Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kevin Vickers - the Mountie and the Head Shot

Kevin Vickers - R.C.M.P. career officer

Ambassador Kevin Michael Vickers is receiving visitors in Dublin.  This week it was the dubious duo from CTV - Craig Oliver and Lloyd Robertson - checking out the lush back pasture Mr. Vickers is grazing.   Vickers' wall is covered with plastic plaques, Maritime universities now invite him to give inspirational speeches, and many feckless Canadians even call him a "hero".   (He's the Mountie who performed the coup-de-grace on that well-riddled mental defective on Parliament Hill.)  You can check out the list of his honours and ribbon bars here, but I think Mr. Vickers is richly deserving of at least one more distinction - the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate.  This was a trophy first awarded to the U.S. Congress for failing to pass much needed Gun Control Legislation -   That golden moment, a clip from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in,  is on Youtube  - FICKLE FINGER OF FATE.

By now you may not even remember Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.  He was an angry Canadian drifter who used to "crash" at night in a mosque just a few blocks from my home. It was an anger fuelled by his twisted perception of an alleged Muslim cultural marginalization.  His story can be instructive, if told with calm and a pinch of honesty. But we don't get that much these days. Here is why I'm tossing in my two cents:

There were two men shot to death in Ottawa on October 22, 2014.  One death was a tragedy, and the other death a complete farce.  We were all outraged when an unarmed Canadian soldier was shot in the back at the National War Memorial.  But Canadians should have been apoplectic with outrage by the ensuing events.  Video surveillance, and bystander cell-video documented the breakneck dash by car to Parliament Hill, where the murderer...  a totally untrained man, penetrated the RCMP defensive perimeter - and then (armed with an antique saddle gun) burst past the House of Commons Security Detail... and came within killing distance of our National Leader.  

But there was no outrage at all - not on the Hill, nor anywhere across this "Fair Land". We were fed a shovel full of murky disinformation and then witnessed "Sergeant at Arms" Vickers (who was just one of six trained men who threw lead at Zehaf-Bibeau) - anointed a national "Hero" for doing the job he was very well paid to perform these past 30 years. More odious still, he was elevated to an ambassadorship!  This to provide a smokescreen for the fact that Parliament Hill Security was a slack-ass joke, and in fact so bad that the government had just quietly disbanded the whole outfit. And what about those bozos in the LPC and NDP... they who want to govern this country?  Did they demand an inquiry into how and why Parliament Hill has been successfully penetrated, again and again? No. 

There is a very lengthy and detailed wiki page on the shooting incident, if you have time to read it.

The Winchester Model 94  rifle (M1894),  was popularly known 
as a "saddle gun" because cowboys and ranchers carried it in 
a leather scabbard strapped to the saddle. 

Almost a year later, the RCMP have not discovered where the shooter acquired the antique rifle. (An "antique" is any artifact over 100 years old.)  The official report does not say how the fore-stock came to be shattered.  There were 56 spent 9mm cartridge casings collected from the scene, and we should trust that nobody pocketed any casings.  The target was hit 31 times, with 8 pistol slugs remaining lodged in his body.  These gory details may impress the casual reader, but the report neglects to offer us a tally of bullet strikes - on walls, pillars and the floor around and underneath the deceased. There is no doubt in my mind that such evidence was collected. But in whose interest is it to bury that evidence?

Constable Samearn Son - wounded by .30-30 round

There is no Wiki-page for Constable Samearn Son.  The Laotion-Canadian
had ten years of service on the Hill on the day that Mr.  Zehaf-Bibeau
burst through the entrance doors.  Son grabbed at the Winchester rifle and
alerted his colleagues: "Gun, gun, gun!"  He took a .30-30 bullet in the
foot.  I don't know if he was awarded a medal, but he did receive a round
of applause from M.P.s  in the Federal Parliament on December 14, 2014.

And what was the Mountie packing in Parliament?

"Speaker" Kevin Vickers pistol

Coup de Grace
At the time of the shooting inside the Center Block on Parliament, both sides were lacking crucial information.  Hill Security did not know that a serious shooting incident was underway at the National War Memorial, and the shooter himself was equally confused.  He was now INSIDE, but he didn't know the layout of the building.  All that was left to him was death.  It has always been alleged that  Chief Superintendent Vickers fired the fatal shot that finished off the intruder, but the official report makes no such claim.  What it does say, under "Fatal Wounds" : "The penetrating wound to the back of the neck that perforated the brain would have been immediately incapacitating and rapidly fatal." Media accounts make the claim that Vickers, using a stone pillar as a barrier, stretched around and fired two shots upward into his target.   Kevin Vickers collected all the rewards and public acclaim for making the kill shot.  The fatal shot was to the back of the head.   Two men were fatally shot in the back on that black day. One unlawfully, and the other quite lawfully.

