Support David Chen

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E.Tamaran
Support David Chen

He's the guy in Toronto who detained a shoplifter. The pigs then arrested Mr Chen, and he was charged with forcible confinement. Two other charges were later dropped (kidnapping and carrying a concealed weapon).

His trial is happening this week. All politicians are supporting him. You should too.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Well, you're right about the politicians supporting him--Joe Volpe, Jason Kenney and, um Olivia Chow. But this guy, with two brothers, chased down, assualted, tied up and forcibly confined someone who stole a few plants from his store. I don't want to live in any country where that's okay. Sorry, Mr. Chen. No support here.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

None here either.  Hire an employee.

Maysie Maysie's picture

First, what Mr. Chen did was not okay.

The link is decidedly unclear as to what Olivia Chow's proposed legislation is. Since this is the National Post, I suggest we not assume that she supports Mr. Chen.

The article linked in the OP uses many old, tired, boring racist and Orientalist tropes even as it sides with Mr Chen as a small-business owner. "Big Anger in Little China"?? Are you fucking kidding? His Chinese-ness in this case, matters less than the "law and order" agenda that the Post constantly chirps about.

RevolutionPlease, hiring an employee isn't necessarily the solution. Most small-business owners can't afford to hire anyone outside of family members.

What I see here is that small-business owners have to deal with theft on a regular basis. Those who steal are looking for either food, or quick items to sell. What we aren't questioning is having different marginalized groups pitted against each other, and how media vultures like the National Post swoop in and pick at what parts of the story suit their ideology. The "bleeding heart liberal" description of Mr.Chen's busy and hard-working life fits that to a T. In any other context they would be questioning his citizenship and wondering if he has the right to live and work in Canada, and if he and his family are taking jobs away from "real Canadians".

 

Snert Snert's picture

From Hansard:

Quote:

Olivia Chow Trinity-Spadina, ON moved for leave to introduce Bill C-565, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without warrant by owner).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present this bill to amend the Criminal Code so small business owners can protect themselves.

David Chen, the owner of Lucky Moose grocery store who caught the thief who had repeatedly stolen from his store, was charged with forcible confinement, assault and kidnapping because he caught the criminal an hour later outside the store and held him until the police arrived.

Many store owners experience the same frustration as the Lucky Moose owner, Mr. Chen. Just in my riding I have nine concrete examples.

My amendment to the Criminal Code would allow owners to arrest criminals without warrant so they can be turned over to the police.

In support of David Chen, I am calling this bill, the Lucky Moose bill. I also want to thank Chi Kun Shi who is here today, and the 10,000 good citizens who signed the petition in support of this change.

My mother shops at Lucky Moose every day and said that it was about time Parliament protected these small business owners. I call on all parties to support this bill so it can become law.

 

Hear hear.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

While I take Maysie's point at the Post's alterior agenda wrt this story, I don't quite understand Chow's bill. If our goal is to "protect small business owners," why is the solution to widen arrest powers for citizens? How about improved community policing? What about paying our cops to walk their beats as much as we pay them to try out cool new killing and maiming techniques and beating up protestors?

I don't like the sound of Chow's vigilante justice model, even if her mum does shop at the Lucky Moose.

Snert Snert's picture

But if Olivia were to propose more policing then a whole lot of NDP supporters who tore up their membership cards in protest of [whatever] would have to tape them back together again so they could threaten to rip them up in protest of that.

That said, I'm sure Mr. Chen would be more than delighted if the police were to take on the task of policing in his neighbourhood.

And maybe some day the law could follow suit with some actual deterrents.  The thief at the heart of this is on his 28th conviction; evidently getting caught and convicted isn't really terribly effective at convincing him not to steal.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's true, my only regret is that I have but one card to lose for my party.

But seriously, just because I'm against "more policing" or whatever, does not mean I should then support vigilante justice. And better community policing does not mean "more policing," incidentally. It simply means a redistribution of resources and a reprioritization of goals. As for convictions, that certainly is outside of Mr. Chen's purview--and it's a bit chilling to see the NP's logic that since the perp doesn't receive sufficient punishment (only a month in jail for 60$ worth of plants), that somehow validates vigilanteism.

