Aren't You a Little Short For a Stormtrooper?
May 6, 2020 1:07 AM   Subscribe

 
Uh oh, the cops fucked with a pretty white girl, now there will be consequences
posted by JDHarper at 5:42 AM on May 6 [27 favorites]


I have occasionally thought that in the age of 3D printers, protestors should really invest in the .stl for stormtrooper armour. We have all seen photos of police in what they hope is badass tactical gear standing in front of a legislator facing down a crowd of people holding signs and placards. Imagine if it were sixty police and 500 stormtroopers.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:59 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Uh oh, the cops fucked with a pretty white girl, now there will be consequences

I knew this type of thing would be the first comment.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:27 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


I have no sympathy for this person or the business that employs her. I don't give a shit if it's "Star Wars Day". If you're so ignorant that you think any promotion involving a gun on the streets in this day and age is appropriate you are a fucking idiot and detainment is the least of your worries.

The outrage should be that these cops are being investigated for doing their jobs ethically.
posted by dobbs at 6:42 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


If you're so ignorant that you think any promotion involving a gun on the streets in this day and age is appropriate you are a fucking idiot and detainment is the least of your worries.

This is the sort of mentality that leads to minority kids getting killed for having the temerity to play with toy guns.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:50 AM on May 6 [56 favorites]


From the this-is-not-the-US-department: Why should kids have toy guns at all?

I know many parents, including ones in rural hunting communities for whom this is a bright-line no way. Even things like paintball weapons are understood to be confined to car trunks and the designated areas. Comic/Gaming Conventions in Canada very frequently have a nothing-that-looks-like-a-weapon policy, including foam swords.
posted by bonehead at 7:13 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Some (but certainly not all) states in the US have anti-mask laws either in public or in demonstrations. The history is partially tied to the popularity of the KKK (a white nationalist terrorist and political organization that worse masks and hoods to protect their identities during direct action and demonstrations). The free-speech law surrounding this is complicated.

Also, the outfit would be hot, collectively require a fair amount of space to transport, and not terribly cheap to put together.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:17 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I have no sympathy for this person or the business that employs her. I don't give a shit if it's "Star Wars Day". If you're so ignorant that you think any promotion involving a gun on the streets in this day and age is appropriate you are a fucking idiot and detainment is the least of your worries.

Not to mention that Canada recently suffered a terrible massacre, caused by gun violence, which their police are probably eager to keep from happening again.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:36 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


I don't disagree with any comments that point out that anyone waving anything even remotely resembling a gun in public nowadays will likely come to some form of grief.. But can we all pause and mourn the fact that in Canada now, a person can no longer spontaneously gear up in their Stormtrooper kit and get out there? I feel like there is a little less magic in the world today.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:58 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


"The female sustained a minor injury but did not require medical attention."

The "female?" The "female?"

What, was she a female Rodian or Twi'lek or something?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:18 AM on May 6 [11 favorites]


This is the sort of mentality that leads to minority kids getting killed for having the temerity to play with toy guns.

Bullshit. This wasn't some kid on his lawn or in a park playing with toy guns -- this was a business, owned by grown-ass adults, who thought it was a great idea to disguise someone head to toe and pay them to walk the city streets with a gun in a country that recently suffered the worst mass shooting in its history.

Equating this event with Tamir Rice or some other minority youth getting shot by racist cops is insulting, cowardly horseshit.
posted by dobbs at 8:21 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


I have occasionally thought that in the age of 3D printers, protestors should really invest in the .stl for stormtrooper armour

The best part is 3D printed plastic armor will provide as much protection as the actual armor in the movies.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:33 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Not to mention that Canada recently suffered a terrible massacre, caused by gun violence, which their police are probably eager to keep from happening again.

And this served that purpose...how, exactly? Not to mention there is an ignoble tradition of police using tragedy to seize power and push back on accountability.

Bullshit. This wasn't some kid on his lawn or in a park playing with toy guns -- this was a business, owned by grown-ass adults, who thought it was a great idea to disguise someone head to toe and pay them to walk the city streets with a gun in a country that recently suffered the worst mass shooting in its history.

Equating this event with Tamir Rice or some other minority youth getting shot by racist cops is insulting, cowardly horseshit.


