So let it be written…
One man’s democracy is another man’s security breach.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Surrey last week, stumping at the Aria Banquet Hall in Brownsville, and apparently there was a “security breach.”
With all the headlines the following morning, you’d think something real happened.
Did brawny vikings pour out of a longship, swinging axes with mad abandon? Did shiny red-cross knights wielding pointy lances rumble through the banquet hall on mighty steeds? Did ISIS ninjas slide down long ropes from black helicopters above, gripping scimitars and trilling their tongues?
Did Matrix squiddies breach the roof of the hall with red laser cannons?
No, none of that. There were three protesters, though, who were exponentially outnumbered by security professionals in dark suits. These grim-faced suits gave the protesters the bums rush out of the building to who knows where while Conservative party faithful provided the soundtrack, shouting “Harper, Harper, Harper!”
Wow, where did Canada go?
While all this was unfolding, our nation’s leader — for how long, will be determined Monday — made, in true statesmanly form, clever little jokes about it all.
One protester, a young woman, was nowhere near the prime minister. She did have something in her hand. Not a weapon, but a sheet of paper. As the security goons set about bouncing her out of the hall, she tried to lift it up.
Her effort was in vain, however, as one security guy ripped the paper from her grasp, because, of course, words and ideas are dangerous.
Let’s put this into perspective. These protesters weren’t crashing a funeral, or racing dirt bikes through a hospital nursery. This was an election campaign rally.
You know, the kind of occasion where a candidate for the office of prime minister strives to set out a convincing argument for why he or she is the best person to lead the nation?
Nation, or course, meaning everyone in this country, regardless of political stripe or proclivity.
These three protesters clearly weren’t on the guest list.
Was anyone, really, other than partisans and security guards tasked with protecting Stephen Harper from sheets of paper?
You know, paper of the dangerous kind —with words written on it, and maybe an idea.
On another topic, clearly what’s really in need of security in Surrey is our bus shelters.
Vehicles crash into these, it seems, with uncommon regularity and often with devastating results. Last week there were two such crashes, one fatal.
Last Thursday evening, a Chevrolet Corvette mounted a sidewalk, hit a fire hydrant and then hit a bus stop shelter in the 9600-block of King George Boulevard, striking a man. The victim was rushed to hospital, in serious condition. One day earlier, on Wednesday morning, Evan Archibald, 22, of Surrey was killed while sitting on a bench at a bus shelter after a Jeep driven by a Surrey girl, 17, mounted the curb and hit him at Fraser Highway near 156th Street.
This city’s catalogue of carnage, when it comes to crashes involving bus stops, trespasses into the surreal.
Why, just on Sept. 23 a cement pumper truck driver was rushed to hospital with critical injuries after crashing into, among other things, an unoccupied bus stop on King George near Highway 10.
Consider this: On Nov. 22, 2014 a Honda van slammed into a bus stop on 96th Avenue near 140th Street. Two passengers were taken to hospital…On June 30, 2014 a Surrey woman, 34, was in critical condition in hospital after a pickup truck driven by a Surrey man, 49, crashed into her and another woman while they were waiting for a bus in Fleetwood. The victim sustained head injuries and both her legs were severed on impact. The younger woman, 22, sustained minor injuries…On Feb. 14, 2013 a woman’s hand was badly mangled after a car slid into a bus shelter in Sullivan. The woman, 26, was one of a few people waiting for a bus at 152nd Street and 72nd Avenue when a car driven by a man, 19, went out of control as the driver was trying to make a left turn…On July 26, 2012, a woman, 46, drove her Ford Taurus into a couple sitting on a bench at a bus stop at 88th Avenue and 146th Street. The man, 23, sustained a broken arm and broken jaw and the woman, also 23, was cut and bruised…On July 22, 2012 a South Surrey motorist who police said admitted to falling asleep at the wheel smashed his green Ford pickup truck into a bus shelter near 64th Avenue on King George Boulevard. Fortunately nobody was injured…On Jan. 11, 2011, a 70-year-old woman was flown to hospital by air ambulance after a woman in her 40s crashed through a bus shelter at 16th Avenue and Amble Greene Boulevard in South Surrey…On Sept. 9, 2009, the legs of Surrey grandfather Pritam Singh Benning, 83, were crushed when a Surrey man smashed his brother’s Corvette into a bus shelter at 72nd Avenue and 128th Street. Benning, who had been sitting at that bus shelter, later died in hospital…On July 15, 2008 a Surrey man, 28, was hit by a pickup truck while waiting at a bus stop in Guildford, at 108th Avenue and 148th Street…
Had enough? Maybe it’s time for the government to set up concrete traffic barriers, or something, around these bus shelters before more innocent people are mangled and/or killed.
Now this is where some real security is needed. In comparison, what happened at that Harper rally the other day is just B.S.
So let it be done.
Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org