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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week 3/2007

This is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like 'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.

22/11/2007 8:01 PM

Bella Coola Day

Since we just got back from Bella Coola this evening, I won't have time to cover anything about the RCMP tonight. I'm sure that will make them very happy....:-)
Our temperatures went down to -19C or about 4 below zero Fahrenheit last night. We're not getting the warming influence from Nimpo Lake as much now, but it will still be colder up on the highway or toward Anahim as it was the other morning. At least until the lake freezes over completely, which should be happening fairly soon.
As I mentioned on the picture of the day yesterday, it's been singing on a regular basis as it does when it's freezing up, especially when there is no snow on the ice to muffle the sounds as there was last year. No snow also means no insulation so there are more radical temperature differences from night to day when the sun shines and warms the surface of the ice.
Today dawned yet another clear sunny day and Andy watched the coyote cruise around out on the ice in front of our place again this morning. We didn't get to enjoy the sun here because we had to drive down to Bella Coola today. It was clear down there as well and below freezing, but the mountains surrounding the valley are so high that the sun never peeks over them in many places. Much as I enjoy going down there, personally, I don't think I could live there through the winter. It would drive me crazy to see the sun up on the mountain tops but none on my windows.
The road and the 'Hill' were really good today, but you can see why they had to close Heckman Pass last week. They've gotten a considerable amount of snow at the top of the hill and one woman from Hagensborg told us that she went without power for 27 hours when we were out for 9 hours. They got the same heavy wet snowfall we did and it knocked a lot of trees onto the powerline. In fact, BC Hydro was still cutting down trees along the highway while we were down there today and you could see numerous branches and trees laying alongside the road.
We popped down to the docks at the harbour today and noticed a BC Ferry called the Nimpkish anchored alongside a dock. Since the Ferry doesn't run in winter, we thought it highly unusual so Andy went over and spoke to the engineer just as he was leaving the Ferry. He explained that this will be the first year that they try running a small ferry out of Bella Coola once a week in winter. It will stop into Bella Bella, Ocean Falls, Mac and a place called Shearwater. If you wait at Shearwater for a few hours, you can pick up the sailing from Prince Rupert to Vancouver Island. If you want to find out more, I found the schedule on the bcferries site by typing Nimpkish in the search box on the lower left navigation panel.
It's pretty exciting really because many tourists like to come through our area and make the circle tour back down to the Island or in reverse, via ferry. But the ferry doesn't stop in at Bella Coola in the late fall and winter. Now with this new ferry, travelers can still make the Discovery Coast circle tour but with one stopover at Shearwater. It's a new service, this is the first year, and no way to know if they will continue it beyond this winter, but I hope it's used enough for them to keep it.
The views down in the valley were wonderful as usual and some were downright breathtaking today where the sun lit up the spectacular jagged teeth of some of the mountains that guard the Bella Coola Valley. Especially spectacular are some of the huge frozen waterfalls on the sides of some of the mountains. I think they must be getting some unusually cold temperatures down there this year too.
We stopped at the rest area at the foot of the 'Hill' before heading up to adjust some groceries in the back of the truck. Low and behold, right there in the snow as I stepped out of the truck were some very large bear tracks. It was hard to say if they were grizzly tracks because it's more difficult to determine in the snow, but I'm pretty sure I could make out where long claws had sliced through the snow ahead of the paw prints. It was one big bear, I know that for sure! Without knowing what the temperatures have been or whether the sun's been shining on that spot, I can only guess at how old the tracks were. The paw prints were perfectly preserved in the ice though, so the tracks were a few days old if the temperature hasn't come above freezing in that period of time. The bear crossed over the turnout and the highway to the other side, presumably going for fish in the river. This seems way too late for a black bear to still be out and about, especially with the cold temperatures and all the snow so I would pretty much guess it would have to be a grizzly. They don't hibernate in the same manner that black bears do.
It looks like our high pressure system is going to hold for another day at least, and then will start breaking down as it moves farther east. There's probably no question we'll have a weather change, but whether it will bring snow or not is another question.
At least most of the water birds have cleared out of the area. There's just the odd duck down on the Dean and I saw a blue heron yesterday standing on ice where the river exits Nimpo Lake. I haven't heard that loon again since the other day, but I really haven't been outside for long lately. With below zero temps, it's a bit nippy unless you're standing in the sun.
Just to let you know, I may take a break from writing for a couple of days. I really need to catch up on some work this weekend but I'll try to put a conclusion on those RCMP articles for early next week. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of our American friends. Have a great weekend!