Official Report - Investigation Into the Death of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

Mr. Vickers has now had plenty of time to sort out his thoughts.  I would like to see him make a definitive statement under oath, and stick to it.  The most ridiculous of his statements that I have read is an extract from a speech he gave in May of 2015, when his birthplace honoured him with a dinner.  "I was on one side of the wall and the gunman was on the other side of the wall  and I remember thinking, and this is the truth, about being with my friend from Eel Ground Hubert Barnaby, hiding on the bank of the river as the [game] warden was coming and his feet were so close to us we could almost reach out and touch them." ???   No,  I'm not naive. I know that Vickers' claim, "This is the truth" is a sure tip off that he was bullshitting.  The legal issue at stake here, is that Vickers has never been required to swear to what actually transpired.  The Wikipedia page reports that Vickers told members of the federal cabinet, "I put him down." 

Notice how quickly the Tories whisked him out of town?  Notice how fast they threw the Canadian public a hero-bone to chew on?  Arf Arf!  The irony of course is that many, many more Canadians will hate me for pricking their hero-balloon, than would ever turn on those who constantly manipulate their feelings and make a habit of deceiving them.  

Kevin Vickers = Poster Boy for the Salvation Army
This is nothing short of obnoxious: Kevin Vickers chosen Poster Boy
for the Salvation Army ?!  For shooting a man in the back of the head?
Vickers will speak at a "Leadership Breakfast" at the Saint John Trade
And Convention Center on Nov. 12, 2015. No mention that he was a career Mountie.
Michael Zihaf-Bibeau (though a criminal)  was exactly the
type of troubled misfit, (a drifter with probable mental deficits) who
was living in an Ottawa homeless shelter at the time he snapped. 
The very profile of indigents the Sally Ann has a history of helping.  
How confused was Zehaf-Bibeau's mind?
After spewing hate in a recorded video, he ended with "Thank you."
Vickers was not in ceremonial Sarge-At-Arms getup, when he joined 
in pursuit of the suspect,  with his service pistol drawn. 

PTSD -  Pass it Around
If we are to believe news report, virtually ever Canadian soldier who served in Afghanistan is suffering, or will eventually suffer, from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  If we add to their ranks the hundreds of mounties and municipal cops who volunteered as Afghan police trainers, (to goose their pension portfolios?), and who will also be claiming PTSD, then appreciative Canadian taxpayers are saddled with a billion dollar problem over the next 50-60 years.  Call it a  - Post-Taxation Stress Disorder.

Now we learn that a band of brothers have "Declared War" on the Harper Tories this election season - all in the name of getting "veterans" the treatment and compensation they deserve.  The subject of "Veteran's Rights" is just as frightening to the average Canadian politician as an honest chat about abortion, religion, worker productivity - or anything else that gets folks on their feet punching and screaming.  It's never a fair fight.  So just pay up Stevie. It's only money.

The alternative to letting men with mental health issues go untreated or ignored, is to risk having a trained man storm Parliament.  A man well-armed and experienced in battle tactics and simple countermeasures. And did I mention, ANGRY.   Don't say it can't happen, because it certainly will happen. If not in Ottawa, in one of the provincial legislatures, which are also equipped for live television broadcast.  I'm old enough to remember Corporal Lortie, the disturbed serviceman  from C.F.S. Carp, (Ottawa) who murdered three people when he stormed the Quebec Legislature back in 1984.  If there is another Lortie lurking out there, the boys-in-black-balaclavas will certainly be in for some traumatic stress. Our world gets nuttier by the minute.

Major Jalbert vs. Corporal Lortie -  May 8, 1984

Corporal Lortie - Quebec Legislature 1984

It is interesting to recall that earlier, and far more interesting assault on a Canadian legislative chamber, because heroism doesn't have to trigger a deceitful response from government.  Major Jalbert was a veteran of WW2 and Korea.  He was a modest man possessed of an iron nerve.  He could hear Cpl. Lortie ranting and firing indiscriminately inside the chamber of government, yet he stepped inside (unarmed) and faced the gunman.  Even as Lortie continued to fire rounds  3-4 feet in front of his chest, Jalbert stood his ground.  After four hours of reasoning and pleading with him, the deranged soldier surrendered.

Major Jalbert was a awarded a medal, and he had a street named after him.

Lortie fires his submachinegun in Quebec Legislature - May 8, 1984

Mr. Vickers was coasting toward retirement when fate chose to cast him for a National television broadcast.  Television networks cut into their scheduled broadcasts to give the Ottawa incident saturation coverage. It went on for the better part of the week, when the show was moved inside the House of Commons, so that Canadian M.P.s could share the spotlight.  A Big Show requires a kick-ass finish.  Hello Mr. Ambassador!


Because the "Official Opposition" was out to lunch.

UPDATE -  May 27, 2016

Kevin Vickers - ex RCMP "Hero"  performs in Dublin
This was the lead National story yesterday. Kevin Vickers at it again, this time in Dublin. I don't really mind our "Ambassador" to Ireland acting like a bar-room bouncer, but what I do mind is absent-minded news reporting and myth-making.  He didn't"take dow the terrorist".  He finished him off after he was already riddled by the Parliament Hill security detail.