image courtesy of Blade Diary
Last weekend, Toronto had the misfortune of hosting the G20 summit. The exact number of dollars spent on security alone ranges from 600 million to 1 billion plus. I'm not sure why there is such a range. When I use money to purchase something I always get a receipt that tells me how much I paid. Right down to the penny.
The Toronto police held a press conference to showcase the arsenal of threatening weapons confiscated. A few days later it was reported that many of these items had no connection whatsoever to the G20. This includes one of the most menacing items displayed: a crossbow and several arrows. The police claimed the arrowheads had been modified to be soaked in gasoline and start fires. Indeed they had been modified and for far more fantastical purposes. The tips had been cut off, replaced with a segment of pool noodle and wrapped in socks. Any apprentice Archer will know this gives a +2 damage in live action role playing games which is exactly what they were intended for. A good number of the items confiscated are not even considered weapons. Obviously, the police being true ninjas from the same discipline as Chuck Norris, recognize that everything is a weapon.
A secret law/temporary measure was passed for the duration of the summit. It applied to anyone within 5 meters of the gigantic security fence erected around the core of the downtown. If you were asked for identification, for any reason, and failed to pony up, for any reason, you were arrested, taken to a film stage building and kept in a cage. The conditions, widely debated, are almost certainly below what you would find in a regular prison. Days later Bill Blair, Toronto Chief of Police admits that he 'made up the law' to serve his own purposes. Information about this is still unfolding. Why are people arguing about detainment center conditions when innocent people are being illegally arrested and held against their will in cages?
So without mention of tactical Black Bloc hoodlums smashing corporate storefronts (just more of the pot calling the kettle black?), protesters not complying with police orders that were or were not issued, police cruisers intentionally or unintentionally abandoned and set ablaze for the sake of spectacle, we have still created a profoundly disturbing unfolding of events.
I'm a skeptical bastard. I can't help it. There is a lot of conflicting information surrounding these events. When it comes to conflicting information surrounding the authorities and rulers of our country (a.k.a. the people with all the power and all the guns, tanks, sound canons, etc) I think we are best to to be overly skeptical. Overuse of dissent must be better than overuse of force. Power has very bizarre effects on people. Even Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (pretty much the most radical Wizard to ever be fictionalized) wouldn't touch the Ring of Power when Frodo offered it to him.
Its easy to forget that we have things like the weekend, holidays and even my ability to post something like this on the internet because people kicked and screamed and bitched and fought (some even died) for them.
Canadians will be all to familiar with the new HST tax that has just come into effect. When the government attempted to impose this tax on our native communities they refused. Many of our major road/rail transportation systems run through the reserves we have set aside for our native population. (The slow cultural genocide of Canada's native community is a whole other shameful debacle brought to you by the same institution). With a threat to shut down this shipping network the government were forced to withdraw their tax on the native population. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had a voice as loud as that? Many people protest this new tax - especially given the nature of the economic crisis - nevertheless, the bill passes and we continue to pay into these institutions that don't serve us. It is the same with the G20. The people protest. The government builds a fake lake. No voice. No meaningful forum for debate.
If you're feeling at all ambitious, do some independent research into the cause of the global economic crisis, the emerging energy crisis, the state of the environment and the nature of government. You can reach your own conclusions but I'm certain they will be very different than what you presume. Where does all that money everyone wants so bad even come from?