Monday, October 3, 2011

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND - The Pod People are mulifplying and they are winning...

I woke up at 6 am on Friday to visit the little room not far from where I sleep. My land line phones at home have a wonderful feature. There is a pre-set that turns off the ringers from 11:30 at night until 8 in the morning. I noticed in the dark, the phone light blinking. Oh, a message. No, two messages.

I knew what they would be.

The Supreme Court decision had come down delivering Insite unto the masses, Whooppee.

Sho ‘nuff, two media giants from the Mystic East had called at 5:45 and 5:49 requesting my extremely important reactions to this news. The 11-year old girl producer for one of these broadcasters ended her voice mail with “I hope you’re having a nice day.”

I yelled at the towels, “I AM having a nice day, thanks. I’m FUCKING SLEEPING!”

At 8:30, when I was already hunkering before the computer and reading about the pro-Insite decision, Nice Day Lady called again.

I asked her if, anywhere in her school life, she had been taught time zones. After a pause long enough for me to think of calling 911 to revive her, she said that she thought this was a business number.

“Besides the need to grow alfalfa, why would I be at work at 5:45 in the morning?” I asked ever so pleasantly.

Well, you get the picture.

The nice kid from local CBC-TV came over with his cameraman.

We filmed about 12 minutes in my dining room and then went upstairs to my study to film “B Roll” of me looking at the CBCTV website on this computer.

I watched the piece on the supper hour cast.

The Embalmed One was anchoring, but someone else was fronting this story.

They showed 3-5 minutes of raucous overjoyed crowds of believers cheering in triumph in front of the “safe” injection place. Then 8 seconds of my miserable out-of-step-with-the-times disagreement.

This is how the “journalists” at the Mother Corp operate. Five minutes of Hooray and 8 seconds of Just You Wait a Minute, Now.

At 8:30 that evening, the phone operator for a Radio talk show host in Alberta called and informed me that his host would be speaking to me soon. The host came on line and asked for my thoughts; then he argued vehemently with me. I asked him why he had invited me on the program. I asked him if he would ever knowingly cross the street to give a drunk a clean shot glass, or, if he knew that his daughter was self-mutilating, he might sharpen her razor blades for her.

He reckoned that he would do neither of those things, but felt it necessary to point out that I was in the minority. Translation – you are wrong, David. I asked him if he understood democracy.

He kept yelling at me, so I thanked him for calling and told him this wasn’t the kind of conversation I wanted to have with anyone, let alone him.

Later that evening, I caught about half an hour of a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The movie is called “The Invasion,” and it’s about the fourth remake of the great 1950’s black and white sci-fi flick, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It’s about human beings being overtaken and replaced by the Pod People who look just like them but who are robotic and without humanity.

(The only true oddity in this version is that Daniel Craig is such a good actor and so charismatic that when he has to convey that he has gone over to the Pod People, he is not convincing because his eyes continue to shine with some mysterious Star’s inner light.)

In the penultimate scene, Kidman and her son, pursued by the crazies, dash madly out of a building, but when they get onto the street, they must slow down and walk like zombies to fit in with the creeps around them.

I couldn’t watch because this all played perfectly into the disassociation I was experiencing all day.

There have now been at least four distinct times in my life when I felt that perhaps I had entered an alien universe or perhaps all the creatures around me where of a different and peculiar species.

The first time was watching hundreds of thousands of lunatics cheering on that creepy self-evident crook, Richard Nixon, at the Republican national Convention. They were wearing pants and dresses and they certainly looked like examples of the human species, but one could only wonder.

The second time was when the clock radio came on next to my bed in 1974/5 in Edmonton with the news that Bill Hawrelak had been re-elected Mayor of that fine Northern city. Bill had been found guilty of crimes on three occasions, but that didn’t stop the good people of Edmonton from choosing him to be mayor one last time. In 1992, I went cross-country skiing in Hawrelak Park. But that morning when the happy Hawrelak news broke, I felt like my shoulders had been pinned to the mattress by some extra-terrestrial force.

The third time was much like the first time, only instead of the true believers raising their banners on high for the oily Nixon, we had The Dumbest Person of Earth, George Bush.

But nothing in my experience prepared me for the sight of that crowd crowing with happiness for the brilliant decision of the Supreme Court, supporting the shooting gallery.

There were dope fiends and party hacks and pseudo-scientists and elected officials and doctors and so many people of holy good will cheering.

One friend of mine, a retired DTES police man, said he wanted to leave the province, leave the country. I was thinking gallactically. Maybe on Mars or Uranus there are creatures with clearer minds.

