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
Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week 4/2007
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.
The Repeat Offenders
The criminals that get away with crime, time after time,
are costing our society and I have to wonder if they are
not also indirectly responsible for the problems we are
having with our national police force.
I don't know how many countless times Andy and I have
been watching the news only to look up at one another,
stunned at what we have just heard. Another bottom
feeder that just walked away from a heinous crime scott
free or nearly so. Some piece of flotsam that
drags a gas station attendant with his car for several
km to his eventual death. The driver knew what he was
doing. Did he go up for life? No.
Another low life, this time a non-citizen, killed a Doctor
on vacation from New Zealand in a hit and run in a marked
cross walk. A witness to the fatal accident followed the
driver, Zhang, who rammed the witness's car when
he tried to block Zhang. After being caught and
let out on bail, Zhang doesn't bother to show up at his
hearing. Rather, they finally catch up to him in Ontario,
four provinces away, and the arrogant little bastard gets
away with it. No, he didn't go to jail forever and ever
either where the maximum penalty for this is life in prison.
He got 11 months and was out on parole after 5. The worst
part about it? This wasn't his first hit and run offense.
As reported by the Vancouver Sun. He fled the scene of
another accident in 2005, when he had tried to back into
a parking spot in which a woman was standing, trying to
save the spot. The woman screamed as Zhang knocked
her over. He then sped away. He was also caught
going through a stop sign last October -- after he was
prohibited from driving while on bail -- causing police
to seize his car. So he's not even a citizen of this country
but he has already learned a blatant disregard
for the system and knows he can get away with murder.
Those are two crimes committed with vehicles and the first
to come to mind. But there are more. Lots and lots more.
Drugs, gangs, beatings, child molesters, fraud, you name
it. Now the city of Vancouver has formed a new gang task
force and here's a comment on the article in CBC news
from one guy in the forum. -"Ryan
(Vancouver) wrote: Anyone who knows what's going on knows
that gangs, drugs, and dirty money are everywhere in this
town. The guys who are shooting guns and dealing drugs
now were the same guys who were getting into fights and
stealing cars back in High School. They learned long ago
that the police couldn't stop them and if they did, the
justice system would give them a rub on the bum and let
them carry on. I feel sorry for the Police and public
they are dealing with, the issues the courts and system
don't want to handle properly. Once the money runs out
this team will be disbanded and everything will go back
to normal...bad guys, guns, drugs and all."
That sentiment is repeated over and over, all over the
Internet, in the news, and in the newspapers. We have
a serious crime problem in Canada, a serious crime problem
in British Columbia, and we have judges with absolutely
no balls. Although I have to assume there's more to it
There has to be some reason why judges refuse to sentence
anyone to the time that suits the crime. There was a comment
made by one judge that actually did put someone in jail
which was, - "He
later said he would have to "pander" to the public by
putting Dickson in jail."
Does this mean that judges prefer to do exactly opposite
of what the public would like them to do? Which is to
fit the sentence to the crime? Why? Because they have
the power to not do what is right but to
do what they please and in so doing, shove their
power down our throats?
I have no idea why our judges are so liberal and I don't
think anyone else knows either, but I have always felt
they are in BC. And I am the first to admit that I completely
share the RCMP's frustration on that point. I don't feel
the RCMP Members have a right to take that frustration
out on the general citizenry, but I certainly understand
where it comes from. After all, when you spend year
after year investigating and arresting people, often putting
your own life in danger to do so, spend hours at a desk
building an airtight case that is properly put together
in all respects, ensured that you haven't stepped on anyone's
rights and tried to make sure a judge can't throw a case
out on a 'technicality' then cooled your heels in a court
room for hours, to have only a tiny percentage of the
criminals you've caught actually go to jail for any period
Figures show that 10% of criminals commit 80% of the crimes
and the cops know that. To have to be picking up the same
repeat offenders time after time, after time, well aware
that had the judge put them behind bars for five years
a few crimes ago, that would have been many fewer, if
not hundreds fewer, crimes committed.