21/11/2007 7:57 PM

Sir Robert Borden Peele

The 'Father' of modern day policing, Sir Robert Peel, brought forth legislation in the British Parliament in 1829 setting out the terms of a police force which was to operate within the City of London . Thus the modern concept of police was born.
I'll draw from a document sent to me by John Brecknock that he felt might be pertinent to policing in our community.
At the time, London was besieged by criminal elements and the safety of many citizens was uncertain. Pickpocketting, gambling and theft, along with countless other crimes, were commonplace.
Merchants were concerned about the safety of their ships and cargoes as shipping on the Thames River increased so they started a private police force designed to patrol and guarantee the safety and security of the waterfront.
By 1800, this force was so successful in the "clean-up" of the crime-infested waterfront that the City took it over in 1800. This, coupled with the rapidly expanding industrial revolution and the growth in the "middle-class" which demanded an end to thieves, beggars, and prostitutes, paved the way for the modern police force and the work of Sir Robert Peel.
An important element in Peel's plan was the separation of policing and the judiciary. Peel and law reformers of the day felt that the police should be responsible for one facet of the law, up to the prosecution phase, while the trial, conviction and punishment phase should placed be in the hands of another body, the judiciary. This concept remains virtually unchanged today. In his legislation, Peel suggested nine principles for his police force:
1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and by severity of legal punishment.

2. To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on "PUBLIC APPROVAL" of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

3. To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

4. To recognize always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes, proportionately, the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

5. To seek and preserve public favour, (Except in the Chilcotin.) not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy and without regard to the justice or injustices of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing; by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order; and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective. (Gee, someone forgot to tell that to the police that tasered our new Polish Immigrant to death.)

7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen, in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8. To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary or avenging individuals or the state, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

9. To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, (Mmmm, more police, more action, no less crime in Anahim Lake....) and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them, individuals or the state, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty. (Well now, that's interesting in view of an article out of Ottawa four hours ago - "The RCMP watchdog is concerned that Tasers may be overused - in part because the electronic guns don't always leave physical marks on the person." - Now that's a scary thought....isn't it?)

Jeepers. I don't know. Apparently the RCMP Members posted in Anahim Lake have never read Sir Robert Peele and yet my first husband who was a Member, believed very solemnly in his tenets and policed accordingly to the very best of his ability.
I just finished doing some extensive research for the last few hours and verified that the Northwest Mounted Police force, later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was directly based on Peel's principles of policing.
So why do I and other members of our community, as well as members of the public throughout the rest of BC, feel that our local police have strayed from those original principles which still form the basis of the RCMP, and which are still as valid today as they were nearly 200 years ago?
20/11/2007 6:52 PM