It was a business running a Star Wars promotion, including having someone dress up like a stormtrooper. And my point is that you are engaging in the exact sort of rationalization that has led to racist cops taking a "shoot first, ask questions later" position with minority kids playing with toy guns for decades - you're just trying to argue that because the subject was an adult, it somehow makes police abuse okay. The problem isn't my point, it's that you're defending indefensible behavior by the police - and using tragedy to do so is that much worse.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:24 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Bullshit. This wasn't some kid on his lawn or in a park playing with toy guns -- this was a business, owned by grown-ass adults, who thought it was a great idea to disguise someone head to toe and pay them to walk the city streets with a gun in a country that recently suffered the worst mass shooting in its history.

What the... "disguise?"

"Walk the city streets?"

She was standing in the parking lot outside a nerd shop called the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, waving at passers by, wearing a costume from one of the most famous media franchises in history.

Here is the video of the police apprehending her. One of the police is holding a submachine gun.

How is this in any way reasonable?
posted by Fleebnork at 9:28 AM on May 6 [37 favorites]


indefensible behavior by the police

You're right. Cops responding to TWO 911 calls of an armed person by cautiously approaching a disguised suspect with calm language to get down on the ground is indefensible. One of them even had the nerve not to pull her gun -- and the one with the drawn rifle couldn't even bother to point it at the stormtrooper! They didn't even charge her!

Why do I feel like you're the same person who, were the gun real, and people really shot, would be in here crying that cops didn't take the situation seriously enough?

I'm no cop-lover, but calling the clearly professional behavior of these officers indefensible is ludicrous.

What the... "disguise?"

A costume is a disguise. My point is that they do not know who's inside. They don't know if it's a 14 year old or a 50 year old. They cannot see the person's face to gauge their mood or sanity. They cannot tell if the person is rational or stoned out of their mind.

One of the police is holding a submachine gun

Huh? Machine guns are illegal in Canada. Looks like a rifle or a shot gun to me.

the most famous media franchises in history

What planet do you live on? I live on the one where in recent memory a guy dressed as the Joker went into a movie theatre and shot 82 people.

She was standing in the parking lot outside a nerd shop called the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina

I can't tell if you're being disingenuous or not. Do you seriously not see the difference between yourself watching this from the comfort of your home and being a cop responding to multiple 911 calls about an armed person and having to access whether it's a life or death situation in the moment?
posted by dobbs at 9:48 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of reasons to be outrageous about police response to situations in this day and age -- in the US and Canada. This is definitely not one of them.
posted by dobbs at 9:50 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


responding to multiple 911 calls about an armed person

How much do you want to bet this was some sort of swat? Obvious cosplay is obvious- some sort of ex boyfriend or ex employee of the nerd shop realizes because of the recent massacre he might be able to cause some trouble? Because this is egregiously stupid on behalf of the police otherwise. Police brutality is police brutality, but at least this happened north of the border- so she didn't get shot and killed.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:53 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


[Hi, let's please keep it cool in here. People can feel different ways about this situation without being horrible people.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:53 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


I dunno, maybe the cops could have just talked to her after she put the plastic toy gun on the ground instead of giving her a bloody nose?

Is that an American thing to say? I'm confused.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:59 AM on May 6 [24 favorites]


What planet do you live on? I live on the one where in recent memory a guy dressed as the Joker went into a movie theatre and shot 82 people.

First off, the Aurora shooter was claimed to be dressed as Batman, not the Joker. Secondly, this was a second hand rumor that came about because a) the shooter wore "tactical gear" and b) he targeted a showing of The Dark Knight that had no actual basis in reality.

So you're basing your argument of why a costume is dangerous on a misinterpretation of a false rumor.

Do you seriously not see the difference between yourself watching this from the comfort of your home and being a cop responding to multiple 911 calls about an armed person and having to access whether it's a life or death situation in the moment?

And now you are literally cribbing from the exact same arguments used to justify all sorts of police excess.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:11 AM on May 6 [21 favorites]


From the this-is-not-the-US-department: Why should kids have toy guns at all?

I know many parents, including ones in rural hunting communities for whom this is a bright-line no way. Even things like paintball weapons are understood to be confined to car trunks and the designated areas.