Personally, I know I'm hot headed enough that I could
not in any way handle that kind of frustration
without eventually blowing a gasket. But that's also why
I would never consider joining a police force. I'm aware
that I am not psychologically fit for the job and could,
after a period of time dealing with those kinds of frustrations,
easily be a danger to the public, or to the criminals,
anyway. But if I'm aware of my limitations,
then so should any cop on the beat.
So it comes down to this. We know that until Harper's
government changes the minimum sentencing procedures for
repeat offenders and steps on a few judges, nothing can
be done about that level of frustration for the RCMP.
It would seem to me then that if that is one of the root
causes of the actions we are seeing in the Force now,
then either different training needs to be brought
about, or stricter guidelines and psychological testing
for choosing who is going to become an RCMP recruit, and
who is not. Because right now, we've got way too
many Rambos out there and it's not a matter of it becoming
a dangerous situation for the general public, it has
become a dangerous situation.
Anyway, I won't be able to post anything for the next
few days. Right now I'm waiting for permission back from
a fellow that had a pretty serious experience with the
Dawson Creek RCMP to reprint his story. I think it's pretty
valuable information for all of us. If you know you're
right, you really need to stand your ground.
Just make sure you're right!
On a personal note, Andy says he's tired of hearing about
cops and I'm sure everyone else is too. I keep trying
to conclude this series with what I hope are reasonable
suggestions for change, but new stuff just keeps popping
up and I think that a knowledgeable citizenry is a much
On another quick note, this has been uploaded over the
story below and since it has a similar title to the one
below that... and, we finally are getting snow after
a couple of weeks of cold, clear, glorious weather. Nimpo
Lake has been booming steadily but the Main Arm still
isn't quite frozen over. I've got some recordings
and hope to have those edited and up next week for you.
Othewise, it'll be late in the weekend before another
article will be posted. Have a good one!
discussed yesterday, the RCMP seem to have lost respect
for the very people that they have sworn to protect, and
have withdrawn into their own little society, impenetrable
to investigators, their victims, or the victims' families.
The public has been quick to sense that
and the media attention has certainly brought a lot to
The shame of it all is that the lack of respect that we
have seen in the last few years for our nation's finest
has translated into an abnormal number of shooting deaths.
There was a time when if an RCMP officer was killed,
the entire nation was absolutely horrified and everyone
was on the hunt for the killer.
I could be wrong, but I think I started to see a slight
change after the four officers were killed on a farm in
Alberta March, 2005, the largest number of RCMP officers
killed in one incident since 1885 during the Northwest
Rebellion. The incident shocked the nation and the public
mourned the loss of these guys but many started to ask
how this could have happened? How was one man with a rifle
in a Quonset hut able to do that? Unfortunately, how many
criminals wondered the same thing? How vulnerable
are these officers and how ill prepared are they to handle
an extreme situation?
Late this fall in just the space of one month, an officer
was shot and killed in Hay River, and another in Nunavut.
That is highly unusual for our country and I'm sure it's
frightening for the police. The police insisted to the
new Conservative Government when they came to power that
they did not want the gun registry abolished because they
hit the national data bank upward of 5,000 times a day.
Presumably that is to check to see if someone they have
stopped or who's home they will be entering, perhaps during
a domestic disturbance, owns a gun. My personal belief
is that it is none of their business, but I can understand
their need to protect themselves and forewarned is forearmed.
However, that registry doesn't seem to have helped
the RCMP in the least when it comes to the shooting
incidents of the past few years.
As recently as last week the RCMP admitted to the media
that there are more and more weapons out there, most illegal
and most automatics, and it's becoming increasingly easy
to obtain one in Canada. So much for the Liberal Government's
excuse that their registry legislation would cut gun crime.
Instead, it's just made gun running an extremely lucrative
The RCMP are operating in their jobs every day under
a cloud of fear and they no longer have the backing of
much of the public. For just as the public has
always expected the Mounties to protect them, so have
the Mounties always been able to expect the public to
watch their back. And so they have, through their respect
and admiration of our nation's famous police force, for
over a century.
