It's clear that they relished and took pleasure in killing the fellow, and sadly, he may not be the only one. Just that he was caught on video.

Posted by: mike | 2007-11-21 7:39:34 AM

"the film and memory need to be witheld pending investigation."


Completely wrong but typical of Canadian thinking. All power to the authorities, only they can interpret the video and tell us peasants what it means.

Posted by: BlacquesJacquesShellacques | 2007-11-21 8:41:56 AM

As a strong supporter of the Standard I am shocked by the disinformation in the published letter " violently out of control" was mentioned at least twice. Did Yoshi see the video? if anyone was violently out of control it was the RCMP.

Since the man spoke no English and did not threaten the officers (does holding a stapler while facing four burly RCMP officers constitute a threat?) the first thing the officers should have done was to find someone at the aiport who spoke Polish. Did anyone watching the video at any time see a member of the public threatened?

Even if using a taser the first time was necessary (which it obviously was not)using it a second time was totally unjustified.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the Standard's decision to publish the letter is very problematic. Are their no editors to prevent the publishing of such distortions?

It reminds me of the Groucho Marx remark to the woman who found her husband in bed with another woman.
"Who are you going to believe, me or your eyes"?

Posted by: arthur | 2007-11-21 8:45:24 AM

Then there's the Groucho story of when he was interviewing a contestant on You Bet Your Life.

"How many children do you have, Sir?"

"I have 10 children."

"Ten Children?!?"

"Yes, Groucho. I love my wife!"

"Well, I love my cigars - but I take them out of my mouth once in a while."

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 8:50:27 AM


Normaly you are reasonable--but when it comes to the ethics of policing, you have missed the mark.

Today's world interprets policing in a manner as if the guy trying to run away from police--or who is combative--or destroying property, has to have some kind of fair chance to get away with what they do or have done.

I don't buy that--not for one second.

Although the law is the law of the land, there is also an ethical standard that is much higher. People, individuals, join the police force. They, as individuals, take on a huge responsibility, and are given the tasks, to, at the drop of a hat, and an order, to go and do what everybody else does not want to do.

The police keep people from killing themselves and others every single day. They cannot stop everyone.

The police come at any hour of the day and night--when you need them. They cannot be with you all the time--tragic though it may seem. You have to do your bit to keep the peace and protect yourself in the free world.

The police also handle all the front line social work--responding to all the calls that people make when individuals or groups go mental.

The police handle domestic disputes, and are usually the first on the scene of murders, rapes, and a whole mass of other horrible things that people do to eachother. Each and every single day, people abuse others--and I do not see any outrage from all the sanctimonious groups and individuals out there. Where are these people when Aboriginal women go missing in BC? I can tell you, the very same people who are making a stink about tasers will be the first people to make a stink when the police arrive at their houses 2 seconds beyind the time they thing they ought to arrive.

So, who is being controlling here?

You people out there who stand around--ok sit around--and judge our police like you do are a bunch of hypocrits. The police have been given the garbage clean-up for society, to deal with people who are dirty, bad tempered, rude, dangerous, unstable, ill-willed, unkempt, diseased, horrid, filthy, deranged, psychopathic, narcistic, corrupt, fraudulent, dispicable, greedy, pedophilic, rapists and murdered, and all you can do is go ape when, after all these years, and after all the sacrifices these people have made, when you see them do their job and a person dies.

The claims out there, that this was an execution or whatever else it has been labelled, is wrong. The outcome is not the intent of tasers--nor has it ever been the intent. By calling for a moretorium on tasers, more people will die. Why? Because the choices will be far more limited for the police, between hands on, batons, and their handguns. Any interaction, that is violent, between police and those who are warranting attention by police, could end up with someone dieing as a result. No matter how delicate some people are handled, there will always be some people who will die. This is tragic--however people have a responsibility towards police as well as the other way around.

When people act or behave themselves, then these kinds of things do not happen. The police have interactions with people every single day--to the tune of billions of interactions each and every year. And by the looks of things, people simply do not appreciate them. What this will mean is that fewer people will go into policing. Why would they, as look at what could happen.

Meanwhile, I see no concern for the safety of the police, who have signed up to deal with policing. Those men and women out there, placing their lives on the line each and every single day--they are someone's child. They have family too, and what these stupid people--these special interest groups, are doing, is asking our police, and their families, to place themselves in more danger, and others in more danger, than necessary.

