Cigarettes Don’t Just Cause Cancer – They Also Ruin Vacations

It’s been a while since I posted. Things have been a little crazy so far this summer but now things have settled down, more or less, and I can get back to posting regularly. And once again I realize how fortunate and grateful I am to have the people I do in my life.

And speaking of grateful, my first post back is going to be about a young man who expresses entitlement and ingratitude to an such an extent he caused a whole plane to turn around 45 minutes into its flight and land back where it took off.

 

If you don't knock it off we'll turn this plane around and head straight back home.

If you don’t knock it off we’ll turn this plane around and head straight back home.

Ali Shahi was on a Sunwing flight leaving Toronto for a vacation in Panama. He asked the flight attendant how much a pack of cigarettes was, and when she informed him of the price and he realized they were twenty-five cents cheaper on the plane than they were where he bought them at the airport, he demanded to be reimbursed. That’s right, he demanded to be reimbursed twenty-five whole cents. Of course this was not going to happen, and the fact that he’d demand something so ridiculous gives a sense of this young man’s (he’s 25) attitude of entitlement.

So he does what any spoiled, badly behaved young man would do: He curses Canada, and becomes more and more animated, destroying things around him, and threatens to blow up the plane. This you cannot do. The plane turned around, and was escorted back to the Toronto airport by two American fighter jets. The SWAT team was called and they stormed the plane, taking Shahi and his girlfriend into custody.

I take the price of cigarettes very seriously.

I take the price of cigarettes very seriously.

As soon as I heard about this story I waited only a few beats before I heard what I KNEW was coming. Shahi’s family let all of us know that none of this was his fault. He is mentally ill. He suffers from depression. This is the fault of the police and the health system. They did not give him the proper help–even though he had been seen by mental health professionals, and given medication he refused to take. And in the past the police have been called to deal with Shahi but they can’t lock him up for being an asshole (God, how I wish this were possible). And of course we also have the obligatory claims of this young man being bullied for being chubby when he was younger.

Thus completing the Get Out of Jail Free Card, having now touched on all the modern nerve centres of sympathy.

So once again the claim of mental illness is used to excuse really bad behavior. This of course erodes the real and serious consequences for those who have a legitimate diagnosis of a mental illness that can result in seemingly erratic behaviour. I also see this trend developing with silly claims of PTSD made by anyone who just happened to have a bad day. Off the charts rage at being told “no” is not a mental illness–it is a character flaw that frankly I have no time for, especially if it has evolved from the person being indulged and never having to suffer any real consequences for their actions.

So instead of apologizing for his son’s ass-hattery and expressing sympathy for the poor people on the plane who had the shit scared out of them, and had a chunk of their vacation ruined, daddy lays the blame on everyone else. Hmmmm, maybe here is where the roots of junior’s issues lie.

Another tidbit the family divulged is that Shahi had recently lost $6000 of student loan money from gambling. What?! So why is the little prince taking a vacation to Panama? Why is he not working to pay back the money he threw away? It sounds like there have been very few consequences for this man’s behaviour.

And lastly, what I find almost more distasteful than anything else are Shahi’s loud proclamations of how horrible Canada is. This type of ingratitude is something I find infuriating. I’m not a Canadian who is polite to the point of happily indulging the criticism and condemnation of people who have been here for about ten minutes. If you don’t like my home and all that has been given to you, and you don’t want to initiate constructive change through proper channels, then GET THE FUCK OUT.

One thing is for sure: A far too tolerant Canadian justice system will give Shahi nothing more than a slap on the wrist, he will undoubtedly be ungrateful and say horrible things about Canada, he will be indulged, and a law suit will be filed claiming the little prince was traumatized and persecuted.

What could possibly happen: An inquiry will be ordered. The pilots of the plane, and the police, and fellow passengers will be painted by the CBC as mildly racist. A professor of fine arts will write, and have performed, an opera decrying the persecution suffered by young men who only wish to blow up an airplane, and somehow Canadians will feel collectively guilty for even daring to question anything this little prince has done.

O Canada!

Happy Fourth of July

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Happy Birthday, America. You gave us rock ‘n’ roll, baseball, and jazz music (though I don’t care for jazz personally), and if Canada ever finds itself in a fight we know you’ll help us. We couldn’t ask for better neighbours. I mean,  just look at poor South Korea and the Ukraine. I’d like to take a moment to say thanks for all you do. Except Florida.

