Monday, April 08, 2013

Robert Dziekanski


It’s been five and half years since Robert Dziekanski died after being tasered by members of the RCMP in Vancouver International Airport and the British Columbia’s Coroners Service has now written a report that calls his death a homicide. The media reports I have seen say that the word ‘homicide’ is considered a neutral term in a coroners report and is not intended to imply blame, only meaning that the death was caused by another person. I read this on the CBC news web-site, and then I made my usual mistake and went to the comments section under the story, and there nestled the usual pack of idiots. Another opportunity to rag on the RCMP as a whole and the nimrods are in heaven. Clever little arguments about how the RCMP ‘get away with murder’ and how we are living in a ‘police state’ abound, not a single one of these simpletons capable of understanding how ironic it is that they are allowed to get away with such cutting comments in this police state with it’s
murderous cops. But more on this crowd later.

 Robert Dziekanski should not be dead. He should never have been put into the position that he was. He was attempting to move from Poland to Canada for work, and he was to live with his mother in Kamloops, BC. He was a construction worker with mining experience and by all accounts he wanted to be a contributing member of Canadian society and from the little I have seen we would have been lucky to have him. So what actually happened? His plane was two hours late arriving at Vancouver International Airport. He needed language support to get through customs and then from about 4:00 PM on he appears to have dropped off the map for almost seven hours. At 10:45 he tried to leave the Customs area but was turned back as his visa had not yet been processed. This was completed just after midnight and he was escorted to the international arrivals area. By this time his mother had left after being told several times that her son was not on site. At 10:00 PM she went back to Kamloops as she thought her son must have missed his flight. By this time Mr Dziekanski was becoming agitated. Nobody could communicate with him as he did not speak English and eventually the RCMP were called.

Why is it that I see nothing but questions here? This all happened in October 2007, some six years after 9/11 when airport security became tighter even here in Canada. There is a large man wandering around in a secure area, becoming agitated and security does absolutely nothing to find out what is going on? Obviously someone spoke Polish to him in the immigration area, so why didn’t someone from security call immigration and get him some help? Why was his mother told that he was not on site? Was it too much to ask for a security person to actually check? “Has anyone seen a large man speaking Polish?” seems like such an easy question to ask. I have to assume that the security people at Vancouver International know that they are working at an international airport, and how the international arrivals work. That would be part of security, wouldn’t it?

The video above is on Youtube and was taken by Paul Pritchard who was returning from China. Going by what I can see in the video the yellow jacketed security guys (well, at least the jackets are the right colour) are just sort of muttering around, not really doing anything security like. One of them says that Mr Dziekanski is speaking Russian and nobody can understand him – so if he knew he was speaking a Slavic language, why not get someone I who can speak a Slavic language? It isn’t exactly Klingon. There are people in BC who speak Russian, and Russian is close to Polish, and this all might have gone in a different, better direction. The video follows Mr Dziekanski around for about five minutes before the RCMP arrive and he is tasered soon after they arrive. In fact Mr Dziekanski is on the ground screaming in pain for a couple of minutes when the person taking the video says at 7:40, “Prime footage for my home video,” showing his massive concern for what is going on (he showed even more concern later on when he sold the video to the media for thousands of dollars, hoping that nobody would say he was trying to profit from the video. “Profit is such an ugly word,” he says). In fact for the entire video there is only one person shown trying to engage Mr Dziekanski and that is when a woman goes up to him and appears to try to talk to him. During the entire video no security people try at all, although to be fair they may have tried before the video began. The RCMP requested the camera from Mr Pritchard, and then he almost had to go to court to get the footage back.

Am I saying the RCMP are blameless in this thing? Fuck no. RCMP members overreacted to this situation, and then lied about it. Four members on scene and I find it hard to believe that four trained members of the RCMP could not have subdued and restrained Mr Dziekanski without having to resort to the tasers. The RCMP should not have tried to hide the video footage. This is not my argument. What I really don’t like is how all too many have just decided that this is strictly an RCMP issue and are using it to bash the RCMP. So Vancouver International is entirely blameless? The security at the airport, as well as the boarder service security guys are blameless? WTF? I don’t really understand why the RCMP were called in the first place. It was totally beyond the capabilities of the airport security to deal with this situation? A distraught traveler? Get the cops! Really? Their training must be outstanding.

Nobody in authority in the video even tried to help Mr Dziekanski, in (once again) an INTERNATIONAL airport. An airport with air traveler security fees that top $170 million a year and language services that one would think would cover Polish. Well done.

But everybody loves to go after the cops. Hey, it’s easy and doesn’t require much thought. The thing is that police do a job every day that most of these whiney little pus-stains couldn’t do on the best day they ever had. Playing shoot-em-up video games does not make one an expert in police matters, and just because one got a speeding ticket is no reason to hate the police. Unfortunately that is as far as some are capable of thinking. “Gosh, I got in trouble for walking down the street throwing beer cans around. Stupid police.” Or, “Gee, I was just smoking a joint on the beach, and I get in trouble. Stupid police.” Or how about, “I only had a couple of drinks and wanted to drive home because my mom was sick and I had to take care of her and the police arrested me. Stupid police.” Some people are idiots, and they are not a dying breed.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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