December 17, 2012

RANT: Can't help you, it's not my beat.

Sensitivities are running high following Friday's shooting spree at a Connecticut elementary school. Perhaps that's why a friend and I were literally stopped in our tracks by the sound of gunshots yesterday, while walking along Montreal's shoreline, not far from the downtown core. CRACK! POP! Yes, they really do sound like firecrackers.

Out in the water, not 200 meters from shore, we could see two figures beside a small rowboat, and the dark silhouette of a large rifle in the hands of one. A gaggle of geese flying overhead squawked and scattered. It was close enough to make us jittery and - hey! This is a bird refuge, and not hunting season. What were those cranks doing out there? It occurred to me immediately that we could be at risk, and that my shiny new red jacket made me a perfect target. Other walkers were also alarmed; a jogger bounced over to us and asked us if we had a cellphone at the same moment my friend was pulling hers out - and another gal nearby was already calling 911. A few moments later, a police cruiser pulled up, lights flashing, and I walked over to meet them and explain the situation.

I was greeted by two young women who I could more easily imagine giggling over teen magazines than putting cuffs on criminals. I don't mean to be ageist or sexist, but in this case, I can't help it. Arrest me. 

Flickr photo of policewomen in Brazil. 
The rifle rats, alerted by the activity, were no longer visible from the shore. We showed the policewomen the location by pointing to the boat and a lean-to beside it. One gal looked at me, a blank expression on her freckled face. "It's not our jurisdiction," she said. "We don't have authority over the waterways." She seemed puzzled that we had called. In any case, there was nothing they could do. The shots had stopped, the perpetrators were inaccessible and invisible. "At least you know," I said, "in case something does happen."

She nodded, got back in the patrol car, and we all got on with the day. The jogger thanked us and ran on, the other dog-walker put her cell phone away, and my friend and I decided to finish our walk farther from the water.

I walked away with three thoughts:
1. Large men have more perceived authority than small women.
2. Law enforcement doesn't necessarily mean protection.
3. Nobody's watching out for these geese except their killers.


  1. Lorrie, I'm no conspiracy theorist but don't you find it strange that the jogger just "happened" to be there at that very instant, when there were miles of open real estate for as far as the eye could see? Was this just a coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences. And why did the jogger ask for your friend's cell phone? EVERYONE has a cell phone these days.
    I'm not disputing the accuracy of your account of events, but he/she didn't even make a formal introduction?
    And how many shots did you hear, and can you positively and without reservation say which direction they came from?
    I bet there must have been a grassy knoll, somewhere nearby.

    See where I'm going with this?
    If I didn't know you, I'd poach your material right now.
    The Duck Files, I'd call it - my take on the global conspiracy against something or other that is still left over in this world of ours.

  2. George, I can always count on you to put things in perspective. If I accept the premise that everyone is up to no good, then I can stop trying to categorize everyone, right?


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