Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Hands down, the worst possible tragedy that can befall an adult human being is to lose a child.


No one wants to outlive his or her own children.

Thus, I write this piece not wanting in any way to add to the pain and grief experienced by a father who is at the centre of this dreadful story.

Nor do I wish to deny that the police are having their credibility eroded by repeated examples of highly questionable behaviour.

When case after case appears before our eyes of people dying in custody or being brutalized by rogue officers, it is impossible to turn away and pretend that something isn't wrong.

So much so that I will devote an episode of our SHAW TV show to this generic problem in the coming weeks.

But this particular story of a young man drowning in the very cold waters right off the downtown SeaBus terminal is missing a key ingredient, both in the telling and in understanding.

The article in the Sun chronicles the murky details of what may have actually happened on the night of December 12th. Read it and draw whatever conclusions you may. I have no solid idea what actually transpired that night.

The police may or may not have fudged their reports.

The writer has, over the too many years he has been given a platform at the paper, shown a consistent dislike for and distrust of the police. His problem.

The elephant on the dock that is mentioned, barely skimmed over and not in any serious way considered is that the young man who drowned that night was a drug addict.

He had been using heroin for many years, and on the fateful night, he had walked away from a treatment house.

He was found to have crystal meth and cocaine in his system when he died.

I am not blaming this fellow for dying or for dying while being a drug addict.

But please understand something.

Bad things happen to good people.

And bad things happen to bad people.

Shit happens.

Life is an endless challenge.

Adding drug addiction to your coping mechanisms is not the swiftest move in life.

If you spend a lot of time shooting heroin and all the attendant fun and games that go with that, and add meth and coke to the mix and half-way houses and cops...well, oops, there's a much better chance that you'll end up in a bad place than if you drive to work every day and go home to the wife and kids.

So it's fine to blame the cops, and they may have much to answer for by the time the whole and real story emerges.

But what responsibility did this poor fellow have in his own life and death?

A lot.

Even though we are loathe to look at it.


phatpooch said...

Hey David we can never say enough when someone loses there life to addiction sad sad Sean from Servant house keep up the good work P.S I saw your interview with the judge this guy was my kind of judge

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David Berner said...


barry Joneson said...

What responsibility did this poor have in his own life and death?

Every single hard core addict I have met has very little to do with their life and death.

We learn very early on (from birth - 10), the very basics that become the cornerstones of our lives.

Our parents, those who will be our closest confidents, our greatest teachers the ones that teach us how to love others, to be kind and gentle, to learn that it is okay to not be perfect.

From the time we are born until we take our first drink/hoot the dye has been cast.

A normal kid who has had the right combination of learning and loving during the early years may have a drink and may drink more but they rarely, if evr, get addicted. Those prone to addiction have the first drug and they have an almost magical experience, they feel normal as they have just had an artificial boost to their self esteem, powerful beyond words and the greates lover and seducer they will ever find. The kid whose parents were their greatest teacher usually have good self esteem so the effect of the drink/drug is pleasureable but if consequences ever came from it, they would probably stop drinking or slow down...not so for the kid who gets everything from the drug that he was supposed to get as a result of solid parenting, feeling stronger, feeling like they can talk to the girsl/boys, feel like they they belong, that they are equal and yes, that they have arrived and will now also standup for themselves.
The words above are the result of spending my whole first half of my life in addiction and personally knowing thousands and the last third of my life living in recovering from addiction...I have yet to sit down with a parent who feels they had no part in the addiction of their son/daughter, some start out feeling that way but soon they can see their role...There is no blame, my mom and dad are dead but I love them, even after all that was done to me, heaven only knows how their parents treated them.........