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JONESIE: The ignorance and arrogance of our friendly neighbourhood vigilantes

October 06, 2016 - 12:00 PM



Here’s an idea: Next time you see firefighters on scene of a fire, go on over and ask the Platoon Captain if you can don some gear and give it a go.

No? It might be dangerous and chances are you’d just be in the way and cause more problems?

How about the next time you have to go to the ER and you see nurses running around, just jump in there and give a hand with patients.

No? You don’t know what you are doing? Someone could die?

Pretty silly examples, I suppose. See, you can’t just walk in off the street and expect to take on highly technical and well-trained positions that dedicated professionals spend years learning.

So why would you think policing is any different? In the past few weeks, we have shone a light on two different vigilante groups struggling for credibility.

I’ll make this simple, Creep Catchers and Soldiers of Odin — you’ve got none.

You know why we don’t have nearly the number of police shootings in Canada as they do in the U.S.? Because our officers, primarily RCMP, are some of the best trained anywhere. They spend six months of intensive training in Regina earning technical proficiency in a number of areas including laws, driving, firearms training, use of force among many other disciplines. Once they are out, they are under constant supervision and training with experienced officers and continue that training their entire careers.

They know what they’re doing. And they’re accountable for their actions because of that.

I know it’s frustrating when they don’t meet the expectations of 35 million individual perspectives in the country. They know they have tough jobs. They knew when they signed up. And they expect and know they should be and will be criticized when they mess it up and sometimes even when they don’t mess up.

Don’t for a second think some anonymous dudes with cameras or biker jackets are going to do a better job. Like the firefighters and the nurses, all you do is get in the way, put others in danger, and will eventually need to be bailed out.

I could attempt to dissect this movement in a hundred different ways, but I have a hunch this part of something larger, a growing backlash of the ignorant and the impatient against the arrogance of the dedicated and entrenched. It’s what makes Donald Trump and his supporters think he’s qualified to be president of the United States. It’s what makes pipeline protesters think they know best about national energy policy just because that pipeline might go through their area. It’s what empowers 90 per cent of social media commenters to criticize with ultimate conviction about things they know absolutely nothing about.

They really don’t.

Not compared to the men and women who devote their lives to their trades, their crafts, their professions. These are people who signed up long before The Thing That Made You Mad Today and dedicated their professional lives to working together to better our society in some way.

I understand the need to help and the frustration. But you aren’t going to make those changes by upsetting our society’s systems and institutions that, despite their failures and foibles, have constantly improved over hundreds of years thanks to the men and women working in those systems.

You want to help fight crime? Work with the RCMP to start a Block Watch in your neighbourhood. Join Citizens on Patrol. Train to be an Auxiliary Constable. Volunteer. The RCMP’s also hiring in bunches. Go give it a shot. You’ll even get your patches with a highly credible team.

And if that doesn’t work, you should read a pamphlet or two on law. Because chances are, if you try to take this on yourself, you’re going to find yourself before a judge.

Wait until you see how they treat vigilantes.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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