Archive for May, 2009

Intelligent Design and the human body

May 25, 2009

After deep study I have come to the semi-scientific conclusion that Intelligent Design is a fallacy. I base this conclusion on the ongoing study I have done of my body and the shocking discovery that the design is shoddy. Bad back, bad knees, loss of hair where you need it and growth of same where you don’t. Surely if an ultimate being had designed humankind  it would have been possible to build a better model.

Maybe teeth that would re-grow as the old ones wore out? No migration of the hair from the head to the ears? Possibly mental improvement rather than mental decline as we get older? Would that be too much to ask from intelligent design?

If (as they claim) it is entirely possible to extend life to 150 years what’s the point if the body is set to collapse by the time you reach your 80s. Were we purposely designed for planned obsolescence? Which I suppose could be part of intelligent design, but then what would be the point of making us smart enough to extend our life span if we end up for the last fifty years or so sitting in some dreary nursing home wondering who we were. Possibly we are simply a prototype?

Then again we haven’t done too well with evolution either. Granted we learned to walk upright and lost a lot of body hair in the process, learned to vocalize and went from drumming on a hollow logs to piano concertos. But what has it done for us lately? It seems that the process has stalled out. This is disappointing seeing as new studies indicate that birds can evolve to changing conditions over short periods of time. Where did man go wrong?

Or – maybe as in the final episode of St. Elsewhere we are simply a figment of an autistic child’s imagination. That would simplify things.

So many questions and so few answers. Slow night.

(Loosely categorized under ‘humour’)

Different times: Simpler Times

May 21, 2009

I need to qualify these comments by saying that every incident that the police get caught up in is unique and judgments are made based on a lot of factors. In this case a spouse was involved and the man was an unknown factor.  It became a major manhunt.

Keremeos RCMP Detachment summoned and coordinated resources from neighboring detachments and units, including Oliver/Osoyoos and Princeton Detachments, South Okanagan Traffic Services, Integrated Border Enforcement Team, two Penticton Police Dog Services units, Princeton RCMP and South East District Air Services Helicopter Air 4 in order to conduct extensive patrols of the area. Approximately 15 officers combed the Ashnola area West of Keremeos near the Cathedral Lakes Provincial Campgrounds, shutting down Ashnola Road to ensure the safety of persons in the area.

It just reminded me of a situation many years ago in Watson Lake in the Yukon where a local trapper got into a confrontation in the local bar and went back to his cabin outside of town telling everyone if the local RCMP constable came after him he would shoot him. Of course this got reported to the officer, who was expected to charge out there and take the trapper into custody. But he didn’t, explaining that if he did that he just might provoke a tragic incident and that the trapper was of no danger to anyone back in his cabin. The next morning the constable went out to the cabin and arrested the trapper, now sober, hungover and in a different frame of mind. What could have been a serious incident was just a routine bit of police work.

Again, certainly not to say in any way that the Keremeos incident could have (or should have) been handled any differently than it was, and in Watson Lake it was a small northern community where the local RCMP officer knew his constituency personally. But I wonder if the Watson Lake incident was to happen today whether it would be handled in such a low key manner, or whether the ERT would be flown in from wherever and it would be a major news event .

Simpler times.

Life is a crapshoot

May 16, 2009

Bob Rosburg who went from being a successful pro golfer to a long time on-course TV commentator recently died at the age of 82. In reading some commentary on Rosburg on Geoff Shackelford’s website, I linked to a 2002 interview that Rosburg had done with Guy Yocom for Golf Digest.

One of Rosburg’s stories makes you realize how even the smallest incident can affect your future for better or for worse.

I knew Tony Lema very well. Prior to the first big tournament he ever won, the 1962 Orange County Open, he told the press guys that if he won he was going to buy champagne for them. Well, he and I wound up in a playoff, and on the first hole he hit the worst hook you’ve ever seen.

It had to be out-of-bounds, so he hit a provisional ball. When we get down there, damn if his first ball isn’t in bounds by two feet. He went on to win the playoff, and his career really took off. I was happy for Tony. We were good friends, and I was sad when he was killed in a plane crash in 1966. Many years later, a man approached me on the golf course and says, “Mr. Rosburg, do you remember the Orange County Open in 1962?”

I said, “Sure. Like it was yesterday.”

“Remember the first playoff hole?”


“Well, that ball was out-of-bounds. My friends and I were standing there, and we were Marines, and Tony had been a Marine, and we wanted to help him. So I kicked it back in bounds.”

Now that’s a hell of a thing to hear. I couldn’t help myself.

I said, “I should be mad at you, but I understand. But I want you to know one thing. Tony told me that if he didn’t win that tournament he was going to quit and become a club pro. So if you hadn’t kicked that ball back on to the golf course, Tony Lema would be alive today.”