How To Kill A Community

In the last two weeks I've poked and prodded and probed trying to answer some underlying questions about the RCMP. Especially with regards to the role they play in policing our part of the Chilcotin.
As described in articles past, we now have six RCMP Members posted in Anahim Lake where I don't think population for the entire area exceeds 1,300 people. And as I mentioned before, I don't think there's any doubt that we are over policed. For example: When my husband at the time was a Watch Commander in Prince George, I think he had between 13 and 15 Members under him. If I recall, Watch names were A, B, C, and D. The population of Prince George at that time was over 71,000 and that did not include the whole area that the RCMP policed. In addition to that, Prince George is a very rough city and at the time we lived there, was the provincial gold medal winner for most Break and Enters, stabbings, (murders in 1994 if I recall) juvenile crimes and teen pregnancies. There may have been more but that's all I remember for sure.
So if you presume 15 cops per Watch times four you get 60 cops on the ground in a non-administrative capacity. That means you have one police officer for every 1183 people. So that means that technically, we only need one and a half officers to police our area. But since that's not possible, then the most we need are two. And that's in an area with a significantly lower crime rate.
Now the excuse we heard when the numbers went over two was that if one RCMP wanted to go on holiday or days off, the other couldn't do it all. Fair enough. Then as the numbers went higher, we heard that safety said there had to be at least two Members on shift at a time and attending calls. And they needed more Members so that when one or two went on courses, they still had some left here.
You know what? That's a bunch of bull hockey, plain and simple. First of all, if it's a short term isolated posting, you really don't need holidays if you're here for only a year, do you? You take them before you get here, or after you leave and before you start your next posting. So unless you have requested an extended posting, that doesn't hold water. Second of all, if you have requested Anahim Lake, then it should be on the premise that you won't be taking any courses during your short term posting here. And if you haven't requested Anahim Lake, then you probably have no business being here at all.
If you know how to interact with community members and know how to get them to do the policing for you, and you haven't gone out of your way to piss them all off, then there is no way it should be necessary to have so many RCMP Members here that they're tripping over each other and us trying to find something to hassle the general public. Oh yeah, yet more road blocks last week, This time around Dorsey Road, and of course the DOT was out as well.
So how do you kill a community? Well, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be.
There's a pretty neat lady out here that's been around for a long, long time and has been forever known as someone that will give the shirt off her back. As with many of the women that call this home, this is a very community minded person and I don't think any function would ever have been considered whole unless she was there. I also don't think I've ever seen her have more than one or two drinks in a whole night at a function. Usually she's busy bustling around doing something, whether setting up food or otherwise. But she doesn't like a rocking boat, or conflict of any kind for that matter.
She commented a little while back that it made her uncomfortable to go to local functions anymore because it wasn't worth the threat of hassle from police. Not because she might drink too much, but because if she was stopped, she would have to convince the police that she hadn't been drinking.
She is not the only one. Though the comment was in passing I started to listen up and more than one matriarch in the community feels exactly the same way. We're not talking two fisted drinkers here, or even mediocre ones. We're talking very light social drinkers that think the fun in a good party, community event or dance is in anything but drinking, that now hesitate to go out. Personally, I feel exactly the same way and that's pretty sad because interaction is how a community stays together. It's how they work together in the face of troubled times, a disaster, or whenever cooperation is required among community members. A good old fashioned event at the local hall is how you check the pulse on a community if you will.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work too well if no one goes.
A good example is what we call the Children's 139 Fund where the entire community comes out for the function to raise money on Valentine's. In 2006 the event held at the Anahim Lake Community Hall raised $17,000 which is an incredible feat considering how tiny our communities of Anahim, Charlotte, and Nimpo Lake are. The money goes to the Variety Fund held all over British Columbia at the same time. There's an auction, goodies, events and things like face painting and balloons for the children, a huge dinner and generally just a good time for everyone. Apparently last year the police actually did attend the Children's Fundraiser, huddled in their own corner, at their own table, wearing uniforms and interacting very little with everyone else. They then set up a roadblock to stop everyone after the fundraiser was over. To do them credit, apparently they did make it clear to one of the organizers a few days before that they would be setting up a road block and to make sure designated drivers were made available. Unfortunately, that person may not have passed the information on to anyone else. Either way, if you play, you pay. I guess we can all agree on that. However, sitting at a table at a function and watching who's drinking and who's not may not be playing fair either. Not making much of an effort to interact with other community members doesn't seem like a very good thing either.
That occurrence may have effectively killed community events thereafter. I don't know how many people told me afterward that they would not be going to another 139 Fundraiser. I know of at least one person that aside from donating a lot of valuable goods for the auction, spends a lot of money there. That person doesn't intend on going back either. Not because they'll drink and drive but because they refuse to be stopped and hassled in a roadblock and put in the position of having to convince the Officer standing there that they have the right to be behind the wheel. I feel the same way. I'm fortunate to have a designated driver for a partner but even then, it's not worth the hassle. You're having a great evening, you've had good conversation with friends, and then your evening has to be interrupted by a roadblock and some cop that appears to hate being in Anahim Lake married to a wife that hates his posting. Guess who gets to eat it.
We had not a bad turn out at our New Year's Eve Dance last year and had a van and designated drivers in place. We had the tall young cop who was a pretty decent guy (unfortunately he's transferred out now) stop in to take a look around. We gave him a soft drink and spoke to him for a short while but he seemed satisfied that we had everything in order and left us alone. Even so, when I asked a few people later on who had planned on coming why they hadn't, they told me that they had heard the cops were out in force and it just wasn't worth the hassle. Which is a shame really, because the cops are usually out in force everywhere in BC on New Year's. It's just that our local Members have not got a good reputation.
In the end I'm sure it satisfies the Mounties mightily that everyone would rather stay at home than deal with them. It certainly makes their job easier. But it's pretty much finished our community events and our willingness to get together anymore. And that kills community.

