Pubdate: Wed, 09 Mar 2005
Source: Esquimalt News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Esquimalt News
Bookmark: (Rochfort Bridge)


A crazed man opens fire on Mounties on his rural property in northern 
Alberta, killing four police officers before turning the gun on himself, 
and all of a sudden Canada needs to get tougher on marijuana grow operations?

Make no mistake: The tragedy in Alberta is about a mentally unstable man 
with a known hatred of police, armed with a high-powered weapon and a 
thirst for destruction.

It is not about marijuana grow operations. It probably doesn't matter if 
there were marijuana plants growing on his property, or tulips and roses. 
It just happens that, in this instance, it is the illegality of marijuana 
that sent Mounties to the property in the first place. In this instance, 
the law deeming marijuana as contraband prompted police to investigate and 
enforce - and led to their deaths.

Based on what has emerged, James Roszko would likely have shot and killed a 
police officer for walking onto his property to enforce a speeding ticket fine.

Roszko was a 46-year-old recluse who hated almost everyone. His own father 
called him a "wicked devil."

In 1999, he was charged with shooting at two people who entered his 
property. In 1993, he was charged with assault and pointing a firearm, 
among other charges, following a confrontation with a school trustee. 
Roszko had a reputation in the community as a dangerous individual.

And he was scheduled to appear in court next month to face charges in 
connection with damage to vehicles from a spike belt he liked to lay across 
his driveway to discourage visitors.

Those four police officers died because Roszko decided to kill them. They 
did not die because of marijuana grow operations, which makes the ensuing 
rush to call for a major crackdown on grow operations - from Abbotsford 
Police Det. Don Mckenzie as president of the B.C. Federation of Police 
Officers, to Solicitor General Rich Coleman, to RCMP Commissioner RCMP 
commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli - all the more ridiculous.

Stiffer penalties for growing marijuana would not have prevented the deaths.

Repercussions are an afterthought to a man troubled enough to murder four 
other men before killing himself.

The more salient question that needs answering - yet was buried under the 
blitz to blame the deaths on marijuana grow-ops - is this: why did a man 
previously charged with weapons offences have a rapid-fire assault-style 
rifle in his possession?

- - Abbotsford News
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