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On Tuesday, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OACP) marched against poverty. How marching helps eliminate poverty I have no idea, although many socialists believe that “raising awareness” is as important as raising taxes. Anyway, some clever clogs snapped a pic of an overweight police sniper on a nearby rooftop, with his rifle hidden beneath a ledge. The image caused a frisson of fear amongst the faithful. The Toronto Sun reported the resulting web traffic with a suitably skeptical editorial eye . . .

With all of the social media chatter Wednesday about this sniper’s rifle photographed on a terrace at Toronto Police headquarters, you’d swear it had been fired at protesters.

This did not happen. In fact the gun, which in pictures is resting on the ground, was never supposed to be seen by the public. However, like it did during the G20 [Summit], citizen journalism has struck once again.

When the Sun’s jobbing journo contacted his copper pals about the sniper non-situation, the Canadian po-po resisted the urge to go all mealy-mouthed—until they did . . .

“Our main concern is public safety,” said Const. Tony Vella. “There were a number of officers called in to assist including the ETF and they brought in their equipment.”

Tactical rifles are part of that.

“You just never know what could occur and it’s better to be well-equipped instead of under-equipped,” Vella said. “We received information that there would be a lot more people attending and that there could be violence associated with it.”

Do they have a formula for that? If X number of people attend a rally with Y amount of possible violence, then deploy the Weight Watchers Crowd Watcher Sniper Guy. Does that calculation include the possibility of violence by or against the cops? Inquiring minds want to know.

‘Cause the OACP are certainly no friends of the The Man. Check this little diddy from the blurb promoting their rally commemorating the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality.

Despite the trillions of dollars stolen, embezzled and extorted by banks and finance companies that led to this recession, the police are not in the habit of kicking down doors on Bay St. But they are kicking down doors, ticketing, arresting, beating and killing people in poor communities . . .

The police are guilty. Homeless people and people with mental health issues are routinely harassed, beaten and sometimes killed by police in this city. Non-status women seeking a safe haven from abuse are dragged out of shelters by Immigration enforcement officers on tips from two regular sources: the police, and the very abusers these women are attempting to escape. Racialized communities are targeted daily by police.

Sun scribe Joe Warrington has sympathy for the protestors, who shall overcome. Someday.

“Certainly a sniper rifle that could tear people apart is concerning but it also will not intimidate us,” said [the OCAP’s John] Clarke. “They will do what they do and we will still do what we do.”

There was a time when I would likely have dismissed Clarke and deferred to police but post-G20, neither organization can boast pristine hands.

Some of OCAP’s actions in the past have been disturbing but those were equalled in my view by police during the G20 in the many cases of unnecessary brutality and civil rights violations.

While I still have great regard for cops on the street and in the divisions, I don’t have as much confidence in the command as we await these slow moving reports on how they handled things during the G20. The jury is out on their competence and decision-making acumen.

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  1. During the Second Amendment march, someone in the crowd pointed to a government office building facing the National Mall, indicating that there were men armed with rifles on overwatch, checking us out. I borrowed a pair of binocs and saw it for myself. Not a good feeling.

  2. The Canadian police are one of the leading groups in Canada that steal people’s guns and intimidate people so they don’t exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Snipers aren’t cheap. It’s just not right to impose “gun control” and then force people to be “supervised” by men armed with the firearms the people can’t freely own.

  3. “a sniper rifle that could tear people apart is concerning”

    Someone has been watching too much TV. I’m not an apologist for police by any means but prudence would dictate that you think there may be violence you preposition as many assets as possible. The rifle was out of sight so intimidation was not the purpose.

    I think it funny they focus on the cop’s apparent weight. I’ve never seen a petite police, he was probably wearing body armor, and his jacket looks to be open so that picture is not a good means of deciding his weight.

  4. I wonder what these hippies would have said had a Mumbai type situation arose and there were not snipers on the rooftops to quickly deal with the threat. Although that scenario is not very likely since the savvy terrorist will not want to risk alienating those that provide him with aid and comfort. Still, bad guys love crowds.

