The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memo to Winnipeg Police: Keep it up. You've got the scumbags squirming

After a lone gunman sprayed a North End wedding reception with bullets on July 25th, killing one woman and wounding a number of other guests, Winnipeg police began squeezing gang members for information.

The late July attack even roused Attorney General Dave "Six Months" Chomiak to drop the Manitoba NDP's ten year moratorium on disturbing aboriginal street gangs. He began babbling about adopting a new, new, new, new, NEW gang strategy aimed at the same gangs that have thrived on his government's watch.

It was all too much for six members of the Manitoba Warriors.

The police had been paying special attention to the Warriors, some of whom had been guests at the wedding, raising suspicion that they had been the targets of a rival gang. This small contingent couldn't take the heat, so they went running for help to the only people still dumb enough to fall for their con---university eggheads.

"So when these men approached us, saying that they wanted to convey their experiences of living in the North End, their thoughts on the recent events that have occurred there, and their insights into what it will take to make meaningful change, we took advantage of this opportunity."

"It was in this spirit that we met with six members of a North End street gang over two days in early August."

Sure enough, within a month, the eggheads, had whipped up a special report they titled "Violence and Street Gangs in the Inner City" (excerpted above) and submitted it to Chomiak to get him to call off the dogs.

Their message: gangs are not the problem, society is.

"Street gangs are the product of the poverty and systemic racism that have long been present in the North End," declared the authors--- Marxist professor Elizabeth Comack, Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Manitoba; flaming anti-capitalist Jim Silver, Professor of Politics at the University of Winnipeg; associate dean of the department of bleeding hearts at the U of M, Lawrence Deane; and every gang member's (almost) special pal, Larry Morrissette, the Director of OPK, a program to employ the unemployable.

Having bestowed the greatest accolade the Left can give, that of "Victim", on the violent gangs, the university eggheads then adopted the gang mentality and declared that the real enemy is---wait for it---the police.

But everything they see as wrong, we see as right:

" response to the perceived increase in levels of violence the Winnipeg Police Service has flooded the North End with officers and cruiser cars. (To which, we say Yay.)

As a consequence, the men said, the police have been “in their face,” as they are being regularly stopped and asked to account for themselves. (Double Yay.)

Sometimes this practice occurs when children are present, and it is so frequent that one man was stopped three times in one hour as he made his way around the North End. (Wow, a member of a violent street gang who has a long criminal record and brags he's not going to stop his life of crime is upset he's being stopped by police. Somebody call his momma.)

“It’s like the military in the North End now,” another said. “It’s all-out war on us.” (A great big Hooray.)

They likened the atmosphere now to what they understand to have been the case in big American cities, like Los Angeles, fifteen years ago. Police are swarming the North End. SWAT teams are present at funerals. “It’s like we’re under siege.” (Booyah)"

"The view of the street gang members is that flooding the North End with enlarged teams of police officers will not deter them from what they are doing. It will, rather, anger many residents of the North End who are not
involved with illegal or violent activities but who are targeted anyway because they “fit the description.”

"From previous studies done in Winnipeg’s inner city we know that most innercity residents do want a greater police presence in their neighbourhoods. But what they want is community policing where police are a positive presence and get to know the neighbourhoods and the children. Aboriginal people in particular do not want the aggressive style of policing involved in flooding the North End with cops and harassing people, because too often those harassed are guilty of nothing at all."

"The result of this intensified policing strategy, the street gang members told us, will be an angry response from the community and more disrespect for the police, which will generate yet more suppression and harassment, leading to a vicious spiral that is as likely to promote violence as to quell it"

To believe the university professors, people in gang-infested communities would sooner live with intimidation, murders, and drive-by shootings than have police patrol their streets trying to arrest the people responsible for the intimidation, murders and drive-by shootings.

Memo to university eggheads: Six loser gang members are not spokesmen for the North End or the Inner City. Nor do they speak for "aboriginal people". What planet do you live on?

These communities are filled with decent, law-abiding native and non-native people who welcome the police presence and want more of it. They may ask for community policing, but given second choice they'll take stepped up patrols and aggressive in-your-face harassment of gang members.

And if "aboriginal people in particular" don't like it, all they have to do is stop defending street gangs, stop making excuses for them, and join the fight against them.

Drive the gangs out of the community, and the police will stop looking for criminal suspects in that community. D-uh.

