Saturday, February 12, 2011

Christie Blatchford's "Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare Of Fear And Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All Of Us." (Steak Knives)

This was a loaner from my father, so thanks Dad!

There are a few big picture points to be made about this before diving into my thoughts on the content:

1) By the author's own definition, this is a selective, specific view of events that are hard-wired into larger issues. As such, there's a lot of context that is left to the reader to provide or seek out. I think at least *some* exposition on the history of these specific claims and on development in the region would have provided important, and essential background.

2) This should be read, regardless of political stripe or ideology, with a mind to other 'incidents' of recent past, with the Toronto G20 and Summit of the Americas in Que coming to mind as readily as Ipperwash for me; as an object lesson in exactly how broken our media is across the board, and how it too (systemically) 'fails all of us.'

Now, on to the contents...

In short, 'Helpless' chronicles the abandonment of a community. The absolute failure of the OPP to protect citizens and enforce the rule of law (evenly), and the cowardice and conspiracy of elected officials in allowing this anarchy to fester and escalate is shocking. That the rule of law 'failed all of us' is without doubt.

I've always found Blatchford's journalism hit or miss, but she's done a fantastic job here of opening wide an ongoing issue that's had too little coverage and attention, or altogether flawed or over-timid (deferential?) reporting. That there's been very little in the way of taking people to account (protesters and law enforcement/government alike) is yet another very sad, sad indictment on the state of policing and governance in Ontario and Canada.

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