Why I Don’t Trust (Some) Police, Or, Some Cops are Bullies and Liars

One night two summers ago, I was walking with my friends Dave and Nick when we encountered a group of about five or six men and one woman. The woman approached us and we chatted amicably for a bit, when one of the men became confrontational and cornered Nick, demanding his wallet. Nick replied that he didn’t have his wallet on him (which was true) to which the man scoffed and asked about the visibly outlined object in his front pocket. The man then reached towards Nick’s pocket, but Nick stepped back and replied it was just a (crappy) cellphone and reached into his pocket to show the man. The man then grabbed his arm unexpectedly and violently. Nick recoiled and the man went to grab him again, this time more aggressively. He then yelled out something to the effect of, “Whoa, what are you doing? Relax!” and put his arms up in the air in a surrendering manner. By this time the man, who was bigger than Nick, had fully placed him in an arm lock. Nick yelled something like, “Ok! Ok! Ok! You got me! Relax!”
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Jack Layton, Hope, and Cynicism

Now that the outpouring of public emotion and sympathy towards Jack Layton’s passing has now calmed, I thought I would take the chance to offer some (hopefully non-knee-jerk) reflections on a now notorious op-ed piece written by Christie Blatchford which ostensibly took issue with the “spectacle” surrounding Jack Layton’s death.

I can’t say much about how this piece fits into Blatchford’s corpus and whether or not it is a lapse or typical of Blatchford’s attitudes. Though I try to pay heed to media sources lying across the “left-right” spectrum (lest I be flippantly denounced as an uncritical product of the liberal media) after many attempts, I have found myself unable to take serious the National Post where Blatchford does much of her writing (and where the piece in question appears). Blatchford also writes for the Globe, but since I pretty much exclusively read it online, and to read most of Blatchford’s columns require paying a fee for “Globeplus,” I am again at a loss (though I did get access to a piece in which Blatchford carelessly repeats the tired falsehood that Layton and Chow were living a subsidized community housing was both making MP salaries). In any case, I don’t really think one needs to understand the piece in question with reference to a broader body of work – I simply make this admission as a disclaimer to pre-empt any argument that either Blatchford had an off-day, or that the piece somehow makes sense with reference to a larger set of interrelated ideas expounded elsewhere. Continue reading