Does anyone know what the current law says of citizen's arrest? There was a lot made in the articles that since the thief wasn't caught in the act, Mr. Chen's arrest was invalid; but how much force is allowed in a citizen's arrest? I'm assumng it's none, but I could be wrong.

And finally, of course at the heart of all this is why it is such a struggle for an independent grocer to sell food to his community, why this thief is compelled to steal 30 times in a row, even after getting caught becomes a certainty, and how the MSM manages to play these two groups against each other rather than question the overarching economic and social system which not only encourages it, but makes an episode like this inevitable.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Mod hat not on.

I shop at the Lucky Moose as well. 

Snert, your using this news story to score cheap points off various former and current NDPers is pretty tacky. And the law, its enforcement, fines and criminalization, has never been a deterrent against petty theft done due to any number of factors including poverty, homelessness and substance abuse issues. There's an interconnected system here, and looking only at one part of it, which I can sympathize with, given that small-business owners are not corporate exploiters of labour (except their own), gives us only the view of the slightly more privileged position.

I'm very disappointed in Olivia Chow. Giving more powers to small- (or any-size) business owners to arrest thieves isn't the solution.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
There was a lot made in the articles that since the thief wasn't caught in the act, Mr. Chen's arrest was invalid; but how much force is allowed in a citizen's arrest? I'm assumng it's none, but I could be wrong.

 

That would pretty much make a citizen's arrest a voluntary thing. Otherwise, just walk away.

 

Quote:
and how the MSM manages to play these two groups against each other rather than question the overarching economic and social system which not only encourages it, but makes an episode like this inevitable.

 

To be fair, I think these two groups become adversaries as soon as Group A decides to steal from Group B. I doubt that Mr. Chen sees himself and Mr. Bennett as natural allies in the fight against the "real problem". To Mr. Chen, Bennett *is* the real problem. Not "capitalism", not "society", but the guy who keeps sneaking in and robbing him.

 

I've been robbed a number of times, and to be honest, I also don't feel like the person who robbed me is anything other than my enemy. I'm sure they had their reasons/excuses, but none of them had anything to do with me. I was just the poor sucker whose property was insufficiently protected.

 

Quote:
Snert, your using this news story to score cheap points off various former and current NDPers is pretty tacky.

 

I'll try to refrain, but you've gotta admit, eventually it starts to ring a little hollow.

 

Quote:
Giving more powers to small- (or any-size) business owners to arrest thieves isn't the solution.

 

Excluding broad, utopian solutions, what might help? I think that community policing would actually be a good idea. I also wonder why the same video evidence used by Mr. Chen couldn't have been used by police; do they just not bother, when the crime has already been committed, even with solid video evidence? As for Mr. Bennett, perhaps a week of unloading crates, or sorting good cabbages from bad cabbages, could be a better deterrent than jail?

 

Farmpunk

Perhaps the intent of Chow's bill is to keep shop owners, and small businesspeople, from being charged whilst protecting their selves, their property, and its not at all about legalizing "vigilante justice" or giving arbitrary powers to non-police.  Call it de-criminalizing, if you like.

As a businesperson who has experienced multiple thefts of property, plus vandalism, and plenty of other such acts, I side with the legislation and Mr Chen.     

Asking for improved foot patrol, or enhanced "community policing" is wishfull thinking at its best, because the police have standard answers.  They would say: 1) we don't have the resources; we need more funding\officers 2) police walking beats tend to not be as productive outside their amoured vehicles and are targets. 

 

E.Tamaran

Snert wrote:

I also wonder why the same video evidence used by Mr. Chen couldn't have been used by police; do they just not bother, when the crime has already been committed, even with solid video evidence?