Tell that to the little girl whose daddy gets knocked in the head so hard that he does not know her anymore. You do that.

No matter how much of a tragedy this event is and has been, what is resulting from this, is more than tragic--it is an outrage. People who do not appreciate what they have, will one day wake up to find that police do not make house calls anymore. They will wake up to find that police do not respond to incidents at airports, or leave their offices. They will wake up one day to discover that they live in a world where the only time police will turn up is after the violence has ended, and someone needs to clean the bodies up off the ground. If that is the kind of world you want to live in, then I recommend you all move to Gaza. However, if you do feel it is important to live in a country where people behave and there is peace, then for goodness sake, back your police and ensure them that they will have the tools to do their jobs.

Billions of people go through airports every year, and we get the one incident like this, and all the rage and anger of the whole world at those who have volunteered to do our dirty work, rages forth in a manner which is totally disgusting. You all who hate police and do not back them, are the first to call them when you are in trouble. You people should be ashamed of yourselves, for being so, so, so pathetic. Next time you need them, think about it.

I want to live in a country that stands for peace, and keeps the peace. And if that means more police--then so-be-it! One look south of the border, at New York City, and you will see that when the police are given the respect and tools they need to do their jobs, that a very peaceful City can be created out of mayhem. As for the politically correct, today's politically correct is about destroying some of the finest institutions in our country--including the police forces. At a time when we need them more than ever before, so many have decided that it is fair game to vent their spleens on our police. They are not public servants. They are not bureaucrats--they are paramilitary. Grow up and get with the picture.

Millions of people travel peacefully through our airports without incident each and every year. Freedom is not being able to vent your guts on publilc property and to scare others, and be violent--and from what I viewed in the video--that is what I saw that man doing. He was a danger at the time. He could have behaved peacefully, and he did not. He was instrumental in his situation. He raised his hand against the police, and they had every right in the world to defend themselves. The outcome is not what is intended by use of a taser. The end, to me, appears to have been an accident. And accidents are still results that are not anticipated.

In the end, if tasers are removed from service, then the other outcomes will be more harmed police, more harmed people, and a higher bill to pay by society. Policeing--the demands of the job--will not change as society will continue to demand that police do their jobs and police. Meanwhile, we will be setting ourselves up for more exploitation by others, because they will always be able to point to the politically correct ideas of the day, and demand money from public coffers--and you and I will have to foot the bill. There is nothing politically correct about that. Exploiters will get rich at our expence, and the first people to complain will be those who complained against the police in the first place.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 10:30:31 AM

Speller, you can try to make all the personal insults you wish but my verdict remains out until all the facts are in.

As for the RCMP supporting the gun registry you fail to report the complete picture. I knew of none of the rank and file constables who supporter it but they were silenced by their top bureaucratic PC brass. This kind of influence and interference from the top has severely damaged the RCMP. I make the distinction between them and the actual working constables.

arthur - news flash this is not the WS and comments are not censured. You are free to disagree but so are others

Posted by: Alain | 2007-11-21 10:47:58 AM

Perhaps the general indignation of the Canadian public about this particular episode stems from an underlying awareness that we are in fact becoming a police state, and not so much the incident itself. I'm noticing an underlying tension and anger in everyday Canadian society that didn't seem to be there 20 years ago.

And if we do our homework independently of the main stream media we can find too many incidences of police abuse of their traditional roles as "peace officers".

Just a thought.

Posted by: JC | 2007-11-21 11:00:45 AM


You could not see the whole event from the view of the police. The decisions to or not to use taser are made in split seconds. I do not believe that there was no cause for the use of the taser. And two times the use of the taser is not lethal--why you could taser ten times or more, and it is still not lethal.

read the lit on tasers, and you will know what you are talking about. After the fact it is easy to say one taser would have been sufficient--yet from what police experience all the time, one is often not enough--why just the other day in Vancouver, there was an incident where a man was on drugs and tasering had no effect. So, the police had to use hand to hand force--and the man was still injured in the process.

If a person is required by law, not to resist arrest, and they do so, and in the process, they push against police, and place police into threatened positions, which then requires more force to stop them, and if in that process, the person is injured, the cause is not the police, but the person who created just cause in the first place.