Florida, you need to get your shit together.

 

Fourth of July 2

 

 

 

 

O Canada

Today is Canada’s birthday so we made our way across the High Level Bridge to the Alberta Legislature to take in some festivities.

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A view from the bridge about half way across.

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On the grounds of the Legislature, stopping to have some lunch.

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This is the bridge we took walking home. Trains on the top, people on the bottom.

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The Leg. or as I like to call it: The house that oil built.

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A big fountain pool in front of the Legislature.

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It seems that in Canada as soon as we get a day without snow and ice we’ll strip down and swim just about anywhere.

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Sometimes, after I go pee, I like to wave a Canadian flag. I don’t know why.

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And a walk through the forest on our way home. What? A forest? Yes, we have a forest in the middle of Edmonton. The best of both worlds.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour. We are so fortunate to live in such an amazing country, and a great city. We are also lucky enough to be able to watch the fireworks tonight from our 19th-story balcony. Oh, I have to go pee. Now where did I put that flag?

I Want to be Luke Skywalker

One of the first movies I saw in a theatre was Star Wars. I can’t imagine a better film to have as my first. At that time lived out in the country, surrounded by woods, rivers, and lakes, and spent a lot of time running wild in dense Ottawa Valley wilderness, so making a trek into the city, Ottawa, was a big deal. I must have been about 10 years old. I had no idea where we were going or why we were going there. I paid little attention to anything my parents said or did. But we packed ourselves into our purple Dodge Dart and headed down a long, winding dirt road to the highway that would take us to the city. I sat in the back and fought with my brother as smoke billowed from my mom’s mouth and nose as she tugged greedily on her cigarette and my dad cursed as he inevitably got lost.

But we did eventually make it to the city, and it was a magical day. First we went to an arcade. Huh? We weren’t even allowed to watch tv and here my parents were taking us to an arcade. Lights and noise and games. We played pinball mostly. I loved it. We spent at least an hour there and when it was time to go, my brother and I wanted to stay. But my parents insisted we go now or we would be late for the movie.

I had no inkling of what we would see. We sat in our seats. The lights went down and then that iconic bold writing came on the screen. I was hooked from the first scene. My palms were sweating and the world around me disappeared. Luke Skywalker was everything I had ever wanted to be. A good boy who had horrible things happen to him. A boy who dreamed of leaving the small provincial life he led for adventure. His hair was awesome and his clothes were amazing. And Luke had Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, an older man who mentored Luke. Obi Wan taught Luke about The Force, and he was a Jedi Knight! And he was showing Luke how to use a light sabre, and giving him the tools to go from a boy who had things happen to him, to a man who controlled his destiny. Obi Wan was the wise, gentle, fiercely-proficient-with-a light-sabre father I had wanted. My own father had sadly been awash in religious fervor and broken dreams for as long as I could remember.

Luke Skywalker

Luke had amazing friends: a couple of robots who were funny, loyal, and more human than machine; a beautiful princess who had a “my shit don’t stink” exterior but internally was deeply committed to the rebellion; a smuggler who called Luke “kid” and his co-pilot Chewbacca, a Wookiee, who was unlike anything I’d ever seen. I had a few friends but I had nothing like this gaggle of misfits in my life, and I thought if I was Luke Skywalker I’d never be lonely again. So it was all the more horrible when Han Solo decided to take his money and split before the final assault on the Death Star. What are you doing, Han? You bastard. Luke needs you. You can’t leave now. At least he had Obi Wan to guide him.

Han Solo

The assault was not going well. I felt sick every time an X-Wing fighter pilot would relay a desperate message of an enemy on his tail before being obliterated. Luke was the last hope of this desperate assault. Nothing less than the last vestiges of good in the universe depended on him finding his target, and he was woefully outmatched. He was being run down by Lord Vader and his forces; even R2-D2, who was riding near the back of Luke’s fighter, took a nasty knock.

I. Could. Not. Breathe.

And suddenly Vader’s TIE Fighters started blowing up. And with a jubilant scream like a cowboy who is having the time of his life, Han Solo, that glorious bastard, yelled, “Yoohoo! You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home!” At that moment, and in that time, it remains the single greatest cinematic experience of my life. He came back. Han Solo was able to rise above his own self-interest and be a part of something good. The act is punctuated by Han Solo’s reluctance to appreciate anything that may smack of romanticism. He demonstrates an ability to evaluate his world view, his actions and motivations, and changes the substance of his character. And so Luke is given his final lesson and is transformed from a boy, and reluctant hero, to a man of decisive action and competence. And he becomes everything that I could ever aspire to be.