  5. Apparently, Canadian lefties (redundant?) see a Lon Horiuchi on every rooftop. This guy was obviously trying to be as discreet as possible. There was no intimidation intended.

    Go smoke a joint, guys and chill out. There’s big plate of poutine with your name on it later. Let the pros do their jobs and keep you safe while you deplore the society that allows you to march with such tiresome regularity.

  6. I am a Canadian, a gun owner and a socialist. Police intimidation is a regular occurrence, particularly by local police forces like those in Toronto. That this occurred is not surprising. The police have in the past, hid behind the convenient line that they received a “tip” that there would be violence at peaceful protests.

    There is more going on here than some of the commenters know and glib replies about smoking joints and chilling out are ignorant to say the least. There are still ongoing investigations into the G20 debacle where several protesters were abuse by the police and innocent citizens who weren’t even at the protest being arrested without warrant or cause.

    If the “pros” could do their job properly and without relying on intimidation, coercion and subterfuge, we might be a bit less concerned when police snipers are called out for a march against homelessness.

    And, I would like to remind TTACer that “Mumbai Situations” happen in part with police and security services collusion and training.

    For a society that proclaims its rugged individualism and personal freedom, some of you sound quite ready believe without question or concern what those in authority tell you. Most especially, in the case of the Toronto Metro police already being investigated for “irregularities”.

    For the record, the Canadian police at all levels, federal, provincial and municipal, are one of the most vocal opponents of private firearm ownership in Canada. For a weblog devoted to gun ownership rights, you sure are quick to support the authorities and decry private citizens. Perhaps it is more about your personal politics and loathing of anything that smacks of “leftism” than it is about advocacy.

    • I’m in no position to argue – one way or the other – about the amount of “intimidation” used by Canadian cops. And I know nothing about Toronto police investigations, nor am I interested.

      I’m simply reacting to this photo. There’s obviously zero intent to scare or intimidate anyone here. If there had been, He’d have parked his rifle on the ledge where the barrel would have been in plain view of those below.

      As for we rugged individualists submitting to the diktats of those in charge, the refusal to subjugate ourselves to anyone in government/authority is precisely why the framers included the second amendment. As someone more articulate than I once said, a well-armed populace is the best defense against tyranny. Maybe you’d have fewer problems with abusive authorities up there if you’d have followed the same advice.

      • @2yellowdogs

        I agree with you on the Second Amendment, but being armed isn’t enough. All the evil black rifles in the world aren’t going to help if we sit idly by and tolerate injustice to any group, whether we agree with that group or not.

  7. ““You just never know what could occur and it’s better to be well-equipped instead of under-equipped,”” …sounds like what a law-abiding gun owner might say! Weird!

  8. While this situation seems pretty mild, there’s good reason why we lefties are touchy about the police. I’ve witnessed behavior ranging from mild intimidation to outright thuggery from even our fairly mellow local Portland, OR constabulary. While the Black Bloc knuckleheads may be looking for trouble, the cops always seem a little too eager to dance. The usual tactic, is they corner a group of people, then order them to disperse, which they can’t do. Mayhem ensues. One cop was caught on video at the beginning of the Iraq invasion deliberately pepper-spraying a woman with a baby in her arms as she tried to run away. The city settled the lawsuit, the cop was not disciplined in any serious way. If you look back over the past hundred years, it’s not generally conservative white guys getting their heads cracked. Maybe a lot of you Tea Party types would secretly prefer a world where only white male land owners can vote, and everybody else is paid in scrip for the Company Store, in which case the gains secured by us liberal scum taking to the streets (often in the face of state violence) are of no interest to you.

    I may not agree with the message of Tea Party gatherings, but I sure don’t think they should be pushed around by the cops. I appreciate it when any group shows up to voice its opinion.

    Too many on the right only care about government overreach when it affects them – you’re terrified of the state taking your guns away (a legit fear, I grant you), or taxing you too much, but those hippies? They deserve whatever they get.