But that's too obvious for the eggheads. They would rather peddle the gang mythology. You can see why.

They write of their gang contacts with obvious admiration. And the gang gurus play their role for all its worth.

"... they talk about their work in much the same way as more conventional businessmen do, saying that it’s a “dog eat dog,” rough and competitive business that’s “all about money.” It is also a business in which “You can’t let anyone take advantage of you. You can’t be seen to be weak.” This situation is not new; it has been the case for at least the past 20 years. “If something is done to us, or to one of our gang, we have to retaliate. Otherwise, “they make us all look weak … and that comes down to money… If we look weak we can’t make money.... That’s what it’s 100 percent all about.”

Another said:
“We just do what we gotta do.” The struggle over illegal drug money have been very successful in mainstream life had his early life been different. All of them could have had different lives. “We’re not dumb guys. We figured out how to f’ing take over neighbourhoods, worked our way through prison, make mass money selling drugs.” It is very easy to imagine him as a successful high profile businessman."

But then, you see, these are big bad gang members with hearts of gold.

"What emerged most strongly during our meeting was that these men do not want youngsters in the North End-“the next me”-to go through what they have gone through."

They realize (cue the violins) its too late for them, but they want to prevent young children from following in their footsteps. If only these kiddies had good homes, playgrounds, and a future, they wouldn't join gangs. (pass the hankies.) The government should stop wasting money on attacking gangs, and spend it on ending poverty. (Why, why hasn't anyone thought of that before?)

It will take years. It will take millions. But, declared the professors, "If You Want to Change Violence in the‘Hood, You Have to Change the ‘Hood." Word. And Peace Out, nigga.

But the baby gangsters have nowhere to turn except thug life. They can't get normal jobs. They swear too much. They're covered in tattoos. They hate working regular hours.

Since they're not going to change, says the egghead report, society must change. The deviant life of gang members must become the new normal.

The model, they said, would be co-author Larry Morrissette's OPK program, which hires gang members and would-be gang members to renovate houses. It pays more than minimum wage and diverts the participants from a gang lifestyle by giving them pride of accomplishment. They don't have to quit the gang, and unless they commit "serious" crimes, they're still welcome.

With a budget of $450,000, the project currently has 9.5 employees. And with only $1 million more, it could hire the 30 other young Aboriginal men in waiting, most with street gang affiliations, who would like to join. Of course, since they can't get a real job anywhere else, they would have to be on the public dole forever, but that's the price society must pay.

(What those Marxist academics failed to do is a little arithmatic. OPK pays more than the minimum wage, meaning that each employee makes, say, a dollar more than the minimum wage, which would mean about $20,000 a year. At 9.5 employees, that's less than $200,000 annually in wages. So where does the other quarter of a million dollars go? Rent? Or executive salaries? And how much of that extra million would go to those executives, who would have more employees to supervise? )

The academics were, by this time, bursting with fresh? ideas. Why, they asked, shouldn't we hire gang members to work as “spokespersons for something different.”

Translation: pay gang members to tell kids to stay out of gangs. Their gang gurus said this would be a perfect job for them.

How original. This has only been happening for the past 15 years. How's it working, by the way?

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic. Remember, these academics are teaching your children. They're infesting another generation of youth with their hug-a-thug mentality.

'Learning from the Wisdom of Street Gangsters' is the heading they give to their conclusion.

"If we want to change the violence in the ‘hood, we would do well to heed the wise advice of these hard-headed men who know the ‘hood all too well."

"These street gang members, all of whom have served time in federal and provincial penal institutions, brought wisdom to this important issue that has been largely missing in the public debate about inner-city violence."

In a city where poor communities fight daily against the ravages of gangs, these ivory tower university eggheads have the audacity to glorify six members of a violent street gang. Instead of recognizing how they're being manipulated to keep the police from breaking up the gangs, these academics damn the police and praise the thugs. To add insult, they bask in the "wisdom" of the drug dealing criminals.

Not even the personal experience of their co-author deters them.

Almost two years ago, Larry Morrissette was interviewed in the National Post ('Real warriors hold jobs', Jan 20, 2008, Kevin Libin, National Post):

" But for every troubled young aboriginal he helps ... new gang members are minted every day. In many communities, it is no longer even an option.
"If you're native, it's almost like it's a given that you have to be part of some organization," Mr. Morrissette says. He packed up his family and moved to another part of town after his own son was knifed after refusing to join one of the gangs."

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