died in airports in North America in the past
thirty or so days. One was a woman in
the USA who was
extremely upset because she missed her flight.
Another was a Polish immigrant to Canada who felt lost, confused and afraid
in Vancouver, Canada. Both died at the hands of
police who were called by airport security. I
would say, in fact, they were both killed,
directly or indirectly by the police.
In the first case I saw a news video
of a reporter asking the police chief in the
local police office in the US if he thought the
police action was appropriate. The police chief,
or spokesperson, responded, (not surprisingly)
Then I read an article
which reported that an authority in the Vancouver
airport said he believed the airport staff acted
"appropriately". Yet two people are
dead now. Two people I believe died needlessly.
(And who really "needs" to be killed?
And who makes these decisions about when someone
else needs to die?)
On the topic of who needs
to die, some will say George Bush needs to die.
Some will say Osama bin Laden needs to die. How
do we know if either of them really need to die?
Who do we believe? Who do we listen to? And do we
have a choice? Perhaps more importantly, do
impressionable children and teenagers have a
choice in who they listen to? Or what they are
told? Or who their teachers are? Or their
parents? And would the world be a safer place if
they had more choice or less choice?
I have been thinking of a
question I would like to see sent to all the
journalism schools in the entire world. I would
like all journalists to ask this question when
someone dies at the hands of the police. I would
like them to ask if the police action was
appropriate for the victim who died.
In the case of the mother
from the United States, whose name I can not even
remember now, (which is an indication of how many
other distressing things have happened since
then, not allowing me to focus satisfactorily on
her case), I would like to see a reporter ask the
follow up question when the police captian says
"Absolutely". I would like to see the
reporter say "Was it appropriate for Mrs. So
And I would someone to ask
the Vancouver airport spokesperson if they
believe the actions were "appropriate"
for Mr. Dziekanski. Then I would like to ask
them, or perhaps just before that, I would like
to see them be asked "How do you define
If all of us are going to
use words like "appropriate", wouldn`t
it be helpful to know just what we mean by them?
I spoke to a teenager from
Europe a while back. We were talking about
America, freedom and hypocrisy. He said
"Yes, American is the land of the free, but
it is freedom on their terms."
This reminds me of the
definition of the Golden Rule.
"Them that has the the
gold, makes the rules."
So we can also say
"Them that has the power, defines the
If this is going to be the
case, wouldn't it be at least helpful for the
rest of us to at least know exactly how they
define the terms?
This is a problem I have
with the Mayer Sal