Exactly! The pigs have absolutely no interest in helping the people they're paid to protect. The pigs constantly harrass, mutilate and murder those they're sworn to defend. In this case, they should have gone after the thief but decided to focus they're hatred on the victim. The only real justice out there is that meted out by the people.

Stargazer

The only real justice out there is that meted out by the people.

 

Oh bullshit. Really? Whose people, and where? Under what circumstances? Who determines who should get "just deserts"?

Vigilantism solves nothing.

 

 

E.Tamaran

Stargazer wrote:

The only real justice out there is that meted out by the people.

 

Oh bullshit. Really? Whose people, and where? 

 

Now did Mr Chen ever get justice? He's been robbed repeatedly by the same person. No justice there from what I can see. The pigs were more concerned with busting heads at the G20.

FN people never get "justice" in Turtle Island. As Chief Nelson said, you want justice, then get bewteen the settlers and their money, or pick up a gun.

Oh, and do you think the protesters who were beaten and threatened with rape by the pigs will ever get justice? Nope! And I could go on and on...

So I've demonstrated that there is no real "justice system" in this country. So what's the next step? You say it's vigilantism. I say it's real people, not the elites who think they have all the answers, taking matters into their own hands. Communal justice. Socialist justice, if you will. And it doesn't have to be violent. Mr Chen never hit his captive, never threatened him with rape, never tasered him or shot him. In fact he treated him better than any pig would have.

I'm still working through the ramifications, but if you think about how nearly every police department in canada is proven to be corrupt (check out rcmpwatch.com) eventually something like this is bound to come into being. It's inevitable, unless by some miracle every pig suddenly becomes a police officer and upholds the law equitably and without bias or mallice.

Sean in Ottawa

I am close to several people here in opinion on this but not quite.

I am against vigilante justice-- I do believe that we should have the right to have those who mete out justice somewhat trained, constrained and accountable.

I also understand those who say they don't like to see more police. The police and the courts we have are used to protect the interests, for the most part, of a privileged few.

I see the solution is redirecting police, and the justice system, to the public interest.

Presently the police and the courts don't trifle with small things. Small things are anything that is of low value. So a small theft won't get police attention. This means that by definition those who have little have no police protection and everything they have can be taken away without police or court concern while a wealthy person can lose a small proportion of his/her value and this will get police attention. The police will spend days investigating a stolen car of a man who could buy ten on a week's pay but won't give any effort to consider a bicycle stolen from a poor person who has no hope of replacing it. The small thefts of course grow and eventually when the person steals from someone the law cares about the law get's interested in the case.

I have had a small business and been stolen from and the police have told me that there was no way they would spend any resources on it even though I had proof of who took it and where they were. The value was significant to me but not enough to get police attention. Police need to be re purposed to actually serving and protecting the public. And we might need more police for that.

I don't like vigilantism but I do recognize that it is not much different than private security which is nothing more than vigilantism  contracted out. The problem is wider than some might think -- are we prepared to better control private rent-a-cops, have police do public service for everyone? If not how can we come down on a man who did it himself because his business was too small to be of concern to the police and too small to afford a rent-a-cop? How is what he did so bad if mall security doing the same thing is okay?

No, I agree that what he did was wrong but we also have to bring some perspective here and consider some other issues. I don't like the bill-- I would rather see a bill that seeks to guarantee police protection to those with more limited assets and seeks to limit rent-a-cops to the same degree that this man is limited to. There is little black and white and a whole lot of gray here.

Snert Snert's picture

I would think that "vigilante" justice most appropriately refers to citizens inflicting a punishment on a suspected criminal.  Stopping them and detaining them when police cannot or will not is hardly so odious.

 

remind remind's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
If not how can we come down on a man who did it himself because his business was too small to be of concern to the police and too small to afford a rent-a-cop? How is what he did so bad if mall security doing the same thing is okay?

 

Excellent pointed questions.

 

Why do people approve of mall  security doing the same thing, whilst not this small business owner?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I think that's a great point, Sean--I hadn't connected citizen's arrests with security guards. I don't really approve of them either, but I also don't generally associate them with vigilanteism. Maybe I should! Are security guards allowed to handcuff shoplifters?

