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Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Opened the Paper

I opened the paper today, to read the Vancouver Province's series on drunk driving and was shocked to see a face I recognized looking back at me.

I went to Middle School with that girl.  What I remember of her is that she was religious - and that she got caught smoking during the "30 Hour Famine" (an event which I thought was ridiculous then, as I do now).

She was a nice girl.  As I recall, a bit of a goody-goody (save the aforementioned bit), but kindly.  I don't think I ever saw her again after that (I went to a different high school than most of the people I went to Middle School with).

Actually, it's particularly sad - as one of the first things which sprung to mind when I thought of her was that she seemed to be particularly close with her mother.

Sad, but also enraging:

The day after the crash, Aaron Forrest, 31, turned himself in to police. Court was to hear that after fleeing the wreckage, he swam the Nanaimo River to fulfill his quest to buy drugs. Forrest admitted that on the day of the accident, he was not in a sane state of mind, and had checked himself in to hospital the evening before after a two-day cocaine binge.

Oh, and I found this little bit which, for some reason, the Province didn't mention:

Before being charged with the deaths of the two women, Forrest had been convicted of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, possession of narcotics, assault, fraud, and other driving-related infractions.

First of all, the guy is thirty-one now.  That would make him twenty-nine at the time of the crash.  I count at least three indictable offenses on that list of crimes - it's insane that we let people like this roam the streets and kill people.

Indeed, they gave him just four years for driving down the road at one hundred and fifty kilometers an hour for forty-five minutes while high on drugs.

Actually, that's not exactly true - they gave him less because of, "the man’s relatively young age, guilty plea, supportive friends and family, and the fact that investigators had not proven drugs were a factor."

Yeah - you know why they didn't prove the drugs were a factor?  Because he fled the scene of the crime.

It's one of those things which can only make me mutter, "this stupid country..."

How much respect can we have for a government which lets criminals roam free and barely punishes them for killing two absolutely innocent people - and which uses its resources to harass Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant?

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on March 6, 2008 in Crime | Permalink


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My sympathies Adam. Politics aside, if this doesn't make sense from a God perspective—a girl with faith being killed by a guy with none—you have my email and we can discuss this offline.

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 8:05:28 AM

Good post Yo. Too bad about the girls.

Real tragedies like this and so much other crime is perfectly okay since the perps are merely those whose issues have not been properly addressed.

Let us hope and pray that Harper doesn't get mushy and stop getting tough on crime. We need to stop rehabilitating the scum and start PUNISHING THEM!

Posted by: John West | 2008-03-06 9:35:08 AM

Seems to me if we shoved Forrest's head in a running McDonalds chip fryer twice a day we still wouldn't give the family their daughter back, or give the daughter her life [here] back. If Forrest really was baked on drugs, he probably couldn't have processed the consequences of his actions, even if those actions meant a consequence of a twice daily fryer dunking. So how do we actually stop the mind-fried from having access to cars, knives, rocks, or whatever else they always seem to rob us of our friends and our lives with?

(My knee-jerk response might be mandatory screening for addictive patterns including genetic predisposition to addiction, combined with regulation over any mind-altering substance on par with the kind of regulation we have for substances like Simtex™ and Danish cartoons. But again, that's knee-jerk.)

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 10:08:00 AM

Based on the considerable drug legalization advocacy posted on this blog it seems your laws are being enforced "perfectly" and, in spite of facts identifying illegal narcotics as the critical factor in the case of Mr. Yoshida's friend's death, the underlying news articles are ALL about alcohol abuse.

As a secondary issue, the incredible Court judgement, taking favorable notice of the druggy-killer's subsequent advocacy "work" with drug users and youth (Wow! This is the guy we need to work with teenagers!), was embellished by police testimony effectively coaching perpetrators about how to avoid harsh sentences.

I'm becoming convinced that I'm completely out of my element in commenting on this blog.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-03-06 10:31:29 AM

One of the great perversions of justice is fitting the penalty to the social status of the convicted. I recall a former BC Socred Cabinet Minister, Davie Fulton who had to do time on his first Impaired conviction, meanwhile it came to light that Clifford Olsen (after his mass murder deal and conviction) had been convicted on around 11 impaired charges without serving any time (on those charges). Show-trials for the famous and leniency squared for the scum bags! Conrad Black come to mind?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-03-06 10:33:43 AM

Again though, a justice system only handles things after the fact. Do we need to separate our notions of justice and protection? I mean, maybe it isn't "just" to take away a boozer's right to get tanked, but can we figure out how to let him be "free" to get f'ed up at his discretion while still keeping me 100% safe from him when he's "not himself"?

It's not enough know that we have severe punishment in store should someone get drunk and kill my wife in an "accident". I want to know there's severe protection in place to keep that drunk 'unarmed' while he's drunk/high/episodic. I can't enjoy a 50th anniversary with 'the satisfaction that justice was served' as much as I could with my wife.