Of course I have viewed Star Wars a few times since then, and the experience was never the same. But when I close my eyes and relive the moment, that first time in the theatre, I am almost always brought to tears.

The last three Star Wars movies are awful. The franchise has taken a soul-destroying turn to silliness. Jar Jar Binks is an abomination that is a blatant attempt to make the movies child-friendly piles of saccharine in the hopes of selling merchandise. The acting is bad, the writing is bad, the casting is particularly abortion-like, and I am, like many other people, so very disappointed at what happened to the characters I love. I will of course see the new installments of this franchise, but I have low expectations. But nothing can take away the moment in my life when I saw on the big screen a farm-boy who rose above his station and accomplished great things with the help of his friends and somewhere along the way became a man.

National Post: Shia LaBeouf handcuffed, removed from Broadway show by police after shouting obscenities, smoking in theatre

National Post: Shia LaBeouf handcuffed, removed from Broadway show by police after shouting obscenities, smoking in theatre. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwpKKenh8

Shia

This might be a case of an actor who thinks he’s an artist. If this is a performance, then someone needs to tell Shia LeBeouf  that he’s an actor–the speaker of words created for him, not by him–and not an artist. He’s the canvas, not the artist who creates the portrait. He should  just be happy with the disproportionate amount of compensation he receives for mediocre talent and leave the art/social commentary to those who actually have something to say.

And if this is a case of drunken buffoonery, then I fear he really is bankrupt in the imagination department.

An Inside Job

My second year of university, I had to take an introductory psychology class. I didn’t really want to take it but it counted toward a science requirement. One of the challenges for many arts students is finding science courses that are possible for someone like me (who is practically scientifically illiterate) to pass. This course was fairly popular as it was mostly a survey of the history of psychology and the different disciplines, with just a bit about the human body–things like how the eye and brain process information and such. The class took place in large tiered lecture hall with about 140 students.

I walked into the final exam not feeling great. I had crammed the night before but I didn’t know if much stuck in my brain. My literature classes were always so much easier. You read the book, you attended the classes, you wrote the papers, and you shouldn’t have to do any studying. In Psych 104, though, I had a lot of memorizing to do and I had left way too much way too late.

I sat down about four rows from the front. The professor and three grad students stood up at the front getting ready to hand out the multiple choice exam and pencils. About fifteen minutes before the exam was to start, I first got the slightest whiff. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly but I kept my nose at it until I was sure. It was body odour. And it was building strength. I looked around for someone who appeared to be Jesus or had dreadlocks but these usual suspects were nowhere to be found. I tried to spot the culprit but no one immediately jumped out at me.

By now the smell was really building and I was getting angry. Who the fuck would come to a packed exam, in a too-warm room, smelling like that? Why would you expose people to that? It’s fucking rude and inconsiderate. “This is a violation of a social contract. I bet it’s one of those holistic medicine, conspiracy theory fucks, who believe secret government agencies are going to track them through trace elements of antiperspirant,” I thought. Like the government gives a shit that you donated to Greenpeace and you don’t like pesticides. Such a radical. I almost asked a sour-looking girl who was sitting beside me, “Can you smell that?” but her face said, “I’m miserable, don’t talk to me.”

The smell was really starting to gain momentum by this time, really strong, really pungent. And a nightmare flashed in head. A horror so profound, but so real, I had to investigate. I slipped my hand as discreetly as I could between the buttons of my shirt and placed the tips of my first two fingers into the heart of my armpit. I pulled my hand away slowly and brought my fingers up to my nose. Halfway there I knew it. My stomach fell and as my fingers were now an inch from nose, I knew it was me. The smell was coming from inside the house. My face was on fire and the room seemed to shrink as I panicked.

I bolted to the bathroom. I hiked up my shirt and confirmed that yes indeed, this rot, this chemical weapon, was me. I went through my morning. Coffee, breakfast, shower, teeth brushing . . . and then deodorant? Deodorant? “You forgot your deodorant,” a small, defeated voice somewhere in my head said. I washed my hands and hurried back to the exam, which was just about to start. Leaving was not an option. As I sat down I began to sweat profusely. Rivulets of sweat poured down my sides, tickling my skin, and practically produced physical stink lines emanating from my body. I kept my head down, almost paralyzed with fear that I would make eye contact with anyone and they would know. They would stand up and point and scream “Sinner! Violator! Nose Raper!” and I’d run out of the room crying.

