Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Canada, a cat can look at a king

Mark Steyn has written quite a bit about the Imperial Presidency, and especially the Pretorian Guard-style security that's growing like a crust of armour plating over the current occupant.

 His last essay on the subject was on August 14. Two days later, we had a little bit of security theatre here in Ottawa: it was reported that someone had broken into the home of Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, while he was away on a trip, and his wife and children were asleep in the house. Nothing was taken, but a note was left behind on a pile of knives, advising the family to lock their doors in the future.

Today we got the rest of the story. It turns out the intruder was a drunken 19-year old, who was trying to find the house of a friend who lived nearby. He didn't know whose house he was in, but when he realized he'd made a mistake, he decided to write a note of apology to the householders before leaving!

The Trudeaus left the decision of whether or not any further action should be taken up to the police, and they decided that no charges would be laid against the young man.

Although there's a certain amount of the tiresome Trudeaumania hype about this story, I thought to myself that it reflects nicely on the rather homely small-town quality of political life in Canada.

Can you imagine if the same thing had happened in Washington, DC? I'm not sure who would be the equivalent of Justin Trudeau, but maybe Hilary Clinton would do; she's sort of a "leader in waiting".

First of all, the mere idea that some boozy teenager could featherstitch his way to the back door and just walk in in the middle of the night is absurd. Of course there would be security present, who would stop him long before he got inside, very possibly killing him in the process.

And if by some miracle the drunk DID get in and then depart unmolested, the discovery of the security breach would result in armoured cars on the streets several blocks around Clinton's home, intimidating every resident or passerby.

Finally, if the culprit did as this guy did, and turned himself in after recognizing himself on video taken at the time, I'm not too sure the police wouldn't just shoot him in the interview room, to make up for not doing it at the time of the break-in. At any rate, he would swiftly find himself in the hands of the FBI and the Secret Service, and there would be no nonsense about "no further charges" or penalty other than writing a letter of apology. No, it would all be grim-faced men with guns and scowling judges, and he'd be looking at spending the next 10 years of his life in jail.

Because that's the message: "OF COURSE trespassing on the King's land is worth 10 years of your life! It's worth more, in fact; it's worth killing you for, and don't you forget it. Ever." A woman who got lost near the White House and panicked was executed in front of her baby, and the Great and the Good in Congress gave her killers a standing ovation. No action is too extreme to "send a message" about who counts and who doesn't.

So I'm glad in Canada a harmless numbskull can get loaded, blunder into a politician's house and not end up paying for it with his life.