Pubdate: Wed, 16 Mar 2005
Source: Lakeside Leader, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 The Lakeside Leader
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Not much can be said about the RCMP officers killed near Mayerthorpe on 
Mar. 3 that hasn't already been said, or written. But the tragic deaths of 
four fine young peace officers have implications that warrant a few more words.

One thing became clear in the days following the shootings: it was not cut 
and dried evidence that the home-grown drug industry is getting out of 
control. Such comments were aired in the immediate aftermath, and they 
turned out to be dead wrong.

There was no evidence of organized crime. No outsiders moving into a sleepy 
community with guns and a willingness to use them to protect their criminal 
enterprise. Not at all.

This was a local guy, born and raised. Somebody that everybody knew.

The fact that James Roszko, the killer, was growing marijuana plants in his 
shop was not of central importance. Neither was the fact that he apparently 
was using the building to store parts from stolen vehicles.

No, what really counts in this story is Rosko's unbalanced state of mind, 
his hatred of anyone in uniform. People who knew him say they aren't 
surprised. It was only a matter of time. Anybody still trying to make it 
into a drug issue is just blowing smoke.

What a tragedy that it had to end as it did. We'll leave it up to the 
experts to decide if it really was inevitable that James Roszko would take 
somebody with him when he went down.

In the aftermath, there are issues to consider. For example, how will the 
RCMP cope?

On the whole, the RCMP members who serve in our town and rural detachments 
across the province are a friendly, tolerant, patient bunch. They so little 
resemble the hardened, cynical shoot-first-and-ask questions later cops one 
sees on television and in the news that it seems they must almost be in 
another profession.

Most RCMP members are highly decent folks who are used to giving the people 
they deal with the benefit of the doubt. That leads to good community 
relations. They treat us well and we trust them. We feel more or less on 
the same side. That good will goes a long, long way to making our 
communities decent places to live.

In a lot of crime-ridden urban situations, it isn't like that at all. 
There's often a large degree of antagonism between the cops and the people. 
Much less trust.

Constant bad experiences lead the cops to be more edgy, less tolerant and 
less lenient, certainly less friendly. Some behave poorly under those 
circumstances and the situation gets worse. Good will goes on permanent 

It can happen. It has happened. It can happen here too if we let it.

It would be perfectly understandable if RCMP members came out of this 
latest outrage with their hands a little closer to their service revolvers, 
determined not to take any crap from anybody. It would also be a terrible 
shame if one crazed, sick murderous -- and now very dead -- ba ard succeeds 
in damaging the good relations between the RCMP and the people of Alberta.

That's a slippery slope we don't want to get on at all. It will take effort 
on both sides to stay off it as it always has.
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MAP posted-by: Beth