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I finished the exam in record time and handed it in. The professor, a kind woman, smiled at me as I left, as though I wasn’t spreading a smell that damaged her lungs and gave her nightmares. I just wanted to get home. My bus was due any minute and I stood apart from the crowd of kids waiting to go back home to the bedroom community of Sherwood Park, where I lived at the time. It was about a twenty-minute bus ride and the buses were pretty crowded during exams.

But I thought, “No way. I can’t do it. Never mind what other people can smell–I’m fucking dying here.” I walked the better part of Hub Mall, a long hallway with tables in the middle and stores (mostly food court restaurants) on either side. I entered Varsity, an all-purpose store that has outrageous prices, and bought a nine-dollar stick of antiperspirant. I then went to the nearest bathroom, unbuttoned my shirt, and slathered myself in the beautiful, smell-nullifying chalky substance that is a wonder of the modern world. I tucked my shirt back in my pants and headed for the bus feeling relieved.

On my walk back down Hub Mall, I noticed more than a few people smiling at me. “Now what?” I thought. Some raised their eyebrows, some giggled a bit. Jesus Christ! What the fuck? Rude! What the hell is so funny? I ignored them and finally hit the door to the outside, and that’s when a blast of icy Alberta wind hit my chest. And my stomach. I looked down. Oh sweet Jesus, you have got to be kidding me. I had tucked my shirt into my pants but I forgot to button it. I walked the whole length of Hub mall with my shirt unbuttoned, exposing my chest and torso like some aging, sad gigolo, trying to convince himself he was still sexy. In a fit, I threw down my backpack a la George Costanza, buttoned up my goddamn shirt, and with what little dignity I could muster, got on the bus and went home.

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I did manage to pass the course but definitely failed basic hygiene.

 

The Edge of Tomorrow

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If you like video games, you’ll likely love this movie, but even if you don’t, The Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt and directed by Doug Liman, has plenty to offer. It has a terrible title but it’s based a Japanese novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, so maybe something got lost in translation. I’m not sure and, really, it’s inconsequential to the quality of this film.

The premise is that a military officer, William Cage (Tom Cruise), a slick PR dog-and-pony- show kind of guy, is told he’s going to be with the tip of the spear for a massive beach assault that the Earth defense forces have planned in an attempt to defeat an alien invasion force. Cage is not happy. He gets people to join the army; he does not participate in combat. During the assault, which is similar in scope and importance to the D-Day invasion of WWII, Cage contracts some sort of blood-borne virus in the heat of battle and enters a time loop, reliving each day, and dying each day, until he gets further and further along, and closes in on the enemy. He is aided by special forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who is a Full Metal Bitch who has one goal in mind: destroy the enemy.

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This is by far the best movie based on a video game that’s not based on an actual video game. The idea of starting over each time you are killed until you are proficient enough to move competently along in what appears at first to be a suicide mission; muscle memory, training, even memorizing the exact number of steps; when to duck, when to jump, all done through trial and error, until you are the master of a complicated choreography, and are able to accomplish the goal–these have been staples of video games from Donkey Kong to today’s more sophisticated RPG’s like Skyrim.

Tom Cruise gets a lot of eye-rolling for the choices he makes in his personal life, but as a performer in these kind of blockbusters, for my money no one is better. He received a fair bit of flak for being chosen to play Jack Reacher in the movie based on the character in the Lee Child novels. I love the Jack Reacher books and binge on them regularly. They are well researched, funny at times, and suspenseful, and Reacher is an old-timey kind of man who takes the bus and doesn’t give a shit what people think. Though physically Cruise doesn’t resemble Reacher, he was able to capture the intensity and integrity of the man, as well as his ferocious style of fighting, which is fast and brutal and often very ugly. And in The Edge of Tomorrow Cruise once again lends himself well to the trope of reluctant hero, which when done well is something I never get tired of watching or reading, and has the audience anticipating the moment when he will embrace his calling and immerse himself in full-on heroism, sacrificing life and limb to a cause bigger and better than himself.

