Vancouver’s “Finest” have done the unthinking again.
On a bright, Thursday evening, Constable Chalmers was driving around the Eastside looking for trouble with his trusty computer-toting sidekick, when suddenly it appeared to appear in the guise of a masked man gingerly walking across Victoria Drive right behind their unmarked, pollution-spewing vehicle.
Wasting no time for thought, they quickly backed-up against the flow of traffic and turned down the brightly sunlit, wide alleyway in search of this potential threat to all of humanity.
Within seconds, the police car had not only caught up to this pedestrian, they pulled up right beside him since he had politely moved aside. But wait! The masked man was now…unmasked (the trusty sidekick would soon identify this trick as more suspicious than if the mask was left on…remember that folks). In no time, Constable Chalmers was accosting this man with all the charm the VPD are famous for by grunting: “what are you doing?”
The now dangerously unmasked man looked at him and blankly replied, ” what does it look like?”
Constable Chalmers quickly realized that he was at risk of being taken for just another human being (albeit, one with a well-fitting blue outfit, complete with iPod-capable earphone and chest-enhancers), so he sped up in order to skid to a halt (how much do their tires and gasoline cost us?), almost half-blocking this man’s path.
Although he neglected to answer the question “are you being a nice person?”, Constable Chalmers did not miss his target as he jumped out of his car, grabbed the unmasked man’s jacket, and threw him around. “What’s your name?” was then yelled in the terrorist’s face. “Am I under arrest?” retorted the terrorist. Being the well-trained professional that he is, Constable Chalmers changed tact almost instantly with a slightly louder, “What’s your name!”
After another “am I under arrest,” his trusty sidekick was quick to intervene: “Shut your mouth! Blah (nod), blah (nod), blah (nod)…you are under investigation” (note: if you haven’t heard of this term before it is because this is a very technical term that is used in only the most delicate and dangerous of situations, since the violation of tax-paying citizen’s Charter and other basic legal rights are the primary focus for members of the Vancouver Police Department).
After extracting the terrorist’s name and birth date, an answer of “I don’t need to tell you that” in response to “where do you live?” received another threat, this time of being charged with obstruction. Strangely enough, the trusty sidekick went back to the computer and just asked for a middle name (umm…that would be “trouble” with a capital T).
Meanwhile, Constable Chalmers described the dangers of having masked men walking around his neighbourhood (would that be in a suburb, by chance?) and was predicting 911 to call at any moment with alerts of “balaclava-clad” terrorists in the neighbourhood. Do you think he and his colleagues would act this way with a person wearing a burqa?
In perfect harmony, his trusty sidekick chimed in with a whining chorus of “do you know how dangerous this job is?”, all the while completely ignoring the feedback that was calmly given by the unmasked man. You know, stuff like “you might try asking questions in a respectful manner” or “if you say you are paid to enforce the laws, why did you assault me?” and “have you ever taken an anger management course?”
Obviously asking if his shoe size was bigger than his IQ was not verbalized (or you wouldn’t be reading this yet:).
So yet another terrorist attack was averted by these professional (hit-)men who put their blood-pressure at risk to enforce their laws, all at our cost.
P.S. Here is the link to the VPD’s website where it is actually states “Our Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Accountability, Respect.”
P.P.S. If you’d like to send their leader Jamie Graham (who, according to their website, lectures on “safe blowing techniques”) any questions or comments that you might have (e.g., their approach to ordinary citizens [who pay their salaries, etc.] seems to create more crime than it prevents), you can do so by emailing email@example.com. Other organizations that will probably show more interest are:
P.P.S.S. Custom-made mask orders (complete with filters for particulates and VOCs from motorized vehicles) can be made by me via email.
Although many folks may have catered to these thugs’ need to have power over their prey (and thus prevented this assault or worse), I also know that the fact that I’m a white male with enough education and experience to be able to speak clearly and calmly in times of crisis kept these cops from further escalating this needless encounter to something even more serious.
So in the spirit of helping these cops (and most of the others) understand their claim that they are here to “Serve and Protect” (why do I get the impression they watch too much TV?), here’s a training scenario that is free of charge to any cop shop in the world…
Cop: “Good evening, sir. We were just passing by and noticed [/fill in the scenario here; in this case…/] that you had something covering your nose and mouth back there. I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t ask you why you had that on your face, although I see that you don’t have it on your face now.
Ornery jerk: “What, is it a crime to wear clothes now? Why are you asking me this?”
Cop: “No, of course it is not against the law to wear any type of clothing, but when someone conceals their face, it makes us suspicious that they may be trying to hide themselves or about to commit a crime.”
Ornery jerk: “Am I hiding anything right now? You can see my entire face, what’s the problem?”
Cop: “You are right, you aren’t hiding any part of your face from us. But I still don’t understand why you were wearing the mask back there.”
Ornery jerk: “Have you ever walked near a car with its engine on? Try it and see if you can smell roses or something slightly more toxic.”
Cop: “Oh! You were protecting yourself from the toxic exhaust of the cars that were passing you by. Now I understand. I’m sorry to have taken your time. Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
Oh, we can dream, can’t we?