If real guns were illegal, we could all play with fake guns again and it would be a lot of fun.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:25 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


What gets me is that the stormtrooper blaster rife she is carrying IN NO WAY looks like a real weapon. It has *fins*. It isn't like she is carrying a replica M-16 down the street, she is carrying something from a very popular series of movies, that is pretty much designed to not look like a real world weapon.
posted by Canageek at 10:47 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


First off, the Aurora shooter was claimed to be dressed as Batman, not the Joker. Secondly, this was a second hand rumor that came about because a) the shooter wore "tactical gear" and b) he targeted a showing of The Dark Knight that had no actual basis in reality.

Thanks. Wasn't aware of that.

So you're basing your argument of why a costume is dangerous on a misinterpretation of a false rumor.

No, a costume is dangerous for all the reasons I mentioned above: the inability of the police to see the person's face; this is not "my idea."

I brought up the Aurora shooter because someone had thought the idea of a costume worked in the suspect's favor because supposedly dressing up as a character from a famous franchise precludes them from being dangerous, which is ridiculous.
posted by dobbs at 10:53 AM on May 6


The idea that someone would be standing around in broad daylight, wearing a stormtrooper costume, waving around something that, if it were real, would be a fantastically illegal and practically impossible to obtain submachine gun, is just utterly risible.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:56 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


What gets me is that the stormtrooper blaster rife she is carrying IN NO WAY looks like a real weapon.

Almost all Star Wars guns are just real guns with a few bits and bobs added on. I could almost understand cops drawing down on or otherwise being real twitchy about someone in a Han Solo getup, since it doesn't strike me as completely over the top insane that someone might have a functioning old Mauser pistol.

But the idea that someone in Canada would have a functioning Sterling or WW2 German machine gun and would just be waving this instant trip-to-prison-forever around is just completely bonkers. This is like worrying that someone's light saber is real.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:11 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


I don't disagree with any comments that point out that anyone waving anything even remotely resembling a gun in public nowadays will likely come to some form of grief.

Wait, what?

I'm assuming you haven't seen the dozens of shelter in place "protestors" wandering around governor's houses and sometimes in the fucking capitol buildings armed to the teeth? With zero repercussions whatsoever? More often than not with tacit police approval?

Maybe it's just me and I have to shutter social media more that I already am.
posted by Sphinx at 11:16 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


No, a costume is dangerous for all the reasons I mentioned above: the inability of the police to see the person's face; this is not "my idea."

Yeah, about that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:26 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


I brought up the Aurora shooter because someone had thought the idea of a costume worked in the suspect's favor because supposedly dressing up as a character from a famous franchise precludes them from being dangerous, which is ridiculous.

Please stop trying to misconstrue what I wrote.

I brought up the costume because of context.

She was wearing a Star Wars costume in the parking lot of a Star Wars themed shop playing Star Wars music on Star Wars day. That is the context in which she might be "precluded from being dangerous." Or at least the police might have paused to think about it a bit before throwing her on the ground and bloodying her nose and slapping her in cuffs before they asked any questions.

After she put the toy ray gun on the ground, they could have calmly asked her some questions, and perhaps suggested the toy ray gun be put away, and this wouldn't have made the news at all. It would have been "cops show up, ask questions, the end."
posted by Fleebnork at 11:26 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


It's impossibly arrogant to believe that the entire population is aware of "Star Wars" and all of its character designs. This employee was dressed in head-to-toe body armor, their face completely covered, and was carrying what appeared to be an operational firearm. I blame the shop owner for forcing his employee to frighten the public in this manner.

Context is useless if it's not understood by all parties involved. What popular media franchises should police be required to have familiarity with?
posted by seiryuu at 11:51 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


They cannot tell if the person is rational or stoned out of their mind

This episode of All in the Family was filmed live in front of a studio audience.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:04 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I give up. I'm going to go sit in my impossibly arrogant corner where space costumes with ray guns aren't a good enough reason to rough up a woman.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:09 PM on May 6 [31 favorites]


Someone should run a version of this story titled "Star Wars Fans Upset When People Don't Recognize Their References"
posted by seiryuu at 12:16 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


@Sphinx

you're conflating events in the US and this event in Canada

there are absolutely NO armed protesters gathering anywhere in Canada that I am aware of. at least in that respect our countries are markedly different.
posted by elkevelvet at 12:20 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