Turn left or turn right and your world may change.

Ottawa police officer assaults cabbie

May 16, 2009

While we’re on the subject of police, this incident in Ottawa is really disturbing.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit has taken up the case of an off-duty Ottawa police officer who is alleged to have assaulted an Airport Taxi driver Monday afternoon. The taxi driver’s wrist was fractured in two places and his right index finger was also broken in the incident.

The officer has been relegated to supervised desk work for the course of the SIU investigation.


Sami Aldoboni, 43, said an aggressive male driver in a grey-coloured Nissan Xterra SUV tailgated him for nine kilometres as he travelled southbound on the Airport Parkway on his way back to the airport around 4 p.m. He said the man tried to overtake him on the single-lane road, and then became visibly angry when he could not.

Aldoboni said the man followed him from Brookfield Road all the way into the taxi drivers’ parking lot a short distance from the terminal, and when both men got out of their cars, Aldoboni said the man shouted racial insults at him, shoved him to the ground and proceeded to beat him before other taxi drivers intervened.

Mo Atiya, a 24-year-old driver who was the first to intervene, said the man applied a “tactical arm lock,” which appeared to break Aldoboni’s wrist. Atiya said when he confronted the man, the man showed him a police ID card.

Several witnesses to the incident said when uniformed police officers arrived, the man showed two officers what appeared to be an ID card. The police officers did not handcuff the man, and several witnesses said the officers handed him their pen and notepad and he appeared to be writing his own statement. The uniformed officers eventually got into the backseat of the man’s SUV and he drove out of the parking lot, several witnesses said.

It will be interesting to see if this investigation sees the light of day or whether it will be kept below the public radar by the police investigating unit.

It was pretty sad to see an official police spokesman on TV defending the officer and saying that he knew him personally and that he was a decent person. Especially after the guy just finished breaking the cabbie’s finger and his arm in two places.

Steve Boucher, president of the police officers’ association, said his union will be making sure a fair investigation is conducted.

“But in the interim, he’s a member of ours, he’s a very good individual and I stand behind him and support him through this process.”

Boucher would not reveal the officers’ identity, but he said he has a good service record.

Maybe so, but if he’s one of their nice guys, I sure wouldn’t want to annoy one of their nastier officers.

If it had been a civilian who had done this he would have been arrested and cuffed by the attending police officers. The law apparently doesn’t work the same way for police officers who cross the line.

It is an unfortunate situation that pedophiles gravitate to organizations that deal with children and bullies and individuals with thuggish tendencies like the environment within a police force where the uniform gives them power.

Maybe there were other forces at work here that caused this police officer to act the way he did, but the arrogance shown by beating up on this cabbie and then flashing his badge as though that vindicated his actions leave the taste that this was simple thuggery.

What are the odds that he’ll be back on the street in short order.

Update on Alberta taser death

May 16, 2009

Well, really not much of an update as the medical examination could not determine the official cause of death.

An inquiry into the death of an Alberta man shocked three times by an RCMP stun gun couldn’t come to a conclusion about what ultimately killed him.

In a report released Wednesday morning, provincial court Judge Monica Blast said the most likely cause of Jason Doan’s cardiac arrest was “excited delirium,” but because no underlying medical diagnosis could be identified as the trigger that put him into that state, the cause of death remains “undeterminable.”

Without a cause of death, the judge said she had no recommendations.

Although the exact cause of death could not be determined by the medical examiner it is really hard to believe that the tasering did not contribute in a significant way. It’s just too much of a coincidence.

Regardless, it is hard to fault the police on this incident. When you get a highly disturbed individual that you can’t calm down and fights you there are only a few options available and none of them are gentle. In this case the taser would seem to have been a reasonable choice.

Doan was arrested on Aug. 10 after several Red Deer residents called police complaining a soaking wet man was yelling profanities and threats, as well as smashing windows on vehicles. Doan struggled with the first two RCMP officers who tried to arrest him, using a stick as a weapon.

“Doan displayed enormous strength, stamina and endurance and appeared to be impervious to all of the pain compliance techniques used on him by police in their attempt to subdue him,” the judge wrote.

The officers had one handcuff on Doan when a third officer arrived and threatened to use a Taser on him if he didn’t comply. The officer used the Taser, set on touch-stun mode, three times on Doan’s back. On the third try, Doan’s resistance “eased off” and after a few seconds he said “Please help me,” the judge wrote.

Police got the second handcuff on him and noticed he was turning blue. The officers tried to help him, performing CPR, until paramedics arrived, took over, then took him to the hospital.

It’s easy to second guess, but I don’t think that this one in any way compares to the Robert Dziekanski case.

Another over reaction to a tragedy: This time in Germany

May 9, 2009

We have now come to expect that every time some disturbed individual does harm with a firearm, legislators will to go sideways in a desperate attempt to try and convince their constituents that they can pass some irrelevant laws that will guarantee the public’s safety.

