Irony is one of those literary devices, used for humour or for dramatic effect, when something truly unexpected occurs, or something contrary to what actually should happen, in a way that brings forth a wry smile, or perhaps, in the current case, a sigh…
In the recent federal budget (the Ontario version is expected out later today), the Conservatives have earmarked $10, 000, 000, yes, ten million dollars, for police to guard the guards at the War Memorial in Ottawa. I know I have written before on the Greek proverb quis custodiet ipsos custodes, ‘who will guard the guardians’…., but I never expected this. Here we have armed soldiers, presumably more trained in the art of warfare than our local constabulary, whose task is to quell unruly citizens, rather than bloodthirsty enemies at the gate, but our soldiers, with ceremonial dress and unloaded and uncocked rifles, stand by like impotent castrati, while the police look on with fully-automatic and fully-loaded weapons.
A sad metaphor of our time, but also an ominous one: A society is on its way to trouble when the police become paramilitarized and, in our case, more militarized than the military.
That says nothing of the cost of this boondoggle. I would estimate that is one dollar from every adult Canadian, probably more, given the ever-smaller percentage who actually pay tax, just to guard one memorial that we are already paying to be guarded (we may presume the cost of the soldiers is not included in this added bonanza to our insatiable ‘need’ for security).
There was a stabbing down the road in my town recently, where not much violent happens, apparently a domestic dispute. The details are sketchy, but one would have thought we were on the set of Red Dawn with a phalanx of Commies dropping in from the sky in platoons, the way the police showed up, what seemed to be dozens of them in armored vehicles and battle fatigues, from the photos in the local paper.
I keep wondering: Where do these guys hang out when the other 99% of the time nothing happens?
Oh, yeah, at the war memorial…
April 23, 2015
Saint George, Patron of England and purported slayer of dragons