From the CBC link anyway she was taken down and cuffed after she dropped the purported weapon. I think at that point the officers should have taken a step back and reassessed the situation. That being said I'm not particularly outraged by the officers' reaction. They probably stopped short of best practices but a bloody nose for walking around with a gun-shaped object isn't all that bad, although the owner should have gotten it not the poor employee.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:30 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Man, I'm used to seeing people make some pretty wild arguments excusing police brutality but never as wild as "maybe the cops don't know what Star Wars is!?"
posted by JDHarper at 12:42 PM on May 6 [29 favorites]


Good lord. Multiple people called 911! This didn't begin with the cops. It began with a terrified public, multiple members of whom were terrified enough of some weirdo with a gun to call for the police to intervene. As has been mentioned above, this is three weeks after the Nova Scotia attacks.
posted by seiryuu at 12:46 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Multiple folks call 911 all the time about "dangerous folks" "or weirdo's with guns" that turn out to be "Black man with wallet" or "Kid in hoodie in white neighborhood", neither of which absolve the police from bad practices.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:03 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


As mentioned above, as the victim in this was white and female there might be a better chance that this sort of thing get's a spotlight put on how police jumping to worst possible violent take-down often ends in much more tragic situations than this one.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:04 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks if you're not Canadian or living in Canada, please reflect that people in Canada may have better insight into the public mood in Canada after the Nova Scotia attacks (how things will be perceived/what feels alarming). I understand the urge to push back on any defense of police but it's also not good for e.g. Americans to talk over non-Americans about situations in their own country.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:05 PM on May 6 [14 favorites]


The idea that someone would be standing around in broad daylight, wearing a stormtrooper costume, waving around something that, if it were real, would be a fantastically illegal and practically impossible to obtain submachine gun, is just utterly risible.

I do not find it a stretch at all. People who do mass shootings often do weird things, and especially seem to enjoy playing dress-up. It's usually "tacticool" but I'd be totally unsurprised to read a headline that said "mass shooter dresses up as star wars character, murders 50 on 'star wars day'"
posted by cape at 1:08 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


What popular media franchises should police be required to have familiarity with?

Literally all of them. Seriously.

It is part of their actual, no-shit, real-life job to be able to accurately distinguish dangerous people and people intent on actual menace from harmless people. It is part of their real, actual job to be able to tell the difference between a tweaker running around with a carpentry hammer and someone walking down the street in a Thor costume for, frankly, whatever reasons seem good to them.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:20 PM on May 6 [30 favorites]


Meanwhile yesterday in Toronto, a alone policewoman and a rock throwing nutter
YouTube video.

(no one gets hurt)
posted by yyz at 1:42 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


This employee was dressed in head-to-toe body armor, their face completely covered, and was carrying what appeared to be an operational firearm.

A few years ago at Hallowe'en I went to a party in a Darth Vader getup: dressed in head-to-toe body armour, my face completely covered, and carrying what appeared to be an operational light sabre. I see know how lucky I am that I wasn't killed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:41 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


I can guarantee if you dressed up as Han Solo brandishing a toy gun in Halifax today you might come to a bit of grief.

I mean, is your Halloween story meant to be a little bit cute? The officers were responding to calls. They acted very aggressively, no argument there. They also acted in the context of the worst mass shooting seen in Canada, only 3 weeks ago, where the shooter impersonated a police officer. I'm guessing you know this is a Canada-based story? Or are you from US and just assumed a bunch of stuff as you typed your comment?

We can disagree on things, but honestly know the story and try to appreciate there is context to it.
posted by elkevelvet at 2:56 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I mean there's context on both sides of it? I don't think it's unreasonable to think that because of the mass shooting, there's likely to be an uptick in calls to the cops for situations where normally nothing would've even happened (to wit, a person in a star wars costume), and that the cops should know this and act accordingly. My own expectation, extreme as it may sound, is that maybe sure the police should ask the person to disarm and then have a conversation rather than pinning and cuffing them. It's a failure to act professionally on the part of the police that they did not take this course of action.
posted by axiom at 3:21 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


No argument there. I just have zero time for people who seem to be ignoring the context entirely. The days after the shootings there were false alarms lighting up parts of the city. We are examining video footage of things from the comfort of our homes, we need to be honest about that. I absolutely see excessive force here, that can exist simultaneously in a world that has changed drastically for Canadians. We have mass shootings, but nothing on the scale of our southern neighbours. What happened not 3 weeks ago will be on our minds.
posted by elkevelvet at 3:29 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Hey. Nova Scotian here. My father was a Mountie for over 20 years, and a judge for 20 more. When the recent false alarms lit up the HRM, one of the false alarms was near my place of work, and another was near my home. My wife and kids locked themselves in the basement. Want my insight?