    That said, the cops in Madison seem to have comported themselves admirably during the recent “unrest.”

    • The cops in Madison weren’t about to fuck with their union buddies. That’s the only reason they “comported” themselves.

      • Sadly, you may be right. In the good old days, Scott Walker could have brought in the Pinkertons, or maybe called out the Guard to put those uppity school teachers and nurses in their place. But not in the age of Youtube.

    • “While the Black Bloc knuckleheads may be looking for trouble, the cops always seem a little too eager to dance. The usual tactic, is they corner a group of people, then order them to disperse, which they can’t do. Mayhem ensues.”

      This is almost exactly what happened in Toronto at the G20 summit. There are also serious allegations of the police dressing out of uniform and starting the violence themselves. While I cannot claim that they did exactly that, I can claim that there was definite thuggery from the cops.

      How exactly is everyone being armed going to stop police intimidation? Doesn’t look like it has stopped it in the US. Am I more likely or less likely to be the target for coercion, intimidation and abuse by police if I have a gun on my hip, even in the land of open carry?

      I am not here to start an argument or to troll this forum. Really. However, this article’s dismissive and mocking attitude towards legitimate concerns of our citizens regarding recent police thuggery approaches insult. Was that sniper there to intimidate the crowd? Probably not, but why was a sniper there in the first place? What kind of threat to public peace could a rally to raise awareness of poverty possibly pose? Did the police really think that it would be a cover for anarchists to bust shop windows? Or that armed psychopaths were going to start stalking innocent bystanders? Is that really a credible excuse for deploying tactical response teams to a remarkably small rally of concerned and peaceful citizens?

      My father was in the RCMP for 30 years; I grew up around law enforcement officers. They taught me to shoot, they taught me the law, they taught me my rights under that law. I can tell you that this is not the kind policing we expect or deserve.

      • Please stick around, you have an interesting perspective and seem to comport yourself much better than our resident lefty.

        • OMG no. You’re the kind of reasoned lefty that’s more than welcomed here. We’re used to idiots imputing racist and mysogenistic motives based on barrel length.

        • I’m really liking this forum. Generally my efforts to engage thoughtfully with the Right have only gotten me insults and abuse. It helps that I’m pro gun rights, of course. Nonetheless, I think dialogue is a healthy thing.

  9. Well, I am glad that I have found this blog. I enjoy (most of) the commentary and all of the reviews. The reader comments are especially informative since they often state other points of view or make important points on various issues. I look forward to reading and commenting in the future.

    Thank you all for your compliments.

  10. How is a rifle on a roof, worse than a pistol on the hip in *gasp* plain view.

    Canada is allot like england. I like their wwii vets, and pre ww2 people. The folks there today mostly make me ill.

  11. Although the “hippies” are subject of police sniper scrutiny this time, it was we gun owners marching to Ottawa (our nation’s capital) to protest anti-gun legislation that had several snipers keeping watch on us gunnies below. Our bus to Ottawa was also pulled over by the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police, similar to state troopers), due to the suspicion that since we are gun owners, then obviously some of us would break the law and carry loaded weapons for the occasion. At least, that was the reason given to us when the officer boarded our bus, but even he didn’t believe it. He was just following orders, you know…

    I didn’t think it was funny knowing I and my fellow gunnies were being glassed by snipers for showing up to protest the destruction of our rights; I suspect you would feel the same if the Open Carry rallies at were presided over by the local police sniper team.

    In answer to Jamie, who asks “How is a rifle on a roof, worse than a pistol on the hip in *gasp* plain view”, I say it is because the suppressors of our rights (as an extension of the government) have the rifle, and the supporters of our rights have the pistols; *that* is the difference.

    In response to 2yellowdogs, who says “There was no intimidation intended.” Having a sniper for a situation that does not require it *is* intimidation. Why would you need a sniper for protesters like these? Is there really a legitimate chance of someone becoming enough of a threat to require shooting them? Breaking windows, or even setting a car on fire do not require a sniper. Why are they there at all?


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