Last week, I had the joyful experience of attending the 40th anniversary of the Manitoba chapter of the abstinence based therapeutic community treatment centre that I started here in Vancouver in 1967.

There are 136 people in residence at any given moment and a 6-month waiting list to get in. Every day, clients are getting their matriculation and University degrees and reuniting with their families and moving to transition houses and back into the world as clean and sober citizens.

Support your local prevention and treatment programs. Unlike the other nightmares-posing-as-social policy, these real places are about hope and human dignity. Anything less is unworthy of our attention.


Gerry Warank said...

So you're just finding out how lame and corrupt CBC has become?

Today they are saturating their local and national radio newscasts with lengthy coverage of some Italian murder case with an American woman on trial. Why in God's name are we hearing about this? What relevance does it possibly have for us here in Canada, in BC??? Is there no other news for us here in Canada? This is just meaningless sensationalism, pandering to the lowest common denominator.

CBC is 75 and I know much sharper savvier 75-year-olds than CBC. CBC is scraping the bottom of the barrel professionally and ethically now as far as I'm concerned. And I used to be a big supporter of CBC, but not for the last years.

I'm fed up with their propaganda, "Afghanada" comes to mind. Endless looping of this "radio play" intended to glorify war and hook more people into signing up for the military. I mean, are we the Soviet Union now, with the CBC having morphed into our Pravda?

The only reason I listen to it is for a few programs, The Current and Jian Ghomeshi, and because there are no (well, few) commercials. But News??? Nope, I get it from the internet/blogs.

You make some good points re Insite, and the Alice-in-Wonderland logic. Also about how media and others pressure the populace to submit to group mind-meld.

Jeff Taylor said...

With the Insite ruling, I can't help thinking how happy the heads of organized crime and their street level dealers must be. With this decision, these people will have a endless supply of customers indirectly (or directly depending how one whats to look at it) who are basically encouraged by the Govt (at least at the Municipal & Provincial levels) and the Court (at least at the Federal level). I wonder if these judges and these idiots seen cheering on TV after the verdict was announced have ever asked themselves were these drugs that are used inside Insite come from. Maybe they think these drugs come from the tooth fairy or someone's gentle, old, grandmother or something. No, they come from predators - who are all celebrating this court ruling.

Evil Eye said...

Insite, just promotes drug use and what my fear is, the politicians will wash their hands of the whole affair.

The federal government wanted to shut Insite, but what would they offer in its stead? What programs were presented to deal with this disease of drug addiction?

Local politicians have all but given up and instead pour millions of dollars into the DTES, achieving nothing it seems.

The big winner is not the drug user, no, not by a long shot. The big winner is the mega drug dealers and no, not of the Bacon or Angels variety, rather the big players in the illegal drug industry, who have made themselves a big part of our elite society.

One of th big reasons that the BC Rail case was shut down by the government as it was getting to close to the big drug dealers. It was after all originally a drug case and answers that would be unpleasant for the government may have been asked.

Ever wonder how some of Vancouver's big operators made their money? Are we too polite to ask, especially when our sons and daughters are marrying into their dynasties?

Here lies the real problem, the big boys who run the drug business are the same ones we are supposed to admire. Insite was just a non issue in a far bigger game, that I believe we lost decades ago.

Anonymous said...

If I were a VPD officer I would get in my cruiser and drive around our beautiful city . I would never stop anyone. Never arrest anyone. I might look in peoples back (or front) yards to make sure they did not have more chickens than allowed. I would do this every day until I had enough time in so I could retire with a pension. Upon retiring I would get the hell out of this nut house and find a safe clean place to live


Gerry Verrier said...