Massive overreaction from the police on this one. I expect police officers to think and be rational to preserve the peace. One of those false alarms involved two men, an airsoft gun, a retail store, and no disguises. Lots of 911 calls, lots of cars, no injuries. If HRM officers can show that kind of restraint, the cops in Alberta should have been able to do no less.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:47 PM on May 6 [23 favorites]


When police can beat unresisting suspects with impunity, you're on the road to fascism, because the police are already there.
posted by jamjam at 6:06 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


I'm guessing you know this is a Canada-based story? Or are you from US and just assumed a bunch of stuff as you typed your comment?

Yes, no, and no in that order.

You stress repeatedly that it is three weeks since the shootings in Nova Scotia. Just for easy reference, can you tell us how many weeks it will be before it starts to be inappropriate for police to beat up an unarmed, cooperative and unresisting teenaged girl doing a store promotion in one of the most recognizable costumes in the world?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:35 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


It is part of their actual, no-shit, real-life job to be able to accurately distinguish dangerous people and people intent on actual menace from harmless people.
Sorry, that just reminded me of Larry David's Kevin Roberts sketch on SNL.
posted by Schmucko at 7:04 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Pretty sure none of the officers involved will ever make detective.
posted by valkane at 7:21 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


how many weeks it will be before it starts to be inappropriate for police to beat up an unarmed, cooperative and unresisting teenaged girl

Beat up? What are you talking about? Here is some more detail about the events.

They told her to drop the weapon, which she did. Then they told her to get on the ground. She didn't. From the police point of view, she was not being cooperative. From her point of view, which she explained later, she couldn't. In that costume, she couldn't get down. She said you can't even sit in a chair. Finally she managed to get on her knees. The policewoman, not understanding the situation, went over and pushed her so she'd get flat on the ground. This made her hit her nose, which is how she got the bloody nose. Nobody was 'beat up'.

I'm not taking sides here, just adding some more information.
posted by eye of newt at 8:56 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


True. The Lethbridge Police Service have definitely determined that a female received injuries on the course of normal Lethbridge Police Service operations and now the Lethbridge Police Service will conduct an investigation. Excellent.

The whole Star Wars angle makes for funny headlines, but if someone explains that they physically cannot perform an action the police order at gunpoint and they somehow wind up shedding blood anyway, I don’t see that as terribly different from the occasional stories about police injuring Deaf people who do not comply with police orders.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:33 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


It's fascinating that having a mass shooting in your country absolves any and all police from criticism for overreach for a three week period. Good news for US cops in particular, since I can't remember the last three week period without a mass shooting in that country.

By the way, Lethbridge is closer to Mexico City than it is to the Nova Scotia shooting sites.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:49 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


The policewoman, not understanding the situation, went over and pushed her so she'd get flat on the ground. This made her hit her nose, which is how she got the bloody nose. Nobody was 'beat up'.

Holy shit lol

Love to not actually be beaten up, but just to have someone push my face into the ground, thus causing my nose to, unrelatedly, become bloodied

Love to decide someone having their face smacked into the ground so they bleed isn't being "beat up" but also definitely not be taking sides
posted by ominous_paws at 10:04 PM on May 6 [15 favorites]


Was she cuffed at the time?

Throwing an arrestee around after they're cuffed is an absolutely standard way of beating them, sometimes very severely, while maintaining a degree of deniability.
posted by jamjam at 10:34 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


By the way, Lethbridge is closer to Mexico City than it is to the Nova Scotia shooting sites.

What are you trying to say here? The Nova Scotia story is a big deal to people all over Canada, not least because we didn't think that kind of thing could happen here. It was the top national news story for days.

Plenty of Albertans have family in eastern Canada. Gun control is also on our minds, as a country, this week, because of the expanded restricted firearms list.

In these days of closed borders and limited travel, Canada somehow feels smaller, while to me the US feels more distant and less relevant by the day.

What are you on about?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:59 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


I would find it highly unusual to see anyone waving a gun like object here and would assume the cops need to be called. I guess I find it sad that in another thread some Americans said it was normal for armed people to just be walking around with weapons and it wasn't a sign of a falling apart society or anything new. They seem so gaslit there.