Stargazer

As far as I know they are, and they are allowed to detain you, regardless if you have actually shop lifted or not.

Snert Snert's picture

Facinatingly, Bennett (the thief) [url=http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/article/871928--witness-on-defensive-a... that when he returned to Chen's store, it was with the intention of stealing from him again.

Bacchus

Catchfire wrote:

I think that's a great point, Sean--I hadn't connected citizen's arrests with security guards. I don't really approve of them either, but I also don't generally associate them with vigilanteism. Maybe I should! Are security guards allowed to handcuff shoplifters?

 

There are 2 types of security guard. The regular everyday type which are NOT allowed to touch you, detain you or nothing really because its considered assault/ And the second which is a security guard with special constable status which is basically a auziliary cop. Those can arrest you, detain etc but are extremely rare and are NOT normally a mall cop (or if they are, its like 1 for every 10 regular mall security).

 

Its a myth that they can touch you, detain you etc and you can have them charged and sue if you do

 

How do I know this? I was one lol and what we could or more importantly what we could NOT do was stressed to us heavily in the 1 hour lecture we got before getting a license.

Sean in Ottawa

Consider this:

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/PISG/ActandRegulations/psisa_act_...

 

Also consider the discussion on use of handcuffs, batons, dogs and other tools of private security guards.

Not sure where you were trained but your company may have had that limited mandate but there is nothing in law that limits security guards in that way.

Security guards are prohibited from using excessive force (see the act) but then so are police.

They can detain you if they see you stealing. They cannot use excessive force (although it is often debated what that means)

They cannot search you without consent (they have to detain you for the police to do that and if theya re wrong a wrongful detention is actionable.

Now that is a question of the law-- practice is also itneresting -- look at what police did around the G20. Much of it was illegal and completely tolerated by the authorities...

Bacchus

"
Who is responsible for obtaining my licence - my employer or me?
You are.
This important change means that you are free to change employers or obtain additional employment with another security firm without having to be re-licensed.
It is now your responsibility to renew your licence every year.
"
This is new. It used to be tied to your employer and changing employers meant a new license.

Bacchus

2005 is many years after I ceased to be a security guard. Seems they've greatly upped what can be done. Before security guards (not just my firm since I worked with just about all of them) couldn't do anything other than really watch and report

 

Ah your link says they changed the act in 2005 cuz it had not been changes in 40 years. So if we were having this conversation in 2004 I would be right Cool

Sean in Ottawa

I was a security guard back in the mid 1980s while I was in school.

In fact they could legally do all those things then -- these are the same provisions as a private citizen's arrest in fact. At that time security companies though trained their people not to becuase of liability concerns. The training they provide is insufficient for guards to know where the lines are and so they use the hands off rule. As well, it is easier for them to be insured against liability even for their employees should they get hurt. What has changed is the culture and the fact that companies are less worried about the liability-- perhaps they were not getting sued or were not losing.

In any event the active right to detain using reasonable force has always been there-- provided the person is caught in the act, unreasonable force not used and the police called.

Bacchus

Well you could be correct especially since you accurately describe my training ;o)

 

A citizens arrest is legit if there is no chance of a cop getting him first and if its a felony (so no citizens arrest for jaywalking or speeding)

milo204

personally, i'm fine with the shop owners going after the people who steal from them, thay're probably even less likely than cops to use violence against people, they don't have tasers or guns etc.

It seems like chen's intention was just to hold the guy until the cops showed up, not to hurt him.  I think there's a big difference between holding someone for the police as opposed to chasing them and getting violent or beating the person or something like that, which would obviously should be off limits.

I had a similar sort of experience.  My parents were caretakers at an apartment, someone broke in and happened upon my dad, pulled out a knife and tried to stab him.  He ended up tackling the guy and we had to hold him down on the ground (we eventually tied him up with a guitar cable) for over 45 minutes until the police showed up.