I am a former addict that will stand up and say that I do not support Insite or needle exchange programs. If there had been safe injection sites back in the 70s, I would be dead. All the brick walls I ran into that said "Gerry, you need to stop using drugs or you will kill yourself, Gerry you need to stop committing crimes to feed your addiction because you are hurting a lot of people and you will rot in jail, Gerry you contribute nothing to your own community and are a free loader" made me think about who I was, what I was doing and where I was heading in life. It caused cognitive dissonance for me. It made me consider whether my mother brought me into this world to shame her and become a drug-addled train wreck. It made me consider that my new condo would in fact be a prison cell in Stony Mountain Penitentiary and that my "better half" was probably going to be called Bubba. I was judged and I was deemed to be deficient in appropriate and anti-addiction social and coping skills by a group of former addicts. I was expected to change and I was expected to contribute to this beautiful country in a meaningful way. I was also consequenced for my bad behaviour. I actually welcomed the criticism. I welcomed the idea that I could stop using life destroying drugs. I needed to hear that so badly. I welcomed the idea that people thought enough of me to expect me to start to be a positive member of society. I felt good and I felt accepted. I felt like I could accomplish something meaningful and could enjoy some success in my life.
Had Insite existed, I would have heard something like "Here, Gerry, now now, it's okay that you're addicted to morphine, here let me help you stick that needle in your vein and don't worry about overdosing because I won't let you. Don't you worry about me telling you to quit IV drugs, because you can quit whenever you want. I don't expect you to though, because you have a sickness just like cancer and diabetes and you're an addict for life, you poor hapless misunderstood defenseless creature. And don't worry about the big bad police, they can't come in here and they can't bother you outside either while you go on the nod on the sidewalk. In fact, we have doctors who want to give you free heroin. Isn't that wonderful news? You see, the people who want you to quit don't understand you like we do. We know that if we give you a free rig and a place to shoot up and make sure you don't overdose, you won't go out and have unsafe sex and we know for sure that you won't use or share dirty needles."
I would have moved into that clinic. I would have laughed all the way to my dealer's corner and back. No consequences for bad, harmful and antisocial behaviour? No consequence for spreading fatal and life threatening disease? Drug injecting paraphernalia that I don't have to pay for? No expectation to contribute to my community to balance out my constant freeloading? No consideration given to the fact that I stole 15 purses and robbed an old lady for her grocery money so I could score on the way to Insite? An addicts heaven. I would have happily cranked so much junk, my eyes would have bulged. Malnutrition? No biggie. I'll get free and expensive Boost supplements from my doctor. Organ failure after a dozen years of injecting poison into my body? No problem in our free medicare system. Heck, I bet I could get a nurse to come inject my heroin while I wait for an organ transplant. Work for a living and pay taxes? I have a disease, I can't work. In fact, I'll take some disability cash over and above my regular welfare payments. I'll also need some taxi chits so I can get to Insite. I have a disease, don't you know. And be quick about it, or else I will sic the harm reduction people on you. cont'd....

Gerry Verrier said...

And with all that, do you really think I'm going to start wearing condoms? Do you really think that at 3 in the morning, when I need a fix, I'm going to wait until the clinic opens at 10 am so I can shoot up with a clean rig? I AM going to have sex with this person and I am not going to wear a condom and we are going to share this rig because we don't give a fuck about nothing but getting off. I don't need to care because, really no one else does. No one expects any better of me, no one believes in my potential ability to contribute in a meaningful way and no one seems to care that I'm slowly killing myself. After all, I have a disease and I will always be an addict so I might as well be a really good addict. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go steal so I can buy more heroin. I sure wish they would hurry up with that free heroin program....

I know some addicts and homeless people are struggling with mental health issues. I know some addicts are messed up because of trauma in their life. They need medical treatment. They need support. They need the right kind of medication. Heroin is a painkiller, and a mind number. It and other addictive illicit drugs exasperate mental health issues and certainly does nothing for trauma victims. Addiction does not promote self esteem or self confidence. There is no success or accomplishment or education in a needle filled with junk. Addiction does not provide hope. Addiction kills, Addiction sucks the life out of our communities. Addiction shortchanges our children. Addiction enslaves our brothers and our sisters and our grandchildren. Addiction adds costs to our already expensive health care system that need not be.

Providing for addicts to continue to be addicted is anti-social. Not expecting our addicted brothers and sisters to contribute to the betterment of our society and community is anti-social. Helping an addict stick a needle in his or her arm is anti social. Harm Reduction as it is applied to addiction is anti social.

I had to laugh but felt like crying when I read on the International Harm Reduction Association website how the Reductionists were upset that abstention-based treatment programs were using the term "Harm Reduction" and that expecting addicts to quit using is not Harm Reduction. The Reductionists wanted to reiterate that Harm Reduction means working with people who do not want to change. How twisted is that?

Angela Squires said...

I'm glad there are others who find this Insite decision insane. Where indeed do these illegal drugs come from and how do these addicts obtain the money to pay for them? Out of our pockets, by stealing from us, collecting numerous welfare cheques under various identities and so on. Without compulsory treatment based on abstinence for drug addicts Insite is merely facilitating drug users at our expense. VCH is funding this obscenity while those in need of medical treatment languish on lengthy waiting lists.
It boggles my mind!