The murder of the four officers in Lakewood, Washington is no longer on the front pages, but it has stayed with me.
It haunts me.
I have been asking myself why I have felt so impacted by this gruesome tale.
I am not sure of the answer, but here is something.
These four people were sitting at a booth in a popular coffee shop, each writing on his and her laptops.
I spend considerable time doing exactly this - sitting in cafes, writing on my laptop.
I love the new cafe culture.
Dozens of people of all ages, colors, ethnicities, and inclinations are drinking coffee and eating snacks and writing on their laptops.
Oddly enough, interacting.
Little hellos and chats sometime wander into full discussions about life or the affairs of the day or the arcane minutia that make the day interesting.
In short, these places have the air and feeling of civility.
Everyone likes to bandy about notions of the civilized society and what we aught to do to get there.
I find that these little WiFi cyber cafes have spontaneously become the best example of the civilized society.
They are comfortable and friendly and interactive, even with people staring down their computer screens.
The idea of some mad man crashing through this sense of local community and safety and neighbourliness by firing a gun and murdering people sitting in a booth working on their laptops ... my god, it's just horrifying.
To make it worse, the victims are young people, in their 30's and 40's. Trust me, that's young.
To make it even worse, they are police officers.
If ever one should feel safe, it is in a cafe with four police officers near by.
Bang, bang, bang, bang.
Clemmons, the killer, killed four real human beings.
And he has caused dreadful unimaginable pain for the surviving families of these four officers.
But he has also punched a great gaping torn hole in basic notions of civilization and community.
What an unspeakable horror.
Please, God, enough.
Friday, December 4, 2009
A man drives a truck into a restaurant.
First he waits until his path is clear.
He is bent on revenge of some kind.
The act is premeditated.
He kills two people and injures seven.
He is an alcoholic.
The geniuses who run something called The B.C. Review Board have decreed that this fellow will be set free next month - his crimes occurred last year - on only 10 conditions.
These conditions include, among other impossibilities, you must not drink.
Did I mention that he is an alcoholic?
My first question is this:
Who will be following this Living Danger around to monitor his Good Boy behaviour?
The parole and probation people no longer leave their offices. They spend all day filling out forms.
My second question is this:
Who reviews the Review Board?
These people are irresponsible in the extreme and when this lunatic kills his next innocent victims will Barry Long, Garnet Warrian and Lily Chow - the three members of the Review Board who have set free this walking time bomb -will they be held responsible? Will they even attend the funerals of Crazy Guy's next victims?
And my last question is this:
How do I get me appointed to this B.C. Review Board?
Whom do I have to know or blow?
I am sure there is a pleasant little remuneration attached to these duties.
But that's not the main reason I want this appointment.
The main reason I want the assignment is so that I can say, "NO!" over and over and over again to all the dangerous nut bars who think they should be walking around in my neighbourhood.
I want to sing "NO!"
I want to shout, "NO!"
I want to dance, "NO!" in a dizzying array of languages.
Posted by David Berner at 9:14 AM
As a follow-up to yesterday's story in this space about 200 care workers being fired after they voted to join a union, I recommend that you read Justine Hunter's first-rate analysis of the entire Seniors Care game here in SuperNatural British Columbia.
It comes down to two familiar phrases: underfunding and contracting out.
The people who will suffer will, of course, be the elderly and their families.
Another well-managed file from the good folks in the funny old building behind the lawn in Victoria.
Posted by David Berner at 9:06 AM