Tomorrow's article deals with just that. John Brecknock, who has given me a few good stories to print about our area, was kind enough to send me an interesting document about Sir Robert Peele who brought forth the first legislation laying out the ground work for a modern police force. It's very interesting reading and very pertinent to these articles, and most specifically, to our community.

One last note for anyone that read about our little loon yesterday. He didn't make it. It went down to -17.5C or a little below 0 degrees Fahrenheit last night and everything was covered with a thick layer of hoarfrost. Andy pointed his remains out on the ice about where I last saw him before dark last night. Most likely he died of exposure but otherwise, I doubt he would have known what hit him if one of the bald eagles killed him this morning. Sadly, if the same frost had covered the ice yesterday as it did today, he would have had better purchase on the slick ice and perhaps made if farther than he did. That's what life, and death is all about though I guess. Luck.
I spent most of last night wondering about him out there on the ice in the dark. At least now I know what happened to him. It would have been worse to wonder all day if he'd made it to the water and then spend days motoring around the Main Arm looking for him. He's not the only foolish loon in the country though. This evening, as I watched a coyote cross the ice in front of our place, the lake started singing as it does when it's freezing up, and out of the mist on the Main Arm came the call of a loon. Not just once, but again a few moments later, so it wasn't my ears trying to fool me. I think we're going to have to start handing calendars out to the local wildlife.
19/11/2007 8:52 PM