There is no evidence in the video that the police did not have just cause to use the taser. Everyone who saw the whole video, saw the man tear apart equipment and behave in a threatening manner.

Would you rather the police inject sedatives, and be trained to do that?

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 11:01:40 AM

JC, that is bs.

We are not becoming a police state.

You are in deep confabulation--rediculous!

When police go to your house, is it to have a beer or to deal with a complaint made by one of your heighbors?

I can tell you--people who treat police with respect, get treated with respect. People who treat police badly, and are a danger to police, should not be surprised when they are treated in a manner to which they have becomne accustomed. It is the job of police to stop others from being violent, and one of the tools of their job is a constrained violence. It is the only way that some people can be controlled--when those people are out of control.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 11:06:17 AM

>"In the end, if tasers are removed from service, then the other outcomes will be more harmed police, more harmed people, and a higher bill to pay by society."

You really pulled that one out of your a$$.

>"He could have behaved peacefully, and he did not. He was instrumental in his situation. He raised his hand against the police, and they had every right in the world to defend themselves."

He did NOT raised his hands AGAINST the police.
Way to blame the victim, Lady.

Mr. Dziekanski was going nowhere for 10 hours.
He was in a virtual prison where he had behaved PEACEFULLY for all that time.

Nobody helped him.
Nobody helped his mother, who was right there for 5 hours, to connect with him.

What did you want, Lady. That his desiccated corpse should be lying there still today, waiting for help that never came?

How long did you want him to abide there?

Maybe, Lady, you can tell us how you think things would have panned out for Mr. Dziekanski.
Describe how you think he would have gotten out of the area where he was, found his baggage, and was reunited with his mother.

Paul Pritchard, a witness who once upon a time had a video record of the incident, stated that when Mr. Dziekanski saw the police he thought they would help him sort things out.

Well they could have, but instead went straight to confrontation and killed Mr. Dziekanski.

The question is, do you think this could have gone better and Mr. Dziekanski might still be alive or could the police have been hasty in the use of force when there were alternatives?

The available video shows the police arrived on the scene with a SHOUT which proves that the use of force was all that was on their minds.

I think that the use of force, when no one is being threatened, should be secondary, not the first and only option.

I think that the police need to modify their behaviour and you, Lady, are arguing against them modifying their behaviour.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 11:07:08 AM

We absolutely are becoming a police state.
The police have more walking power than ever before and they are using it too.
If the police departments are in the same traditional roles as they have always been then why this?:

Calgary SWAT and Red Deer SWAT confiscating guns from law abiding citizens in rural Alberta.

Calgary Police riot shields have NATO written on them.

OPP and RCMP shutting down farms and charging farmers for having too many chickens and not "complying" with fed regulations....

I'm just getting warmed up here....

Posted by: JC | 2007-11-21 11:16:11 AM

I don't mean to imply that the rank and file policemen are bad people...its Govt. policy that I worry about.

Posted by: JC | 2007-11-21 11:18:39 AM

>"Speller, you can try to make all the personal insults you wish but my verdict remains out until all the facts are in."

Personal insults?
Why how KNEE-JERK, ADOLESCENT, and OUT TO LUNCH of you, Alain.
(just to use a few of your own personal insults back at you)

As I said, the RCMP need some behaviour modification.
That comes from the top down, just like the Gun Registry lies.

We see enough in the cellphone video to KNOW that the situation could have been handled better if the RCMP were only held to account more than the proto-fascists who support Mr. Dziekanski's abrupt killing by mindless thugs.

Well I want to put some restraint on their minds and their actions.

If the RCMP are so blameless here, why haven't they released Paul Pritchard's camera memory stick over a month later?

Please, continue.
I'd like to see you get hot on this subject.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 11:20:07 AM

Another thing, Alain.

It doesn't follow that just because some of us don't know whether Mr. Dziekanski was killed by hasty police action of the specific use of tasers, handcuffing Mr. Dziekanski with his hands behind his back in the prone position with THREE RCMP on his back and one on his neck preventing proper breathing and blood flow, or a combination of the two, that we can't judge the police action itself to be hasty and the RCMP confrontational when we saw it with our own eyes.

