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.