Changing Direction

It had been my intention to write about community and police today, however, there's been a little change of plan. We've had some interesting drama today due to Nimpo Lake freezing right out to the Main Arm overnight. It obviously caught a few birds off guard, not the least of which is our little loon.
It got down to -13C fairly early in the evening but had actually warmed up to -11C or about 10F by the time I went to bed so it was no surprise to wake up to a clear, glassy surface clear out to the big island this morning.
We watched a coyote cross the ice from the point to the island with some confidence, but he started to get into trouble moving across in front of the island. Suddenly he stopped, splay legged, and looked around. It was a little while before he got moving again but it was pretty carefully. He would move a few yards in one direction, hesitate, then try another way. He couldn't move toward us onto thicker ice because there was a line of open water there yesterday and the ice he was standing on had to have been pretty thin. Finally, he gave it up and gingerly made his way back toward the point.
I wondered why the coyote was so intent on proceeding across the lake while the ice was so dangerous when I realized that there were two ravens on the lake eating at something frozen in the ice in two different places beyond the island. Birds that had frozen in the ice overnight, perhaps while sleeping. A bald eagle suddenly came swooping in with the intention of grabbing what was on the ice and taking off with it. That was quite the aerial acrobatics. He went beak over heels and halfways skidded across the ice before getting airborne again. I don't think he expected dinner to still be attached to the ice. I'm sure the raven he was trying to steal it from laughed his tail feathers off at the whole exercise.
We admired the advance of the ice for awhile and then I went to work on the computer. It wasn't until noon when I came out for some lunch that I saw the bird out on the ice in front of the boat launch over at Vagabond. At least I was pretty sure it had to be a bird and it looked trapped. Once I got the binoculars up I was pretty sure I was looking at the immature loon that should have been gone long ago. We hadn't noticed him earlier in the day because of the slant of the sun, especially since he was sitting so quietly on the smooth ice. Every once in awhile he would rear up, wings flapping and I could see one leg flailing the air, but the other was very obviously caught in the ice. He kept trying to pull it loose though.
I called Andy up over at Nimpo and asked him to take a look at the bird from that end of the lake, and a few minutes later I saw him pull up beyond the deep snow above the boat launch. He came on home and we discussed the options. We loaded up two long lengths of repelling rope, an ax, ski poles, the canoe, a large box and a cat crate, and got our deep snow boots on.
We drove back over to the other side of the lake and started walking down to the shoreline, and suddenly the bald eagle came swooping in at the helpless loon. While Andy yelled at the eagle, the loon launched itself in the air, wings flapping.
Once the eagle left and the loon settled back down again it became pretty obvious that the loon was much farther out than we had initially thought, almost halfway between where we were, and our own house across the bay. Plus, we had a little bit of open water and some pretty thin ice on that side of the lake since it had only frozen over last night. Regretfully, we turned back to the truck, effectively giving up on the bird.
We got back to the house here and took another long look at the situation. Andy took the metal canoe down onto the ice in front of our place to test how it would act on the slippery ice but our biggest problem was not enough rope for the distance. I knew Andy would be willing and crazy enough to go out there after a silly bird, but going without a rope was not an option. If the canoe went through the ice, he would have no way of getting back unless there was rope attached and I could pull him back.
He looked at other options, such as adding garden hose or electrical extension cords to the equation, but all that would have to happen would be to have a fitting come loose, and he would be marooned out there. I called over to Nimpo General Store to find out how much rope they had and Richard kindly agreed to give us the best possible deal on whatever he had. Sighting through the range finder revealed that the loon was at least 800 feet out on the ice. That's a lot of rope and a lot of easing out over new ice with a canoe propelled by ski poles.
Just about then the loon started flapping right across the ice, away from where he had been, getting up on a leg and then falling forward onto his chest. I don't know when he broke free of the ice. It may have been when he lunged up at the eagle, or the heat of the sun may finally have melted the ice from around his leg. Either way, he was free.
Unfortunately, it became apparent fairly quickly that he either had a frozen foot, no foot, a broken leg or a deformed leg and the glass smooth ice was the least of his problems. The only way the loon could move at all was by lunging forward onto his chest, beating the ice with his wings. He was quickly exhausted and would only go for a few seconds and then sit for quite a long while before going again. If he froze into the ice overnight and had been stuck there for half the day as well, then his foot may have frozen completely or he may have torn it off when battling the eagle. Or as Andy suggested, perhaps he was born with a deformed foot and that's why he hasn't flown south yet. He can't. That might also explain how he froze in. If he had a deformity, perhaps he had no feeling in it and wouldn't know when it was frozen into the ice. All guess work of course. We could only hope that he could make his way to the open water on the Main Arm or down river, with the latter being his best bet. The speed he moved at was going to be the telling factor.
I went for a walk mulling over possible solutions to the problem, of which there were none. When I got back the loon had actually moved substantially closer to our peninsula via a circuitous route, perhaps because Andy had loon whistled at the bird before I left. Andy suggested that perhaps he should try to go out and catch it now that it might be in range. But that seemed like a pretty pointless exercise. It might have been one thing to go out and keep from getting beat to death by a loon's wings while you chop it free of the ice, and a capture might be possible. But trying to capture a loon that could flap away while rocking in a canoe on very thin ice seemed really dangerous and probably impossible because you couldn't hope to keep up to the loon.
I tried playing some loon sounds on my computer with speakers up and door open in the hopes of drawing him in. But that didn't work either. I think that suddenly, between people and dogs, there was just too much movement around our place and he headed out toward the middle of the lake. I kept an eye on him right up until dark, and the last time I spotted him, he was halfway between us and the peninsula across the way, again traveling a circuitous route. Once free, had he headed straight out from his original location toward the Main Arm, he would have been very close to the water by dark. It would be very difficult for him to determine where the open water was from his low vantage point, but if he's suffering from the cold and exhaustion, no water and no food, then that could only serve to disorientate him more.
I would be very surprised if he's still alive in the morning, but if he is, he either has to make it to land, or make it to open water where we have a hope of catching him. If he makes it to the Main Arm before it freezes up, and if we can access the water by boat from a neighbour's that's still on open water, there might be a slim possibility of catching him. Although heaven knows how. A fish net, maybe. I don't see it being an easy task. He probably has less than a week of survival before the Main Arm of Nimpo Lake freezes up, and then he's out of water.
That's if he makes it through the night. Sadly, I don't see that happening. But I'll be looking for him tomorrow anyway.