 

remind remind's picture

Catchfire wrote:
I think that's a great point, Sean--I hadn't connected citizen's arrests with security guards. I don't really approve of them either, but I also don't generally associate them with vigilanteism. Maybe I should! Are security guards allowed to handcuff shoplifters?

Yes they are. as well as detain said persons until the police arrive.

As are individual store undercover shoplifter protectors.

Once, I took my next door neighbour's father, who was in town visiting her, to Overwaitea, as he asked for a ride seeing as how I was going there. We went our separate ways shopping, and had agreed to meet at the car when we were finished. I get to the car, don't know where he is, and  start putting the 300.00 dollars worth of groceries I bought in the trunk, only to have a store dick grab me and  slap me in cuffs and drag me back into the store. leaving my purchased groceries partly in the car and shopping basket for anyone to steal. Where I was detained, handcuffed for more than an hour until the  cops came.

He was shoplifting, and because the video showed him and I walking into the store at the same time and me stating we would meet back at the car, they automatically assumed we were "together".

Thankfully, I was believed by them that I had just briefly met him a couple of days past and had been being neighbourly, only.

They had, it turned out, taken my groceries, that I had paid for out of my car and had taken them back into the store. As he had even taken my car keys from me. As such, I told them they could keep 'em, and I wanted my money back, and I have never shopped at Overwaitea again. Should have taken them to court though in hindsight.

Sean in Ottawa

Wow Remind. That's terrible.

At least did you go up above the store level and let them know?

Does not hurt to sensitize those people to the implications of policies, procedures and lack of trainign taht they can't see from their nice offices.

remind remind's picture

Na, was totally traumatized, and had spoken to the store manager already, as they did not want to give my 300.00 back to me, and had thought I would just take my groceries and leave, because; "they were so nice as not to charge me, and have me prove myself in court."

Have never gone into a store with a "stranger" since though either

Sean in Ottawa

Well maybe it would mean more now when you say well you might not remember that incident x years ago but I have never gone back since -- thought you might want to know.

 

remind remind's picture

This late in the day, probably won't mean diddley to them.

BillBC

A long time ago there was a law called the Habitual Criminal law, where people who committed crimes over and over again could be given indeterminate sentences.  It could be applied to dangerous criminals, but it was also applied to people like this guy, who shoplifted dozens of times, and showed no sign of stopping.  If convicted under the law, he'd be put in jail indefinitely.  Problem solved, at least for shopkeepers.  Wiki says of this law "the Habitual Offender Act in Canada dealt with multiple offenders. The law was repealed after a Law Commission Report of 1969 found it to be erratically applied and was often used against non-violent and non-dangerous offenders."

Wiki means multiple offences, not offenders.  I'm sure it was erratically (ie arbitrarily) applied, and against non-violent offenders like this guy.

But is such a law a totally bad solution to this problem?  Babblers on this thread don't seem to agree on a better one.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Babblers on this thread don't seem to agree on a better one.

 

I'm not sure anyone would agree, but I could suggest some kind of surety or bond, for those criminals like Bennett, who as you say, shows no sign of stopping.

 

Upon being caught, he could sign a bond not unlike bail, with the understanding that if caught and convicted again, he loses the bond. Swiping $100 worth of merchandise might not seem so financially clever if it means potentially being on the hook for $10,000.

 

Failing that, how about suspended sentences? Go home this time, but the next time you're caught, your sentence automatically kicks in? Or how about escalating sentences? First conviction is a warning, second is a month, third is a year, fourth is three years, etc.? That would keep first time offenders out of jail, while providing some kind of disincentive to make theft into a career.

6079_Smith_W

Financial penalties and the threat of jail don't work for everyone. For one thing, I don't have an extra $10,000 lying around, and no bail bond operation is going to front that kind of money to someone with no means to pay it back.

Stronger enforcement and penalties by themselves don't break the cycle. Unfortunately, it goes back to dealing with the root problems that make people desparate or uncaring enough that they resort to things like that.

