Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bad Cop Good Cop

The cover story of the "westcoast" section of today's Sun reported on a family of 6 in North Van who had been victims of a robbery. The same front page included an update story on the man gunned down by police this past week, who as it turns out was bipolar and "going through a manic episode" when police shot him.

I continue reading a few pages in. Each story is continued on a separate page. On the right side is Story 1 ("Mother had a feeling 'something unsettled') which turns out to be a detailed account of the events on the night the family was robbed and once they realized that someone was in the house they called police just as the robber was driving away in their vehicle. The story then details the movements of the RCMP, municpal police and the coastguard all working together to comfort the family, catch the thief, thus displaying their ability to communicate efficiently and effectively to react to a situation promptly and professionally.

The left page has the rest of Story 2 ("Animator shot dead by police suffered bipolar disorder") which says that the man may have viewed the police as "part of the conspiracy" and also quotes someone who says that the police are trained to deal with "people with mental illness because they deal with them all the time." I understand this to mean that I'm being set up to be later told that this was purely an accident because after all the police deal with this type of thing "all the time" and therefore it could only be a grave misunderstanding that would cause the police to shoot. The rest of the story is really about the man killed and that he was no threat to anyone but himself.

While I'm completely saddened by the story of this man and the loss for the family, I can't help but wonder about these two stories coupled together. My inclination was to read the headlining story, but I wanted an update of the police shooting and read the left hand story when I opened the paper. By the time I get to the end of the "Mother had a feeling" report I am reassured that the police are an efficient force that deals with problems quickly and professionally. I can't help but think that there is no coincidence in the pairing of these two stories.

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