18/11/2007 4:46 PM

Treading On Toes

Winter seems to have arrived in force with yet more snow and some pretty chilly temperatures. It got down to -15C or only about 5 degrees Fahrenheit and it definitely didn't get very close to freezing today. But as is normal with colder temperatures, today was a brilliantly sunny one with last night's new snow reflecting bright light everywhere.
Skies remained pretty clear most of the day but it's pretty full of smoke to the north and west now because the loggers are doing a lot of slash burning along the highway to Anahim Lake now that it's safe to do so. And of course this cold air is flattening the smoke out. Makes for a nice sunset.
I didn't get to go for a walk today but driving on the roads shows a few animal tracks here and there along the sides. The odd moose track and some deer but not a lot so far. Animals are probably still moving down out of the high country and if you listen to the hunters, there isn't a lot of big game around. It's possible that game populations were hurt with last year's deep snow that made it such a banquet for wolves.
The ice is definitely growing out on Nimpo Lake now. When we got up this morning it had frozen nearly to the big island with a wide channel of open water in between and it's nearly frozen over to the boat launch. The back bay and down to where the Dean River leaves Nimpo Lake is nearly frozen to the far shore as well. The ice is pretty thin yet and only a small breeze would probably knock it back, but it hasn't happened yet today and it will just grow thicker overnight. It would be much better if the lake didn't freeze until after all the snowing is done but seeing as how we don't seem to have a lot of control over Mother
I was in Anahim Lake today and the discussion of the police came up in conversation. As I've mentioned before, some of the people, particularly business owners, are very happy with the service they receive from the local RCMP. They're prompt to get on the case of a robbery or break in, something the Anahim businesses suffer time after time. I'm all for that, but if the reasoning of the police is that we have problems with our area and reserves and that's why we need so many police, then why isn't the large number of six Members effective in preventing those property crimes? Isn't that the point? Investigating and hopefully catching the person responsible, and recovering the stolen goods may sound like a success story, but it seems highly unlikely that you would need six RCMP Members to do that. And it most definitely is not a success story if property crimes against the same businesses are still occurring. One has to assume that those numbers of police Members are for prevention. And that hasn't happened. Period.
However, there is no question that writing this series, expressing my thoughts and opinion on the matter, has stepped on some toes. So I'm going to do my best to get back to more level headed analysis of the problem that we have in this community as I see it. Being enraged over the treatment of the victim in the taser incident got in the way of a more objective dialogue on the RCMP's actions on a local level. Having said that, tomorrow's article on how to kill a community may seem to have an inflammatory title, but there is truth behind it.
Oh, and for anyone that checked the link to the taser video since it's been taken down from Global TV, there is a new link in place in last week's article that goes straight to the video.
Have a wonderful Sunday!

