The next time you find yourself face-to-face in a duel against a RCMP officer (that’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or simply “a Mountie”), please choose carefully the weapon you wield. A handgun might be the obvious choice, but of course those are outlawed in Canada. A sword and shield might offer the next best offense/defense combination, but where can one find a decent blade these days?
No, indeed…the ideal option is simple: A stapler, cocked and loaded.
“Nom nom nom! All must submit to the enormous strength of my ferocious jaw!” Image from here.
At least, that’s the tool brandished by a 40 year-old Polish immigrant to Canada, back in October of 2007. All Robert Dziekanski was trying to do was move to Vancouver (bad idea, if you ask me), when he was detained by airport officials for 10 hours on account of paperwork discrepancies. At least, that’s all we think he was trying to do—he only spoke Polish, and none of the officials thought to scrounge up an interpreter during the 10 hours Mr. Dziekanski wandered the customs area of the airport. (I’m thinking Tom Hanks in Terminal, only without the comic romance…anyone?)
Police reports indicated that Mr. Dzienkanski grew increasingly agitated and irrational during the final few hours of his confinement in the airport. No kidding—anyone ever been stuck in airport before? I, myself, become irritable and irrational during a 30 minute layover. To say that he was agitated is probably a gross understatement, after spending 10 hours in a glorified holding cell with customs officers as his only company. Customs officers are grouchy on a good day, never mind when they are expected to deal with we lesser human beings known as “non-citizens.” Mr. Dzienanski’s shaky grasp of English was likely fuel to the fire for the customs officers, whose job descriptions don’t include “tolerate such blatant disrespect as not speaking English.”
“You’re in our country, you should speak our language;” if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times.
Certainly the Polish immigrant deserved what he got—that is, death by taser [five jolts, to be exact]—after he started getting violent…with a stapler. Is it just me, or is that the ultimate sign of despiration? When I’ve turned to a stapler as my only form of self defense, you’ll know my straits are dire indeed. (Where he procured a stapler is anyone’s guess; heaven knows it wouldn’t get through a luggage scan.) At any rate, he became violent with a stapler. Naturally, the officers saw fit to employ their electro-magnetic-stun-guns-of-supremacy, because, you know, their lives were in peril.
Gee, last I checked, the firing range of a stapler was, like…six inches. Maybe a better response would have been…oh, I dunno…to back up a step (or three)?
The man died (or, if you’re the RCMP officer who tasered the Polish immigrant to death, the correct term is “expired”). As Mr. Dzienznski struggled to breathe his expiring breaths, the police officers went ahead and handcuffed him. Just for good measure.
Wouldn’t want him getting hold of that stapler again.
***Post face*** Forlorn though it may be, the real tragedy of the tale is that, according to this article by CBC, the man was officially granted landed immigrant status one hour before he died—he must not have understood that he was free to leave. I’ve been waiting to be granted residency for nearly two years now, and it would be a real pity if I died one hour after opening the letter informing me I was finally legal.