But something has definitely changed.
John Brecknock and I have actually discussed this via
email and since he is a Member retired after 30 years
with the Force, I consider his opinion to be very valuable.
As he has suggested, the Force has changed, but then so
has society with eight Members shot and killed in the
last two years or so. Prior to that, you would have to
go back quite a ways to find a total of eight Members
killed by shooting. And in his words, "Members
are being shot and killed for really no reason at all!
They are scared! They approach things a whole lot differently
than they used to, that's for sure. They want to go home
at the end of their shift."
John said he personally knew about a half dozen members
who have been shot and killed over the years. The first
being Joe Keck shot and killed in Kamloops June 18th 1962.
Apparently, Constable Elwood Joseph Keck was shot with
a .303 rifle while attempting to detain a suspect who
had threatened two Game Wardens in Kamloops and was one
of three RCMP Members killed that day. John said he had
gotten to know Keck while he was posted in Alexis Creek.
I think that we are indeed seeing more senseless shootings
of Members than ever before in our history, and again,
I have to agree on John's take on the matter who says,
would like to think the Legal system is more responsible
for the ills of our society. Notice I said Legal system
and not Justice system. One thing 32 years in the outfit
taught me. "ANY SIMILARITY BETWEEN JUSTICE AND THE JUSTICE
SYSTEM IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL!"
And boy, is that the truth!
There is no question in my mind but that our legal system
is almost entirely to blame for the criminal behavior
in our society and so eventually, to the behavior of our
national police force.
More on that in the next article.
Photos on the top right are of Constable Joe Keck and
are courtesy of John Brecknock.
The Mighty Have Fallen
very funny cartoon was sent to my email this morning and
I'm afraid I can't resist posting it. What was especially
funny to me was that I was talking about the Saskatchewan
Roughriders football team only just last night in the
Sadly, I think that this cartoon epitomizes just how far
the RCMP have fallen in the estimation of the general
public in Canada. I honestly can't imagine seeing a cartoon
like this in years past. Only now. What was once
the pride of Canada, has indeed fallen.
What is causing what we regard as over reaction on the
part of the RCMP? Is it all of the RCMP deaths of late?
If you think that you might be shot and killed on the
next call, are you more likely to pull a taser out, shoot
first and ask questions later? Unfortunately, it would
seem in the case of the YVR tasering, there was no danger
of being shot at by an immigrant that was in a security
area in the airport. Does that mean no one stopped for
a second to think the situation out? Is that a result
of poor training or the kind of people we're getting for
The media has been more aggressive about reporting police
incidents in the last couple of years bringing to the
public's attention some really questionable practices
on the part of the RCMP. I think one of the most
prevalent and one that really knocked us back on our heels
was the case of Ian Bush. He had been arrested
for having an open beer at an arena in Houston and jokingly
giving a false name (He had a wallet on him with his proper
ID, however.) to the officer on liquor patrol at the game.
He was taken back to the station, even though other people
around him had open liquor as well, and within 20 minutes
had been shot in the back of the head in the interrogation
room by Constable Koester.
The family had been denied getting any information
from the RCMP for nine months. The police were
investigating themselves, and there were many inconsistencies
such as recording equipment being turned off in the interrogation
room, blood spatter, etc. inconsistent with the Constable's
story, that made the whole thing look pretty suspicious.
We followed the story closely at home here and were really
appalled at how the RCMP were handling the situation.
They were stonewalling the family, the media, the public,
and the local politicians that wanted to know what had
I'm putting a link here where you can read a little more
if you like about the issue. Family
Suing to Learn Evidence and you'll
find that this is where the following quote comes from
Bush family members are still trying to get answers to
how their son, considered to be a mild-mannered mill worker,
ended up dead. They have repeatedly asked to know: what
exactly happened? What did their son say or do? The RCMP,
however, has refused to comment on this case or any of
the details surrounding it.