And although no, it is not okay to engage in vigilante justice, I have sympathy for someone who feels driven to that just like I feel sympathy for anyone who is in a position in which he or she feels there are no other options.

I'm not claiming that the situation is more difficult for a shopkeeper than it is for a person on the street driven to crime, but I can imagine it must feel at least as galling to see one's livelihood stolen out from underfoot with no legal protection.

The worst perversion I see in this is the crown cutting a deal with Bennett to go after Mr. Chen. It shows a complete lack of recognition of a systemic problem. Just punishing whomever you can get your hands on is not the way to change things.

 

And on stores going after shoplifters, it reminds me of the shakedown schemes that a lot of big stores use - sending letters threatening to sue people they catch shoplifting unless they (or their parents) pay them money. I remember once getting pounced on by some zellers security guards who thought I had taken something (I had not) . WHen they realized their mistake there was no apology or comment about just doing their job, they cursed and ran back into the store, presumably because they had lost an opportunity to squeeze money out of me.

 

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

I agree that the focus on jails and punishment does not work and that many people are in them who should never be.

I agree that the general approach to crime needs to be based on underlying causes -- where possible -- but I don't think that is it by itself a complete answer.

I also believe that there are sociopaths out there who cannot be reached with this preventative measures approach. Some social scientists think they represent some 5-10% of of the general population. I recognize there are people who will only be destructive. Given enough power and social indulgence these sociopaths rise up to lead businesses and become incredibly powerful political figures. Without the power, they become unrepentant criminals. There are a limited number of powerful corporate positions and an even more limited political world and only one person can be PM at a time. So elevating more of these people to where they can only do "legal" harm will not solve the problem.

I assume we are looking for a more balanced approach but those are cop-out words because it is so difficult to define the perfectly.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Sean

I know there are some people who are sociopaths (5-10% I am not so sure), but I am sure we could go a long way by dealing with some of the poverty, addiction, and medical issues that put a lot of pressure on the situation.

It would be a better investment than all those jails.

Sean in Ottawa

I don't disagree but I would not suggest that is the whole problem.

My post was designed to say something else though that perhaps you missed.

6079_Smith_W

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I don't disagree but I would not suggest that is the whole problem.

My post was designed to say something else though that perhaps you missed.

Yes I got that sociopaths tend to work their way up in hierarchies, and I agree. But that does not trump the fact that those of us with a sense of moral responsibility are still in the majority, and have a responsibility to act.

I still think that in dealing with problems at the street level there is a lot that we can do. Putting more resources toward addiction and mental health issues, and harm reduction, and simply making sure that people have shelter, food, medical care and support will do a lot more to aid people who want to change their lives around.

Sean in Ottawa

Not disagreeing -- I was just calling the PM a sociopath. You know the guy saying we can solve this problem with more jails.

Didn't mean to be so obscure.

The second point of my post was that sociopaths when they succeed, they lead when they fail they go to jail.

All rhyming accidental.

milo204

hey remind, whatever happened to the guy who did the stealing?  i presume they must have busted him too?  If so why were they harping on you if you didn't steal anything and weren't with the guy when he did?  

E.Tamaran

I found this little gem on the interweb. really makes you think about the state of "justice" in canada.

Quote:
Crown attorney Chris Webb: "It appeared that (Chen and the two others) were engaged in a beating and abduction of Mr. Bennett. Their conduct was unreasonable and unnecessary for the purposes of a citizen's arrest," Crown attorney Chris Webb states.

"Society has changed since the middle ages. For example, the medieval punishment for theft was very severe. Anyone convicted of stealing a shilling or more could be hanged. People found guilty of minor theft could have their hands or ears cut off, be branded with hot irons or shamed in the stocks or whipped through the streets." http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/10/02/15559121.html

Then read about the criminal past of the Crown Attorney himself:

Quote:
"A Toronto Crown attorney has been charged with assault and mischief after a party this weekend.

Christopher Webb was arrested late Sunday in the southwest end of the city. The 38-year-old was released from 14 Division shortly after midnight.