Cage and Rita play off each other well. She is single minded in her purpose, all soldier, all the time, while Cage is a man reluctant, questioning, and scared. What I appreciate is that each rubs off on the other in small, subtle ways, so there are no blatant moments of awareness or enlightenment. The friendship that evolves is based on respect and understanding. One scene in which Cage prepares a cup of coffee, a rare commodity, for Rita is touching in how it gives us just a glimpse of how nurturing, and being nurtured, in a time of war can have meaning and impact beyond the act itself. Rita becomes the reluctant recipient, just as Cage becomes the reluctant hero.

The 3D technology was used to good, but not great, effect. I think Hollywood is still working out the kinks and we may still be a year or two away from complete competence. But this movie really shines in the money they spent on the beach assault scenes where the equipment, smoke, bullets, and chaos are filmed in such a way that the viewer gets a perspective that is both macro and micro, which I can only assume is a difficult balance to attain. From panoramic shots of dozens of troop-carrying vehicles, some in the air while dozens more have landed, to a shot of hundreds of men and women running and dying, to the shot of a single soldier crushed by debris fallen from a craft–it’s not as good as Saving Private Ryan but it’s darn close.

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This is the second film I’ve seen in the theatre this summer and both were good. If you have a chance to see this one in a theatre, I highly recommend it just for the appreciation of the scope and magnitude. It was refreshing to see a decent idea executed competently, with fairly good writing and acting. People can say what they like about Tom Cruise but he didn’t star in the movie Non-Stop, which Liam Neeson did, and that movie was so bad I’m pretty sure it gave me shingles (a post for another day). So don’t get shingles and go see Tom Cruise in The Edge of Tomorrow.

Why Are You Punching Yourself In the Face?

One of the first jobs I had when I landed in Edmonton was working for an organization that provided services to handicapped adults. This place was a for-profit organization, which meant pay the employees as little as possible and only spend what is absolutely necessary, thus keeping the profit margin high. I cannot emphasize enough how horrible a for-profit system is in this context. It was a miserable experience and I will write more on this in the future. Today’s post is all about hand-to-stinger combat.

I was taking the bus all over the city looking for a better job. I was always looking for a better job. I made my way to a school/day program that I heard wasn’t a salt mine of sorts and had a reputation for treating the employees with a modicum of decency. And that’s all I was looking for: just a modicum. In my backpack I carried a map and my resume. (Please read the following sentence in the voice of a very old man): For you young folk out there, before smart phones, tablets, and even e-mail, a person often had to read a map, trace out a route, phone the Transit office, on a land line if you can believe it! Hop on the bus and tell the driver where you want to go (if you are not familiar with the route) and often they would announce your upcoming stop. The bus drivers in Edmonton are some of the friendliest and most decent people I’ve met.

So in my job applying jeans and smartest shirt I dropped off my resume and exchanged some pleasantries with the human resources person. I felt good. It was a warm day and though I spent most of my free time looking for work, things could be a whole lot worse.

I walked along the sidewalk until I got to my stop. I was alone. Or at least it appeared so. That’s when I saw them. A gang of wasps congregating around a nearby garbage can. There must have been about twenty or so. And they looked big, like maybe they worked out a lot, no cardio, just weights, slinging heavy plates and maybe dabbling in steroids. Fuckers. I hate wasps. In fact ever since being attacked, while riding my bike, by a red-winged blackbird when I was 9, I hate anything that can fly and hurt me. And all that hate is really just fear. Like a panic fear that is irrational and adrenaline inducing. One bee flying close to me will trigger screaming and limb flailing that is part Viking berserker and part art student interpretive dance.

I tried to ignore them. Do not make eye contact I told myself. Play it cool Johnny boy, you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. What a crock of shit. Of course they will bother you. The wasp is an asshole. A dick. He can’t help himself. I pretended to be keenly interested in my bus schedule pamphlet when of these motherless bastards flew right at my face. And then the fight was on. It’s go time, fuckers. In a blind rage/panic I threw a hard punch at Mr. Wasp but did not take into account that he was about a half inch from my eye. He quickly dodged my blow and I practically knocked myself out. The blow made a popping thud sound and I could feel my eye start to swell as I growled and screamed at my assailant. I swear I heard him laugh as he flew over to his buddies who were no doubt enjoying the show.

At that moment I looked up to see my bus pulling away, the passengers staring at me, some open mouthed, some shaking their heads. I don’t know how much they saw but I am so grateful that camera phones were still a few years away. Sadly, I learned nothing from this. I would do the exact same thing today and feel completely justified in my anger because the wasp always starts it, and one of these days I’ll get lucky and in the process of punching myself in the face, I might kill one of those flying demons.