We got our own cop problems but idk members of the public calling in the police to deal with the issue seems what one should do. Especially after Nova Scotia.
posted by kanata at 1:14 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


From the police point of view, she was not being cooperative.

This is pretty much what I figure -- the cops thought she wasn't giving them The Proper Respect even after she was demonstrably harmless, so they roughed her up to punish her.

pushed her so she'd get flat on the ground. This made her hit her nose, which is how she got the bloody nose. Nobody was 'beat up'.

Outside of narrow, mostly medical contexts, when someone makes you bleed without your consent, that's called a beating.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:58 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


It's fascinating that having a mass shooting in your country absolves any and all police from criticism for overreach for a three week period.

It's never just "for a three week period" - I'm reminded of the saying "once you pay the danegeld, you'll never be rid of the Dane." Once you start telling the police that brutality is okay because of X, they will keep using X to excuse their conduct. The only answer is to never give the excuse in the first place.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:03 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


What are you trying to say here? The Nova Scotia story is a big deal to people all over Canada, not least because we didn't think that kind of thing could happen here. It was the top national news story for days.

I'm trying to give some perspective to folks who might not know that Lethbridge is on the other side of the country from the NS shootings, not right next door. As relevant as any other aspect of the Nova Scotia shootings is the near-tragedy where RCMP shot up a fire hall where people were sheltering from the gunman; I would hope that police officers across the country would be learning that they need to be careful in what they perceive to be high stakes situations.

Plenty of Albertans have family in eastern Canada. Gun control is also on our minds, as a country, this week, because of the expanded restricted firearms list.

The whole point of Canada and especially Alberta is that plenty of folks here have families elsewhere. Should Albertans with families in Hong Kong be throwing rocks at the cops because they feel connected to what their families are going through, or should they be acting based on the actual circumstances in the place and time they are actually in?

In these days of closed borders and limited travel, Canada somehow feels smaller, while to me the US feels more distant and less relevant by the day.
And yet the US rhetoric of respect for the police in all circumstances has never felt closer to me.

Yes, our weakened centralized news media made the Nova Scotia shootings the lead story here for a long time and a lot of people are locked at home with nothing to do but watch the news. So I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to people who called 911 over a person in a Star Wars costume outside a Star Wars store playing Star Wars music on Star Wars day. And I'm even willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the cops when they made her drop her plastic fantasy laser blaster slash costume accessory before continuing to ask questions.

Turns out my personal line between giving the benefit of the doubt because the news has everybody on edge and being critical of privileged professionals who are paid to make good decisions in high and low stakes situations is pretty well exactly where innocent civilians start bleeding.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:04 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


should they be acting based on the actual circumstances in the place and time they are actually in?

They should. And the place they are in is Canada, parts of which may be physically very distant from each other, but which as a country has gun violence on its mind.

That shooting made me question whether my country's gun control laws were actually working, and whether we were undergoing a cultural change. That aspect of it wouldn't have mattered if happened 50 km from me or 5000. But a shooting 400 km away in Montana, while tragic, would have no connection to this place.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:14 AM on May 7


That's not to say I would call 911 on a person in a stormtrooper costume in front of a comics store, and I don't know what level of threat a police officer would really perceive in this situation (and whether it would be heightened today if they had that dead RCMP officer at the back their mind).

But I do think recent events have changed how I see guns here. Both because of Nova Scotia and because of the backlash that may be brewing after the restricted firearms legislation.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:35 AM on May 7


I watched the video.

The police seemed to be enacting a training scenario. They did not seem to be reacting to the actual situation. Safety isn't well-served by removing common sense from the situation. I believe the officers were drilled on this procedure, but this procedure was not appropriate to the situation.

That was a beat down. It wasn't warranted. The young woman's bloody nose was a token of the humiliation she endured. That her injury was unintentional is not a defense against inappropriate behavior on the part of the police. That her injury was "merely" a bloody nose isn't the point. What would unacceptably inappropriate force be?--broken arm? Gunshot to the head?

If those officers can't be retrained, they ought be dismissed from the police force. If their training officers don't know what's wrong with what these officers did, then, well, holy crap. Anyhow, they haven't earned praise for what I saw in that video.
posted by mule98J at 10:07 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


The officers should know enough Star Wars to know that even if a Stormtrooper DID shoot, the shot would miss...
posted by Schmucko at 10:39 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


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