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Played by the cops: A not entirely puerile lament for the RCMP



It sounds childish, but I don’t really like cops. I’m not all NWA about the whole thing — even though I like that song — but, just the same, encounters with the law typically make me want to break it in very serious ways.

When I was a kid, my hockey coach — for the one year I decided to embarrass myself like that — was also a cop. He used to park his cruiser across the sidewalk in front of his house at lunch hour; you could see him on the couch like some beached whale in official regalia. He used to call me a stupid little girl when I missed a pass. He wasn’t very nice. Like, this one time, I fell into the middle of the Ottawa River at four in the morning and I got hypothermia. When I finally got to shore, he rolled up in his cruiser, called me an idiot — which was beside the point — and then drove away. I nearly died, but, aside from the heating blankets the doctors swaddled me in for a few days, my hatred for him helped warm my blood.

By the way, I’m not some rinky-dink anarchist. I understand the need for law. All I have to do for that is examine my own psyche: The urge to steal, kill and maim is not exactly a constant, but it certainly factors into the odd thought process. Meanwhile, some cops are actually nice. I say that because some of them have let me get away with things of sometimes significant illegality. But those cops aren’t doing their jobs. Looked at a certain way, they’re worse than anarchists. Not fair, is it? Such is life.

Lots of cops don’t do their jobs. And some of them do their jobs with a bit too much fervor. To exemplify: the RCMP shooting Ian Bush in the back of the head in Houston, B.C. Like, I thought we lived in Canada, a country generally opposed to giving handguns to inexperienced people with obvious inferiority complexes.

Come to think of it, the RCMP is a brand in worse repair than that of the Liberal Party of Canada. In the past two years, the Mounties have found themselves absolutely mired in scandal. In January 2006, Gary Stevens went to jail for just 18 months after he pled guilty to sexually assaulting two girls while off duty, one in Vancouver and the other in Terrace. That same month, in this same province, a female constable won a lawsuit for harassment suffered at the hands of her detachment commander. The following month, an inexperienced cop shot a wasted and unarmed robber to death in Vanderhoof.