Friday, March 2, 2012

Distrusting the State

The plight of Jessie Sansone -- the Kitchener, ON, father who was stripped searched and detained and charged with possession of a firearm by local police, and whose house was searched without a warrant on there mere suspicion that a firearm might be present in the home, because his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a man fighting "monsters" and "bad guys" with a gun -- sends chills up and down my spine.

Like Charles Adler and hosts of other conservatives, I am generally pro-police. I have friends who are RCMP officers. I believe every province should have a police force that enforces and upholds the law. They are a critical component of the justice system. Like most other law-abiding parents, I presume, I teach my kids that the police are good guys; in the battle between good and evil they are for us; they are here to serve the public and, as much as possible, protect the citizenry from the bad guys.


When I hear stories like that of Jessie Sansone, my trust in the police is eroded. When I hear of the nonsensical, reflexive, blinkered reaction of police to the mere mention of a firearm in the hands of a law-abiding citizen, I question whether or not the police and the state are really on my side, that of a law-abiding citizen who may or may not own a firearm. When I hear about the plight of the late Shafia girls, for whom police did little to nothing out of cultural sensitivity, and juxtapose that against the plight of Mr. Sansone, a white male who -GASP!- might own a firearm, I find myself doubting the objectivity and judgment of police and the wider state apparatuses. When I reflect on other gross injustices, such as the two-tier injustice we know as Caledonia, I wonder if I am teaching my kids the honest truth about the relationship between police, the wider state, and the law-abiding non-minority Canadian citizens.

Each time a law-abiding citizen is presumed by the state to be guilty and compelled to prove their innocence I lose a little more trust in the relationship between the law-abiding the the state. In the case of Mr. Sansone, the education system, the family and community services system and the police -- all arms of the state -- let him down. With a few simple questions via phone or in person at any juncture along the way this entire episode could have been avoided. But, no. Instead the state when into reflex mode, shut off all brain activity, stopped thinking, stopped asking questions, stopped presuming innocence, and just ran roughshod over the rights of a law-abiding citizen.  

Because it could.

It's the last part that I see as the big problem exposed by Mr. Sansone's story. The state did not have to get a warrant, did not have to demonstrate just cause, did not have to presume anyone's innocence, did not have to question, did not have to call, did not have to discuss. They had full authority to enter the man's home, search his belongings, remove his children, put them in custody of the state, compel his wife to answer questions, detain and strip search him. All based on presumptions stemming from an asinine, politically-correct, myopic interpretation of a childhood drawing.

That, my friends, is wrong. From start to finish, it is wrong.

Yet nobody from the state is apologizing. Because they don't think any wrong has been done.

Therein lies the disconnect between Canadian common sense and the politically-correct over-empowered State apparatchiks, whose distrust of the law-abiding is palpable and complete.

And to think that I am moving to Ontario and will probably put my kids in public school. Ye gods.