|Can Clark back up tough talk with action?
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|Author:||andyt [ Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:10 am ]|
|Post subject:||Can Clark back up tough talk with action?|
This is another reason why it would have been better if the police had been proactive rather than reactive:
From heartbreak on the ice, to fire on the streets, to fighting words in the legislature -in the aftermath of the great Stanley Cup riot of 2011 the political riot is about to begin.
Premier Christy Clark started the new war of words Thursday with a bold commitment to hunt down the looters and rioters and throw the book at them.
"They will not be able to hide behind their bandanas and hoodies," said Clark, while promising to use every means possible to identify the hooligans and get them "off the street."
So she wants to throw the rioters in jail? Clark wasn't that specific, though she did vow to pursue them "to the full extent of the law."
All of which sounds great. Until you realize that "throwing the book" at these losers will probably amount to little more than a slap on the wrist.
The looters and rioters will get lawyered up. They'll carefully prepare their alibis and sob stories. Shark-ina-suit lawyers will challenge every scrap of evidence.
Our notoriously soft judicial system will take these mouth breathers off the street? Really?
Few of the idiots and knuckle-draggers who embarrassed the city in the 1994 Cup riot actually did any real jail time. Why would it be any different today?
Clark said it's because police have so much video evidence. Stores captured the looting on security cameras. The media shot hours of video and could be asked to turn over the footage.
Most powerful of all could be the movies shot on hand-held smartphones and uploaded to sites like Facebook and YouTube.
Watching Wednesday night's mayhem I was continually amazed at the brazen criminal acts people are willing to perform, knowing they're being filmed by dozens of tiny cameras.
Of course I support Clark's efforts to bring criminals to justice. Anyone who recognizes lawbreakers on these videos should call the cops and report them.
But I wonder whether the system is capable of doing anything meaningful with the information. Especially when some criminals are already walking free because of a courthouse funding crunch.
And that's where the NDP got in on the political riot, accusing Clark of laying off courthouse sheriffs, resulting in criminal trials going off the rails.
And NDP public safety critic Kathy Corrigan said Clark refused Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's request for help to pay for Cup policing costs, effectively "downloading" the problem onto the shoulders of out-manned, underfunded police.
The Liberals bristle at any suggestion the B.C. government should have ensured there were more cops on the streets. That was Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu's call, they say.
But whether Clark can now back up her bold vow to hunt down and punish the rioters may depend on whether she's willing to reverse spending cuts in the justice system.
She's great with a sound bite. Now we'll see if she can back the words with action.
Anyway, what's Clark going to do? She's not the chief of police? Is she going to give money to the VPD for this purpose, that she should have given them beforehand to prevent the riot in the first place? But then that is the right wing all the way - react. I guess that's why they call them reactionaries.
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