When Gary Mason writing for The Globe and Mail pressed
the RCMP media department about certain facts that the
public has a right to know, Const. John Ward stated, "The
public doesn't have a right to know anything." Jason Gratl
of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association feels that this
type of response speaks to an institutional arrogance
within the RCMP. "It's deplorable and reprehensible...and
underlines concerns about the unfettered powers of the
RCMP," he said."-
That pretty much sums it up folks. That has been the attitude
of the RCMP for a long, long time.
The public doesn't have a right to know anything.
I believe that was pretty much the attitude of the RCMP
in the taser incident and I think they planned on stonewalling
the public for up to a year hoping it would go away. Obviously
public outcry has prevented that.
There have been calls for independent investigations of
incidents such as this involving RCMP Members, particularly
in suspicious circumstances or where the cop's declaration
is suspect, for several years now. And yet still those
reforms have not come. Yet again there are calls
for an independent investigation into the taser incident
because as the source above suggests, and as I believe
strongly, you cannot trust a body that investigates itself.
In the case of the Bush family, they have finally been
forced to file a lawsuit against Const. Koester, the B.C.
solicitor general and the B.C. attorney general, in order
to get to the bottom of this and find out what really
happened. The following is from Another
Date on the same newspaper.
noted that after Ian Bush was killed, paramedics were
kept waiting for 30 minutes outside the detachment. The
officer who pulled the trigger, Const. Paul Koester, didn't
produce a final statement until months later and even
then the questions were pre-approved by his lawyer. The
RCMP refused to allow a re-enactment of the incident,
which, according to one blood-splatter expert, was impossible
to have happened the way Const. Koester described it.
Despite this, there were no criminal charges laid, no
blame assigned. Young's lawyer, Cameron Ward, said police
are "immune from prosecution.
....lawyers, civil rights advocates and even the former
chair of the commission that handles public complaints
against the RCMP, at a forum on deaths in police custody
yesterday. They argued that B.C.'s current system, which
allows internal investigations of death or serious injury
at the hands of police, is one that breeds secrecy and
Until federal and provincial governments create an independent
body to review deaths-in-custody, they say, the number
of victims like Ian Bush will continue to grow -- as will
public mistrust of law enforcement."
Yep, that public mistrust of law enforcement has definitely
grown, and will continue to do so for as long as the RCMP
continue to treat human beings without respect, without
courtesy, and as pieces of meat.
In other words, unlike one of nine of Sir
Robert Peele's suggested principals of policing as mentioned
in last week's articles, - "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."
Those guys have pretty much been falling flat on their
face in that respect for the last few years, again as
evidenced by our little cartoon above.
When a worm like Koester, who as I understand it is now
posted in Williams Lake and not Kamloops, (Now there's
someone you want to take on a hunting trip.) can
get away with shooting a man whether in anger or otherwise,
you have a problem in your Force. At the one inquest
the police were trying to make Koester look good and emphasize
how frightened he was when he called 911 after shooting
Bush, by playing back the recording of the call. I listened
to it on the newscast and I couldn't believe any head
of a police department would think the public would swallow
that bull. That man was in abject fear. He was about ready
to pee his pants if he hadn't already. But it wasn't
because he was in fear for his life. No, that
little worm was squealing on that tape because he knew
he had just screwed up big time. He had just killed another
human being and although it's entirely conjecture on my
part based on a pretty good knowledge of people, and especially
cops, he hadn't killed him in self defense. Like
the cop that tasered the old man in his vehicle for a
traffic violation in Kelowna this month, revenge
and anger were more likely the cause.
Throw in fear, because that is the only possible reason
I can think of for four brawny cops to taser a man in
an airport, and you have a pretty scary police force out
there. Like an eager bunch of kids with a new toy, "Can
I taser him, huh, huh? Can I taser him? Pleeeese?"
And that's just it. The cops now have a weapon that won't
kill people, (or so it says on the packaging)
but they can take out all their frustrations, fears, anger
and revenge on anyone that they are called out to subdue.
