Whitehorse YK: the only city evacuated on 9/11

Not the work of the author, though the author would like to thank the photographer

A pleasant little mystery from the CBC. Why was Whitehorse evacuated on 9/11? And why were two Korean Air Lines 747s emitting a ‘hijack’ signal despite everything being a-ok on board? And why were they diverted to the evacuated city of Whitehorse when they could have landed at a multitude of Canadian or American military facilities nearby?

See this CBC article on Whitehorse’s bizarre 9/11 connexion.

Milice patriotique du Québec wants to sell guns in HLM

Photo credit to Andrew Chung/ Toronto Star

So everyone’s favourite local militia wants to sell weapons in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, as the local newspaper reported recently.

The MPQ runs a recruiting station there, which happens to double as the militia’s primary source of income – a military surplus store. Nothing illegal here; the group claims to be sovereignist and available to help ‘the people’ in a time of crisis, such as a natural disaster or in the event of an external attack. They also claim to be apolitical, and say they are present to respond to the will of the people.

Not the duly elected government mind you, the people is who they respond to.

Of course, it doesn’t seem as if the actual authorities, such as the Canadian Forces, the Sureté-du-Québec, the RCMP or the SPVM would be able to handle the kinds of emergencies they envisage. Perhaps they feel those organizations are not the true defenders of the people.

And the last time I checked, natural disaster training is very different from playing soldier out in the woods and firing paintballs at human targets. Just what exactly does this militia aim to prove, and who do they serve?

And why do they want to sell weapons in HLM?

I’m getting uneasy.

Here’s why. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, scores of private militias, gun-clubs, survivalist groups and a host of other really shady pseudo-military, pseudo-law-enforcement organizations began patrolling the streets of New Orleans. They shot ‘looters’ indiscriminately, as they were paid by wealthy locals to guard gated-communities and to protect the wealthy whites from the blacks of New Orleans. As we all know, the lives oft he privileged whites have returned to normal. Better than before some say, as signs popped up around New Orleans proclaiming that ‘we are taking our city back’. The ‘we’ in the case of New Orleans are the wealthy, exploitative white minority.

This would likely not have occured if President Bush had handled Katrina properly, such as by deploying troops, national guard and FEMA immediately. It also didn’t help that the NOPD actually called on various local militias to assist in keeping order in the immediate aftermath. See this article to read more on the horrifying human rights abuses in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Time to ask ourselves whether, as a society, we have enough faith in our own security forces or whether we feel it is appropriate to have parallel powers which could respond to any ‘catastrophe’ (as they define it) based on the demands of the ‘people’ (which could be whomever they choose). It’s kind of like a synagogue in the West Island that happens to employ guards to protect the building and patrol the grounds, even though they’ve never been threatened with vandalism or violence, and the local police would be able to handle any potential problem with considerably more efficiency than unarmed rent-a-cops. Or is it nothing but smoke and mirrors?

As always i want to hear from you? What will the people do about the MPQ?

The strange case of Denis Lortie

Admittedly not an event which occurred in Montréal, but given our history of shoot-ups at various local institutions, something we should nonetheless pay attention to. Mr. Lortie walked into the National Assembly on May 8th 1984 and filled it with led from a 9mm sub-machine gun. He killed three and wounded thirteen. He was a serving corporal in the Canadian Forces, and a paranoid schizophrenic who had been abused by his tyrannical father, and was further involved in an incestuous relationship with his sister that ended with her pregnancy.

Lortie’s weapons were Canadian Forces standard issue, and when he made his way into the National Assembly, there was no one present who had the means to stop him. It took the courageous actions of the Sargent-at-Arms, René Jalbert, to talk Lortie out of his inssane plan. After the fact, it was discovered he had planned to wipe out the governing Parti Québecois, including Premier René Lévesque.

Lortie was apparently paroled in December 1995, and there hasn’t been much info on him since. But the question as to whether armed security forces ought to be stationed at government and institutional buildings as a means to prevent an attack, whether by lone gunmen or terrorists, has never really been addressed on a national and local basis. Granted, there was an increase in general security after 9/11. But calls for armed guards at Concordia University or in the Métro, as an example, have also fallen by the wayside.

What is the better option. Posted armed guards or an enhanced police presence? What’s more effective, a security apparatus designed to fade into the background until required, seamlessly interwoven into general society, or the deliberate statement of force and security? What do you think?

What I’ve been addicted to lately

Bar none the finest example of the police procedural drama, ever

So I’ve been quite occupied lately, but I’ve also devoted a fair bit of time to watching the first two seasons of Homicide, in addition to reading the book it’s based on by David Simon.

Long story short I’m downloading Treme right now. What can I say? Most television sucks donkey choda these days, which makes the rare shining examples of excellent TV that much more enjoyable, and as far as plot lines and character development is concerned, it really can’t be beat. Admittedly, Breaking Bad, though more fantastic, is giving Homicide a run for its money, but I doubt it’ll last as long.

In any event, more actual blog posts are coming soon, and as of Sunday I’ll be in a new neighbourhood in the city. Can’t wait to share the experiences with y’all.