Law & order is all well, but I want protection first. I think a fair trade might be a soft liberal justice system in exchange for a draconian protection layer. Hopefully the liberal courts would be empty of anything weighty then anyways. Lots of bored judged with no one in court to slap on the wrist because something stopped them from getting into a car, or whatever.

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 10:52:52 AM

Perhaps one of the reasons we have so many criminals living the free life is that our police force is too busy raiding cock-fights and ensuring that there is no smokers in vehicles with children on the roads or just about anywhere other than hidden away at home. I almost forgot that they are also busy checking into all the hate-crimes. After all we do not even have enough law enforcement to deport one illegal Sikh still in Canada.

And some wonder why people lose respect for the law. When the law becomes an ass and is used more often to pervert justice then what else can we expect.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-03-06 11:28:29 AM

> How much respect can we have for a government which lets
> criminals roam free and barely punishes them for killing two
> absolutely innocent people - and which uses its resources to
> harass Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant?

First of all the Government didn't let "anyone" go. So far in Canada the Government doens't sentence people nor enforce the law, you know the seperation and all that?

Secondly: Beyond reasonable doubt, and yes, that can mean that someone guilty walks, the system puts the burden of proof onto the prosecution, not the burden of innocence on the defendeant, if you ever read a history book you should know WHY this is the case and why, at the end of the day, this is a very good thing.

As regrettable as the outcome is, there is no failure in the system on this one per-se, it worked as it was intended, just because we don't like the outcome doesn't mean it's broken.

As for your little stab about Ezra etc. Let it be in that context, if you want to broaden the context then I could bring up why people constantly can go over the speed limit and still not be charged or lose their license, stick to the topic at hand and don't try to twist everything around.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-03-06 11:32:13 AM

Everything is about Ezra. Scopes v. State proved Ezra was right to stand up to the established ideology. Row v. Wade proved Ezra has the right to choose what happens in his own magazine. The Selma to Montgomery Marches foreshadowed Ezra's stand against the firehoses of the MSM. The Amritsar Massacre and the subsequent satyagraha campaign foreshadowed Ezra's determination to cling to his truths. And don't get me started on the Battle of Thermopylae and the now famous cry, "This! Is! Alberta!"

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 11:49:02 AM

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 6-Mar-08 11:49:02 AM

Touché, I clearly hadn't recognized that pattern.

Posted by: Snowrunner | 2008-03-06 12:00:45 PM

Snowrunner, It is hard to say the system worked as it was supposed to when we all feel bad about this girl's death. I have not followed this case and can;t say either way. But there is a bigger problem for the rest of us when the state has more power of the presumed innocent.

Posted by: TM | 2008-03-06 12:06:43 PM

The druggy-killer left the scene of the accident when at least one of his victims was still alive.

The druggy-killer had numerous prior/similar offences, including a hospital record of checking himself into a drug-detox center the day prior to committing this crime.

The druggy-killer admitted that he went from this accident scene and purchased illegal drugs (which was his original deadly "errand").

The druggy-killer was seen and reported to police (in multiple 911 calls to the police) as he raced his truck dangerously for the hour immediately preceding his killing these two innocent people.

YET the Court gave this druggy-killer freedom during the ineffective "police investigation" via BAIL (and in a bail bond dollar amount far less than the value of his stupid truck).

The Court gave this druggy-killer DOUBLE BENEFIT for the time he did serve after arrest but before conviction, as a reduction credit against the 3-1/2 year jail sentence that the sympathetic to druggy-killers-Court finally imposed on him.

This druggy story is buried within-under alcohol abuse editorializing, without drawing attention to the huge differences in substance effects (alcohol versus illegal drugs), i.e. after the druggy guy killed the girls and fled the death-injury scene, HE CONTINUED IN HIS PURSUIT AND ACQUISITION OF THE ILLEGAL DRUGS which were the obvious defining aspect of his entire life.

But Pattern Recognition wants to leave Liberal Courts in place and "correct" this situation with a "draconian" police "layer" (bigger government - as in overall Totalitarianism rather than just crystal clear sensible anti-drug law enforcement).

Lots of Socialism. Lots of Liberalism. Communist Totalitarianism coming soon.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-03-06 1:33:39 PM

Conrad-USA either didn't read or didn't get what I was getting at.

I want so much protection that Nothing Ever Happens, let alone makes it to the courts. If nothing made it to the courts because Nothing Ever Happened, what difference would it make if the courts were liberal, fascist, or even just staffed by a box of oranges? I was willing to compromise and allow liberal justice in exchange for impermeable draconian protection because the liberal justice would never see an opportunity to flaunt itself anyway.

Put it another way. I'd love a world where everyone drove so safely that it didn't matter whether our seat belts and airbags were any good because they never got put to the test.

And I _know_ I can't have that. It's just a what-if picture.

If all we do is pour resource and effort into a ferocious justice system, all we still have are semi-vindicated mourners, instead of safe intact families.

Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 1:45:50 PM


"...stick to the topic at hand and don't try to twist everything around."

Wow, that is quite presumptuous. The implicit message here is that you know what the topic should be better than the author.

Perhaps the author wanted to open up a debate on the proper role of gov't resources and was providing a stark contrast.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-06 1:51:33 PM

PR, that's not all we would have. A ferocious justice system would also result in an errosion of our freedom. I want the bad guys to suffer as much as possible too. The problem is that the prosecution is utterly not interested in justice or truth. They are interested in convictions. Giving them more tools to convict is more likely to result in innocent people being convicted, or spending more time wrongfully convicted than they are now.

The state already has too much power over us, giving them more is dangerous.

Posted by: TM | 2008-03-06 2:13:55 PM

To the Socialists who are trolling here and you know who you are.

Idiots will do as they please. It's human nature for some people to be completely irresponsible. That is why the war on drugs and obesity to name two won't ever work.

The best way to be completely protected, or at least better protected is to put the offenders in a cage for a long as possible and make that time so miserable that they won't want to come back.

That is what used to happen and that has worked better than all the new psychology based stupidity we have been indulging in for the past forty years.

Nothing that comes from the left can work because it's all based on the theory of 'feelings' about everything and has nothing to do with reality or human nature.

Posted by: John West | 2008-03-06 4:48:38 PM

The pattern I see is that society doesn't insist that the laws be applied equally and with justice in mind for the immediate victim first.

If the perpetrator had been made to take responsibility for each anti-social act throughout his life he might have thought about consequences.

As it was, the consequencial sentence for this act were minimal compared to the act and again he hasn't been held fully responsible.

Conrad, people can drink alcohol responsibly and people can use drugs responsibly.

Some small percentage don't.

Women can walk around in shorts, miniskirts, or bikinis, in the West but if they dress like that in Muslim countries they are guaranteed to be raped or killed.

Is it the fault of the women or the shorts/miniskirt/bikini?

No, it is the fault of the men who will not take responsibility for the actions and the societies that they live in not holding them accountable.

Your issue should be with making individuals who are irresponsible pay for that negligence, not wanting to harm people who haven't harmed anyone else and who act responsibly.
Simply because a person consumes something in common with someone who is irresponsible doesn't reasonably make the point that all people who consume that common item should be hunted down and prosecuted for their consumption.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-06 5:31:36 PM

The automaton defense should be done away with. The effect of the drug on your actions should not be taken into consideration unless the drug is legitimately prescribed and you are suffering a side effect that you were not warned about or which the doctor and pharmacist could not have forseen.

Posted by: DML | 2008-03-06 11:12:25 PM

We might feel some degree of mercy for someone who made a mistake in judgement, got behind the wheel when they shouldn't have, and killed as a result. Such a person still ought to be punished - probably more harshly than this person was - but more in way of example than anything else. For a person of conscience, having negligently killed two innocent people would mean a lifetime of torment and repentance.

However, what we have here is not a person of conscience. What we are dealing with here, based upon the record, is a violent sociopath who will, beyond almost all doubt, be back on the road and again posing a danger to the public in no time at all.

Yes, people drink and yes people use drugs and yes people make mistakes - but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a criminal with no regard for the innocent who poses a clear and mortal danger to the general public.

This is the kind of person that either the death penalty or a lifetime exile in a frozen work camp are designed for. Frankly, in many ways I'd prefer the latter in this case since we could make a profit off of it.

Perhaps we could built a series of mining camps in the Northern territories, perhaps on Islands, and sentence dangerous criminals to life at hard labour there, with the proceeds of their toil being remitted to the families of their victims.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-03-06 11:43:32 PM

"This is the kind of person that either the death penalty or a lifetime exile in a frozen work camp are designed for. Frankly, in many ways I'd prefer the latter in this case since we could make a profit off of it."

Yikes! We want restitution for victims, not profit for governments.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-03-06 11:48:59 PM

As I suggested in the next sentence, the idea being that the, "proceeds of their toil being remitted to the families of their victims."

I'd actually do away with conventional prisons altogether. We could better punish minor offenses through heavier fines or demonstrative public punishment.

Mid-level offenses could be punished by hard labour, with the proceeds being used to provide restitution to the families of victims.

The most serious offenses - murder, serial rape, child molestation, etc, would be punished by death, with reasonable safeguards.

I mean, after all, no one's going to end up wrongfully convicted of being a child molester twice.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-03-07 1:14:16 AM

>"I mean, after all, no one's going to end up wrongfully convicted of being a child molester twice."
Adam Yoshida | 7-Mar-08 1:14:16 AM

That's true.

But false accusations of child molestation are a common ploy from women in bad divorces who want big settlements and sole child custody.

Also, there would be a lot of Muslim girls with genital mutilation and Canadian Indian children orphans up for adoption or in foster child care.

As for murder, Yoshi, think David Milgaard.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-03-07 9:37:19 AM

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