17/11/2007 7:50 PM

The Fallout

First the tasering of an innocent man at Vancouver International Airport, then the fallout.
I think we all knew that there was going to be a major amount of fallout from the incident at YVR where the Polish Immigrant died after being tasered by RCMP. Frankly, I was so furious after watching the video on the news Thursday night and then writing about it in last week's story at November Week Two, that I haven't really wanted to write about the RCMP because it would be very difficult to have anything good to say about them. So at this point in time, if you're looking for flowers for that bunch of goons in uniforms, you may want to skip the blog for a little while.
I admit that the fallout after the incident was even swifter coming than I expected with Poland weighing in with pretty strong demands and although I might normally get fed up with our media for beating a dead horse to death, this is one time when I'm cheering them on. I want every one of those RCMP Members involved in the killing of that man to be so sick of hearing about it that they might actually consider turning their tasers on themselves.
Why not? Their tasers haven't been taken away yet as they should have been. In fact, all four goons are still working, although at least they've finally been moved off active street duty. Personally, I won't be satisfied until every one of them have been removed from uniform, and charged with manslaughter. Murder would be nice, but that would be expecting too much and since it can be argued that the crime wasn't premeditated, we're out of luck on that one. Manslaughter too, I'm afraid. But the least they should be nailed with is using excessive force. See, there you go. As soon as I start thinking about those chicken shit bastards, I get super teed off again. Oh, and hey!!! Did you notice that my argument is right? Take a look at the tape. It's the short little bastard that pulls the trigger on the taser. Held out at arms length as though he's afraid of breaking a nail, or something. It wasn't the big guys, it was the smallest one.
Anyway, it's nice to see that the rest of the world is as infuriated as I am. And this is indeed a public relations nightmare for the RCMP as suggested by the media because they've just been too dumb right from the beginning. Their spokesperson lied about what happened at the airport, after they had the video in their possession, so it's not like they didn't know what was on it. I just don't think they expected to have to give that video back. They've maintained a pretty cold silence about the incident since the video aired, at least until today when I think they realized that they were in International hot water and they had better start doing some damage control.
There was an interesting guy on television yesterday that has actually done some PR media work for the RCMP in the past who pointed out that the RCMP's actions so far were badly misguided. As he said, stand up in front of the microphones, admit there was a mistake, apologize to the public for it, and suggest you'll pull those police officers off of active duty until after an investigation is done. And as he suggested, if you have to, you throw those Members to the wolves if it will help reinstate public trust in the RCMP as a whole. That last one isn't going to work. I know too well how the RCMP works. It is its own little enclave fortressed against the world and right or wrong, they stand up and protect their own. Which, like the Three Musketeers, is an admirable attribute for any organization. But sometimes, it's not the way to go. If you're sworn to protect the public, then it's not in the public's best interest to be lied to and stonewalled.
The Airport is in its own pot of hot water, not even trying to do damage control. Custom's Services just simply refuses to allow a representative to speak to the media and refers all media to the Minister of Public Safety's office telling journalists that is what they were instructed to do. Judging from the transcript played on television, that was a lie too.
Everyone keeps saying that there are investigations ongoing and don't want to say anything until those investigations are completed. Which is another way of saying, "We know we screwed up but we're afraid if we say another word we're going to dig an even deeper hole and hopefully by the time those investigations are completed in a year's time, you average, dumb ass, in- the- street, 9 to 5 working Joes will have forgotten all about this and my job won't be on the line....." C'mon. You know I'm right. That's exactly what they're thinking. And they're right. Because we average Joe Blows have been swallowing crap from politicians, RCMP, Government bureaucrats and cripes knows who else for most of our lives. In fact, it's pretty much a Canadian pastime and it takes something truly outrageous such as this tasering, for people to even get up in arms anymore.