Emancipation

The last time I drove a car was many years ago. My vehicle was a beat-up grey Toyota of some sort with a dent in the side. I was headed out of town and something was wrong with the engine. Not again! Jeeesuuuuus! I pulled over to the side of the road and rested my head against the steering wheel. I was so broke. I was always so broke. This car was costing me so much money. But I guess not so much more than any other vehicle I had ever owned. I could barely afford to maintain it. The cost of tires, repairs, oil changes. And the mechanic I had was nice enough, but since I knew nothing about cars he could have told me it needed a new flux capacitor and I would have shelled out a pile of cash, because it sounds important, doesn’t it?

I had just gotten out of the car and was writing a note to pin under the wiper blade (I was kind of close to someone’s driveway) when a guy in a welding truck pulled over.

“You need a hand?” he asked as he stepped down from the cab. He was big guy with a buzz cut and dark-framed glasses.

“Broke down.” I shrugged.

“You want a ride back into town?” He asked like being helpful was the most natural thing in the world. God, I love Alberta.

I got into the cab and he introduced me to his son–a boy of about 8 or 9 who had a buzz cut and dark-framed glasses and was enjoying a slurpee. The boy had a husky, gravelly voice, and he chattered happily about visiting his dad for the weekend (he beamed at his dad who smiled with pride) and told me about the plans they had for the weekend.

By the time they dropped me off we were fast friends. I thanked them for the ride. It had begun to rain and I hurried into my apartment. I took a deep breath and looked out the window. I thought about phoning the mechanic. Phoning for a tow. Calculating the cost. More money spent on something I didn’t even enjoy, or like, and I was getting more resentful and depressed, just thinking about the time I would have to spend sorting this shit out. I felt chained to a money-eating anvil.

It was at that moment I made a decision that changed my life. I picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello. Kidney Car Donation,” the person answering the phone said.

“Yes, I have a car I want to donate.” I gave her the details of where to find the car.

“We will send you a tax receipt,” she informed me.

At that point I didn’t really care about the tax receipt. I just sat in my kitchen, my bare little kitchen, and looked out at the rainy city and felt free. I felt light and free. The relief almost made me cry.

 

White, Privileged, and Angry

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On Wednesday evening, Justin Bourque killed three RCMP officers, and wounded two others in the small city of Moncton, New Brunswick. He was seen walking down the road dressed like a sad imitation of Rambo, carrying various weapons among which was the high-powered rifle used to kill and wound the police officers. A manhunt ensued and finally he was apprehended on Friday just after midnight.

This was a young man, just 24, who was reported as having a problem with authority. But someone should have told him: You are a young, blond, white male, living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. You are authority, you dumb shit. Oh please, tell me about the oppression you endured at the hands of your masters. Tell us how you have been so harshly treated by the RCMP, which may in fact be the most polite police force on the planet, tell us how they harassed you, beat you, wrongly accused and arrested you. Or maybe they ignored your complaints? Turned a blind eye while you suffered? What? None of this happened. Bourque is an insult to anyone who has ever experienced real oppression. Not this silly, perceived, slightly American right wing idea that someone, somehow, wants to take his guns. No one even bothered with this uncorked bottle of misdirected testosterone until he decided to take a stroll down a residential street armed like he was going to take on a Mexican drug cartel.

I hope what Bourque has done is not pathologized. Not given a label, a diagnosis, a reason for him to dodge even a little of the full responsibility for what he has done. Too much time, too much money (he had some expensive firearms), and an inability to just plain be accountable for the quality of his life.

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On this anniversary of D-Day the contrast between this sad fantasist and the generation of boys who stormed a beach dodging Nazi machine gun fire, many dying, is jaw dropping. These were men who picked up guns out necessity, and because their country called upon them, while Bourque made a fetish of weapons, killing an unsuspecting group of officers who I have no doubt were exceedingly kind and polite right up to the very end. Perhaps we need to pay more attention to the village weirdo who collects guns, dresses up in camouflage, wears a knife while shopping for groceries, and vehemently discusses perceived indignities that never really happened. Chances are at some point that bomb will go off, but maybe if we start being a little more nosey and a little less polite we can see the madness coming and put it down like a rabid dog.