We can form intelligent opinion on what we see without waiting, as you are Alain, for Big Brother to tell us what our opinion ought to be and which details to support it with.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 11:52:58 AM

"Second: I, for one, would like to know what kind of airport security we have in place if this deranged man was allowed to roam about for eight hours unnoticed and unmolested by police or security?"

With respect, this is probably the issue that should come first, important as the various police-related issues are. This is an airport that has already had two bombs placed on planes and detonated, with over 300 deaths as a result. Dziekanski roams and rages for hours, people call security, there's no response. None of the airport cameras seem to work, so the public sees only the video taken by a citizen witness. Eyewitnesses and airport personnel that I have personally talked to say that airport security has been "out to lunch" for some time now.

People who volunteer with the "Greencoats" who help travellers at the airport say that the present airport management doesn't seem to appreciate what they do and has reduced resources available to them. The Larry Berg management group also insisted on replacing the greencoat badges that read "Volunteer" and listed languages spoken by that person with a name tag saying "Customer Service", thus changing the impression given to travellers from a volunteer (these are mostly retired people) to an employee. This group was demoralized before the Dziekanski incident; you can imagine what morale is like now.

Airport management has gone to ground since this story broke. The strategy seems to be working, because almost all the controversy focuses on the police. There is no accountablilty at the airport. Who do they report to? Ottawa? Victoria? Maybe Gordon Campbell will wake up on this one if it occurs to him that a dysfunctional airport could mess up the Olympics.

Posted by: CJ | 2007-11-21 12:10:48 PM

Speller: We can form intelligent opinion on what we see without waiting, as you are Alain, for Big Brother to tell us what our opinion ought to be and which details to support it with.

Did it ever cross your mind, Speller, that the "big brother" your are referring to is not the government or the authorities. Nowadays, "big brother" is the irrestible urge to follow the opinion-du-jour, whatever everybody thinks about any subject whatever. Examples: Global warming, President Bush is a dangerous religious ideologue, the RCMP are a bunch of brutal misfit etc... that is the 'big brother' we should be worried about,as individual, of course.

Group think is very dangerous for your health and for the health of any organizeds society.

Posted by: andré | 2007-11-21 12:19:23 PM

Did it ever cross your mind, Andre, that people followed the opinion of the day BEFORE George Orwell wrote about 'Big Brother' and that 'Big Brother' refers specifically to the government controlling the flow of information and telling people what to think about issues?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 12:25:14 PM

OK Speller: please be so kind as to tell us exactly what the government wants us to believe concerning the Robert Dziekanski affair. At least tell us where to find this information because you seem to be on to something that has escaped the rest of us.

Posted by: andré | 2007-11-21 12:30:26 PM

Lady, i was going to respond to your epistle, but decline to.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 12:43:47 PM

To recap:
"We can form intelligent opinion on what we see without WAITING, as you are Alain, for Big Brother to tell us what our opinion ought to be and which details to support it with."
Posted by: Speller | 21-Nov-07 11:52:58 AM

I'm not WAITING to hear what 'Big Brother' is going to say.
It is enough to know that 'Big Brother' is fine with the way the RCMP acted in this tasering incident because the RCMP officers were reassigned rather than suspended.

That shows that 'Big Brother' has already concluded, prior to the supposed 'inquiry' that the RCMP did nothing wrong.

If 'Big Brother' thought the RCMP constables did something questionable it would certainly be prudent to keep them from walking around armed to the teeth if their judgement was impaired.

As we are currently WAITING for the 'inquiry' to be done, although the authorities are already operating on obvious conclusions, when the 'inquiry' results are released I will let you know exactly where 'Big Brother's' details conflict with what we already have seen with our own eyes, which was clearly an eager rush to use force on the part of these RCMP constables.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 12:45:15 PM


I am not sure whether you have done that because you disagree so badly that you are without words--or whether you agree or whether you agree with what you think and what you read to the point where you don't really have an opion any more--or you are experiencing cognitive dissonance.

Of course, the choice is yours.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 12:51:55 PM

...re: the comments about baggage.

From watching the news and the cops/corners running around in that enclosed area, they were looking at his bags that were on the left side by the wall.

Now where they brought there or were always there?

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 12:52:00 PM

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