Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Intimations Ignored

A stitch in time does, truly save nine. When something is seen to be awry, it is best to identify its cause and take steps to remedy it before it gets out of hand and becomes even more difficult to restore to balance. And nowhere is that lesson more obvious than when dealing with human nature; in observing the very obvious indicators that a human being has lost the balance of reason, attempts should be made as soon as possible to ensure that remedial treatment is advanced.

The work-suspended RCMP constable who now stands accused of the murder of an Ottawa police officer demonstrated amply and on a continual basis that he had succumbed to psycho-social imbalance. His hostile attitude, his physical aggression, his deliberate abdication of personal responsibility, his outright defiance of professional authority, were all blatant and obvious indicators of mental instability and social distancing through unlawful and disturbing acts.

In November 2009 a disciplinary hearing was held with respect to RCMP Const. Kevin Gregson's violations of the conditions of his earlier suspension from the Force, under the RCMP Code of Conduct. This man was informed that he was expected to resign from the national police force within two weeks, or he would be fined. For years he had been suspended from active duty, on full pay.

All the warning signs were there that this man - professionally trained in all aspects of policing and public security - had descended into a mental state of troubling disequilibrium. His verbal and physical violence was alarming to those who knew him professionally, and even more frightening to the members of the public whom he threatened and abused. Yet nothing useful was done to apprehend his growing psychopathy.

On the other hand the RCMP, recognizing the man's fragile state of self-discipline and fearing that he might possibly grossly overstep the boundaries of explicable behaviour, had issued a condition to him that he was disallowed from contact with members of the RCMP, and not permitted to visit the home of any RCMP employee. When he ventured upon the doorstep of RCMP Commissioner William Elliott that should have represented the final urgency to act to apprehend further problems.

Instead, nothing was done to halt his further mental disintegration. And it became obvious after the fact that 43-year-old Kevin Gregson was determined to extract revenge for some imagined insult or assault against his integrity or honour or professional conduct, by his policing agency. And, it would appear in retrospect, any representative of any policing agency would be acceptable as a target of his anger.

This rogue police officer went to great lengths to attract the attention of police, hoping for a confrontation. Theft of a motor vehicle, and then presenting the vehicle as possible bait drew no official attention. Finally, he decided to manoeuvre himself into a confrontation of his own devising and that resulted in the sudden stabbing death of a Ottawa police constable, Eric Czapnik.

This is a sad and miserable conclusion to a puzzlingly inadequate response to an obvious public threat. Lessons learned? Will time tell?

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