In any case, it's obvious I'm still too hot under the collar to write any kind of objective article about our 'famous' Canadian police force so I'll go on to other things. Perhaps early next week I can finish up my series of articles on the RCMP in our community and countrywide.
We're still in last November's strange weather pattern this year, getting a skiff to an inch of snow nearly every day or so. It got down to -8.7C or about 17F last night. Not our coldest night but getting there. Temperatures got up to freezing today but really haven't done much better than that the last couple of days. Some mornings start out being really nice with some sun, and nearly every evening we've been able to see that big old crescent moon up there, but by late morning, it's been clouding over. The days have definitely been a little dreary, but we are getting something out of it. It started snowing again this afternoon.
Snow is piling up pretty good in the back woods now and I'll bet snowmobiling is just terrific up in the higher elevations already. I'm pretty excited because Andy just ordered a snowmobile trailer for all four sleds, so that means we can go places this winter. I really like snowmobiling in the area but I wouldn't mind sledding up in the Rainbow Mountains in the spring and snowmobiling with friends in the Okanagan. Not that we will. We always talk about leaving home and doing stuff elsewhere, but I think we like home too much.
I scared up three ptarmigan along the road yesterday. They didn't go far and I got a good look at them. They're already pure white and the only black on them was visible in their tail feathers in flight. Once they landed on the ground again, they blended right into the snow. It seems awfully early for them to have turned color completely already but maybe they knew it was going to be an early winter. I'm seeing the odd dear tracks in the snow now, and a really big hare crossed the trail yesterday. Not a lot of rabbit tracks yet this year, though, which is kind of strange. Maybe this is a down cycle in their populations right now. There aren't a lot of squirrel tracks this year either, but I already knew that would be the case. As the pine attacked by the Mountain Pine Beetle die out, they seem to be moving on.
We haven't seen our young loon in the last couple of days so I don't know if he's still around or not. There's lots of other ducks on the water still, so he may well be too. He'll have to watch himself though. There's two big bald eagles hanging around and one was spending a lot of time watching a little flock of ducks from a tree over at the neighbour's this afternoon.
Our back bay is completely frozen over now and since it has a little layer of snow on it, isn't likely to melt before spring. The ice keeps trying to grow out in front, but breezes keep breaking it up and beating it back. When the breeze comes up, you can hear the sound of the clinkers (ice sheets that make a really sweet sound) being pushed against each other and the shoreline by the waves. There was just a little less than half an inch of ice in front of our dock and ice is growing farther out on Nimpo Lake around the islands. Ice on soon.....I'm actually looking forward to ice on this year. I hope we get really good quality ice and then a nice little snowfall for cross country skiing. One of our newly permanent neighbours down the road went out on her skiis through the back woods today. Looks like it might be pretty nice for skiing so I might have to jump the gun too.
Jeepers, look at that. My mood is much improved already talking about the beautiful Chilcotin country in winter instead of the unmentionable goons above. Speaking of which, last week's articles can be found at November Week Two.

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The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip of the iceberg, so join me!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
A small BC Ferry docked at the Bella Coola Harbour.
A green tree made of ice and food coloring decorated a snow bank.
Everything is covered in a heavy white layer of frost.
A coyote stands on ice toward dusk.
A frosty mountain backdrops a coyote crossing thin lake ice.
Smoke in the air creates a pink sunset.
A snow covered meadow shows off the blue of Nimpo Lake.
Thin, grey ice on Nimpo Lake in a sheltered bay.
Water so still it looks like a mirror reflecting the trees.
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