Now it is Germany, where a 17 year old took a handgun from his father and proceeded to kill 15 people at his school.

The government’s reaction?

  1. Ban paintball games because the the sport “stimulates killing”.
  2. Bar youths under the age of 18 from shooting high-power firearms for target practice.
  3. Give police the power to inspect private residences to check on firearm storage.
  4. An electronic registry.
  5. Legislate (eventually) biometric security systems so that firearms can only be used by their rightful owners

Germany already has quite severe gun laws but how these new proposed measures will make anyone in Germany any safer is way beyond my understanding.

Of course the answer is that they won’t make a whit of difference but the politicians will play the old game of passing useless laws in the hope that the public and the news media accepts their bullshit at face value and asks no hard questions. So why would we expect Germany to be any different than anywhere else?

Before they proceed, they really should come and look at Canada’s experience before they begin to institute a firearms registry.

Ottawa and meetings, meetings, meetings

May 7, 2009

Working in Ottawa this week with a small delegation from the BC Wildlife Federation. We have been meeting with MPs, Senators and senior bureaucrats since Monday and are on our last day of meetings. Flying home tomorrow. Not a moment too soon as I think I am just about overdosed on meetings.

We came down to talk about several issues: fisheries (halibut allocation to a large degree), the amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act which were shoved through in the government budget bill, C-10, native affairs issues and federal firearms issues, specifically Garry Breitkreuz’ private member’s bill C-301 and the government’s Senate bill, S-5.

We were given a good ear by all of the people that we met with, which doesn’t mean that anything will happen, but at least we were given the courtesy to fairly state our case.

Lots of security as is to be expected. But what impressed me was the friendlness and good humour of the secutiry people. Having grown used to quite the opposite reaction in airports everywhere, where it appears they are trained to suspect everyone as an imminent security risk, it was quite a nice change. Commendations to whomever is in charge of that aspect of the Otawa experience.

Another RCMP taser death embarrassment?

May 7, 2009

There is no detail on this story yet, but it could be the makings of another public relations disaster for the RCMP.

A man died in a southern Alberta hospital after RCMP shocked him with a stun gun.

In a press release, Brooks RCMP said they responded to a call Wednesday night about a man who was “observed to be injured and causing a disturbance in a residential area of the community.” Emergency medical workers also arrived.

Police gave few details, but said they used a Taser on the man.

“The adult male then experienced medical distress and was immediately provided with emergency medical assistance. The male was transported to Brooks Hospital where he later died,” police said.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which looks into all deaths in the province involving police officers, is investigating.

We’ll keep a watch for any further news stories on this one.

Toronto the incredibly stupid

May 1, 2009

I have trashed Toronto in previous posting and afterward thought that it wasn’t fair to do a blanket condemnation of the city based on the policies and thinking of their Mayor, David Miller. But now I wonder.

The latest bit of stupidity that oozes out of the city in part from elected officials of the Toronto School Board.

The starter’s pistol is under the gun, facing a growing clamour to end its use at local high school track and field meets.

And the movement to ban the gun because of its deadly symbolism includes someone who literally has pulled the trigger to start foot races for thousands of high school athletes across Ontario.

“We don’t need people standing around with (pistols) – those days are done,” said Brian Keaveney, a former teacher and an internationally ranked starter who has his own pistol.

Having guns in and around schools is bad optics, he added.

Keaveney has been joined in the call for the starter gun ban by some officials from the Toronto District School Board and Athletics Ontario, among others.

Political correctness at its finest.

So it looks as though Mayor Miller’s hoplophobia has infected more of the general Toronto populace than previously suspected.

There is some rational argument against this latest Toronto based plan to save their citizens from imagined dangers and indescribable evils.

According to an article today, Toronto District School Board officials have finally had enough of school shootings. In the latest effort to make schools safer, free from the risk of gun violence, the TDSB has decided to get tough, crack down, and finally rid our schools of the scourge of … the starter pistols used at track and field events. Former teachers, coaches, and unnamed school board officials want to see the pistols banned and replaced with new technology over the next few years. No doubt the students feel safer already.

Starter pistols are to real handguns what a table knife is to a machete. They have triggers, this is true, and when those triggers are pulled, there is a loud bang. They vaguely resemble revolvers. By design, they cannot fire live ammunition, being capable only of detonating a blank shell or a even just a cap. The loud crack, easily heard by all, is what sends sprinters racing down their lane. More modern starter pistols include electronic sensors that detect the pull of the trigger, starting the race clock, allowing for extremely accurate timings of competitive events. There are, of course, other ways of announcing the race’s start, such as an electronic buzzer or a sharp blast from a whistle. But that isn’t the point. (more…)