I know they have a crappy job, and reasons for being highly
frustrated about a legal system that won't back them every
time they try to put a criminal in jail, but I think it's
gone way too far. They have an, "Us against them."
attitude that has been encouraged by a system that backs
them and does not punish them when they step outside the
line. And they step outside the line a lot because the
RCMP have become a ferociously arrogant body that no longer
protects the public in the line of duty. They're more
all about protecting themselves.
Bailey, someone that commented in the forum at the foot
of the newspaper article quoted above said this very well,
recent years our police forces have been showing increased
signs of becoming a closed culture, separate from the
society at large. Like an occupying army, they treat the
people of this country like lesser beings, over whom they
hold great power.
This is not only a Canadian phenomenon, but we have had
reason to be proud in the past, to be the ones asked to
teach other countries in distress how to do policing right.
To train others in the world about duties, rights and
proper procedures. I truly hate to see that excellence
ruined like this. It's such a sad thing, and avoidable.
We really must do better. And the way to do better is
to absolutely demand the truth from our police. If this
case is not pursued, we will have lost a piece of our
Well spoken and not by me. So you see, there is a general
and very intelligent consensus throughout this country
that our police force not only has a problem, but if left
to its own devices, may soon become the
weather has continued to hold cold and clear. It dropped
to -15.7C last night and didn't get above freezing today.
Close though, and it was quite pleasant in the sun. There
was a full moon last night that would knock you dead,
it was so white and you could almost have read a newspaper
by its light. Some high cloud to the east and some haze
overhead has dulled the moon tonight though. We
have a system moving in from the Pacific that will be
bringing snow to most of the province from the look of
it. After it passes through, the weather might
be a mixed bag with some days sunny, and some not, and
our cold temperatures are supposed to return.
Looks like the prairies are finally getting a piece of
our cold front with temperatures expected to reach a high
of -20C tomorrow, or -30C with the wind chill in Saskatoon.
But not even icicles could put a damper on celebrations
in Saskatchewan tonight! Their football team,
the Saskatchewan Roughriders, are bringing home the Grey
Cup for the first time in 18 years so the party is on.
Actually, I watched the last two quarters of the game
and admittedly, it's one of the best football games I've
seen in a long, long time. Both teams were well matched
and it was a nail biter to the end with the possibility
of it going either way. In fact, until the last minute
or so on the clock, I would not have put my money on either
team and been sure I would win.
I've taken to grabbing up the binoculars and checking
out the lake in the mornings while I have my breakfast.
I keep expecting to look out and see the Main Arm of Nimpo
Lake frozen over but every morning there's mist rising
from the water. I was shocked this morning to see
a loon cruising the water along the ice preening himself.
At least I was pretty sure it was a loon. It's quite a
distance and though my glasses are good, that far away
you have to study behavior more than anything to identify
a bird. But Andy pulled out the spotting scope and determined
that it definitely was a loon. Bigger and older than the
one we lost to the ice. He felt it was probably last year's
baby. It seems remarkable to see one here so late in the
year. Aside from the water being so frigid, the fishing
can't be as good and the bird risks being caught in really
bad weather unable to fly, and being frozen in. Loons
are clumsy out of the water and I can just picture a loon
running around on the ice trying to outmaneuver Mr. Wily
Speaking of which, the coyote was back out on the ice
again today. He crosses between the point and the island
quite a bit and I don't know if he's after something or
the lake is just on his route. We've never seen a coyote
on such a regular basis before and everyone else is seeing
him too. Although there may be a whole army of them. How
would you know? It's possible that some of the pack that
was here last winter cleaning up wolf kills remained here
through the summer. Or now that they've discovered the
area and the easy kills, are coming back in the fall.
All I do know is that there's at least one out there that's
a pretty successful hunter. Aside from rabbit fur I've
seen bird feathers and sign all along where I walk during
Hope everyone had a great American Thanksgiving
weekend. From some of the interviews done on television,
it sounds like there's more than one Canadian out there
that celebrates the American Thanksgiving, more for football
than anything else. But for some folks, any excuse is
a good one to have two turkey dinners!
Last week's articles, including the continuing series
on the RCMP can be found at November
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!