Webb, who is a Crown prosecutor with the criminal law office and rotates through numerous Toronto courts, has been charged with assault and mischief under $5,000, which usually means property was damaged.

Police spokesperson Const. Tony Vella said Toronto police are not releasing details of the incident that lead to the charges. But an individual familiar with the arrest said Webb was at a party with friends. At one point, he and his girlfriend got into a dispute and he "shoved" her." http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/local/article/403841--crown-lawyer-charged-with-assault-mischief-after-party 

Really makes you wonder how it is that a guy who assaults women can himself prosecute someone for assault.

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

In my opinion, looking to the criminal justice system for a solution to the chronic problem of let's call it petty thievery due to poverty isn't the right place to look. As 6079 Smith and others have pointed out, fines are useless if the person has no money (that's why they were stealing, duh) and jail time, fascinatingly enough, doesn't alleviate poverty either.

The solution is to be found in one of those "pie-in-the-sky no-short-term-or-easy-answers" places, such as a societal commitment to eradicating poverty through enhanced and cheaper access to education, training and skills building; affordable housing; free child care; better integration of good effective community policing; free computer training and resume writing courses; accessible harm reduction services and tons of other solutions that folks working on the front lines would have a better idea of than I.

If we can't do that tomorrow (and we CAN, we just don't have the political will to do it) I would suggest we look not at individual solutions but at more structural pieces, such as more food banks. But even that isn't something that I would recommend whole-heartedly, for a whole host of reasons.

Sineed

To what Maysie said, I'd add, more effective drug treatment programs.  Most of this petty theft in Toronto is committed by people with addiction problems, and they get arrested and go to jail over and over and over, and it's completely pointless because their addiction is a much powerful motivator than jail is as a deterrent.

I was talking to a doctor at one of the Toronto jails, who has worked there for 30+ years.  He has seen healthy young men coming into the jail, and watched them deteriorate over successive incarcerations, and by the time they are in their mid-40s, they are toothless and sick, HIV and Hep C positive, brain-damaged.  And then they tend to die in their late 40s-early 50s.  Rather than just throwing addicts into jail when they commit crimes, a more productive use for government resources would be directed towards finding effective interventions for these hard core people.  This doctor and I both agreed that the system, as it stands, is an ongoing human tragedy.  And a waste of funds.

Sineed

Olivia Chow visiting Chen at his store on Friday to present him with a copy of Bill C-565, a private member's bill that would give shopkeepers the right to detain suspects within a reasonable period.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/10/15/toronto-chow-backs-che...

As the law is currently written, Chen would have been within his legal rights to arrest and detain Bennett if he'd caught him in the act.  But instead Bennett got away, only to be detained by Chen and his staff when he returned a couple of hours later to steal more plants.  So the couple of hours that elapsed between the theft, and Chen's detention of the thief, automatically make Chen a criminal.  Absurd.

E.Tamaran

It is absurd. So why are so many people here not supporting Mr Chen?

E.Tamaran

Unionist wrote:

My sympathy for Mr. Chen = nil. His violent vigilantism has no place in our society. If he can't run a business without being robbed and arresting people, he should consider getting a job like the rest of us.

Anthony Bennett, on the other hand, deserves much more interest and attention. He has a criminal record going back to 1976. How old is he? What is his background? Why does he serially steal plants and flowers (apparently, while on bail for the Chen theft, he was accused of having stolen flowers [url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/10/13/kuitenbrouwer-anthony-bennett-st... times during the month of May[/url] from a single other store).

That progressive people should sympathize with Chen - let alone promoting broadened powers of "citizen's arrest" - frankly disgusts me.

 

Obviously you don't own a family business that puts food on the table. Every stolen item = less $ for him to feed his kids, or put them in new shoes. And for someone who calls himself "unionist" you seem really keen on throwing people out of a job (Mr Chen's business, Palestinians working at an Israeli factory in the west bank). I guess it doesn't affect you, personally. Mr Chen is in Toronto, and the palestinians are far, far away.

 The people who regularly shop at Mr Chen's store care though, and are supporting him.

milo204

but unionist, what should he do if he is habitually robbed?  Just accept it and forget about it?  i think the main thing here is it's not like the first time he saw the guy he chased him down and assaulted him, it sounds more like he's been dealing with this for a long time, saw a guy who had stolen from him hours before return to steal more, and he decided to catch him, hold him and call the cops.  

sure, i wish this kind of thing didn't have to happen, but at the same time i can understand why it did.  

Also, to me it is entirely consistent with progressive values that if a person, an authority figure etc tries to steal from you that you would directly confront that and try an undertake a reasonable action to stop it.  I just don't see what other action he could have undertaken to help the situation,  and i don't think it's fair to say that if he can't find a solution to people stealing from him (since that responsibility should fall on all of us, and we've done a terrible job) that he should just abandon ship and go work at a supermarket or some other job, where that responsibility would just fall on someone else like a security guard or an RFID tag.

 

E.Tamaran

milo204 wrote:

but unionist, what should he do if he is habitually robbed?  Just accept it and forget about it?  i think the main thing here is it's not like the first time he saw the guy he chased him down and assaulted him, it sounds more like he's been dealing with this for a long time, saw a guy who had stolen from him hours before return to steal more, and he decided to catch him, hold him and call the cops.  

sure, i wish this kind of thing didn't have to happen, but at the same time i can understand why it did.  

Also, to me it is entirely consistent with progressive values that if a person, an authority figure etc tries to steal from you that you would directly confront that and try an undertake a reasonable action to stop it.  I just don't see what other action he could have undertaken to help the situation,  and i don't think it's fair to say that if he can't find a solution to people stealing from him (since that responsibility should fall on all of us, and we've done a terrible job) that he should just abandon ship and go work at a supermarket or some other job, where that responsibility would just fall on someone else like a security guard or an RFID tag.

 

excellent post milo. You really captured what most normal people in his neighborhood and his MP Olivia Chow are feeling about this.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

If he can't run a business without being robbed and arresting people, he should consider getting a job like the rest of us.

Even though I have managed to deal with theft and fraud without resorting to vigilateeism (or calling the cops, for that matter) and I don't condone it,  I have sympathy for a person like Chen who feels driven to desparate measures.

But to say he should get a job like the rest of (you) seems odd to me. Essentially it just a denial of personal responsibility - shifting the difficult decision of dealing with theft onto someone else.  If you feel you are sensitive to the social pressures that drive people to steal, why would you want to turn that power over to someone who might not be so aware?

It's a great strategy if we just want to see business owners as evil capitalists who do bad things to other people, and leave those nasty decisions up to them. Not such a great approach if we want to deal with the problem with something other than just more hard-line enforcement - or if we want to be a part of that solution.

For me, it's not an option. Also, I just got a bit of good news this morning that makes me encouraged that there is another way. I had a customer come back and start paying a debt I had let ride for almost two years, and that I was at times chiding myself for not taking to collections. It is good to see that sometimes the impulse to deal with things personally, and not turn it over to the authorities pays off in the long run.

 

Unionist

milo204 wrote:

but unionist, what should he do if he is habitually robbed?

Call the police. Hire a security guard. Improve his surveillance system. Partner with other local small businesses to share the costs. Or if all else fails, get a job.

What should he not do? Get violent.

What should we not do? Support any legal measures whatsoever that decentralize and individualize "policing" functions.

Quote:
sure, i wish this kind of thing didn't have to happen, but at the same time i can understand why it did. 

I can also understand why a parent of a murdered or molested child would seek out and take revenge against the perpetrator, where the police have failed. So would you support that too, or just "understand" it, as we both no doubt do?

If people keep stealing from him, vigilante violence won't help. The petty criminal grapevine just isn't that good. The solution is not empowering the individual. The solution is fixing the society. Sorry to sound like a bleeding-heart socialist. I'm on the side of the downtrodden.

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