Saturday, November 03, 2012

Ashley Smith and the Cruelty of the Cons

I think this image will haunt me forever.

The image of a bound, hooded, 18-year-old Ashley Smith being duct taped into a seat on a plane.

Like she was some kind of dangerous terrorist on her way to Guantanamo.

When she was just a poor mentally ill teenager on her way to one of the nine Canadian prisons she was held in during her short life. Before she choked herself to death while her guards watched, and did nothing. 

And the way she was treated by the bullies in our prison system was outrageous, inhuman, and totally indefensible.

What they did to that girl is indefensible. It was medically unjustifiable. It was punitively disgraceful. It was institutionally bullying. It was torture.

These were the tormenters — the doctors, the nurses, the guards, the corrections officials — that Ashley could not escape. They ruled her days and her nights. Poor, doomed girl. She never made it out alive.

So I am glad that the Con regime has finally been shamed into telling Corrections Canada to stop trying to bury the ugly truth.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was “horrified” by the newly released surveillance videos in the Ashley Smith case and has ordered Correctional Service of Canada to co-operate with the Ontario inquest into the troubled teen’s prison death.

Publicly, Harper described Smith’s Thursday as a “terrible tragedy” that has revealed an unacceptable way of treating prisoners with mental illness. 

But why did it take so long? And could Harper's words possibly ring more hollow?

When him and his brutish regime are doing their monstrous best to make the problem even worse. 

By jailing more Canadians, more natives, more young, and mentally ill people, double bunking inmates, and closing big psychiatric treatment centres, at the Kingston penitentiary and the Leclerc Institute.

And the Harper regime's cult of cruelty, rooted in the barbarous scribblings of ancient desert dwellers, and designed to appease its vengeful, bloodthirsty base, is poisoning everything decent in this country.

As it tries to turn Canada into some kind of sinister prison state, even as more and more prisoners, especially aboriginal ones, kill or mutilate themselves. 

Cases of serious self-injury by federal inmates across Canada has nearly tripled in the last five years — a "dramatic" rise as prison conditions become more chaotic and overcrowded, according Canada's Correctional Investigator.

Like poor, desperate, Ashley Smith did. 

And what more can I say eh? 

Except that we won't be able to save our prison system, or our country, until this cruel, barbarous regime is driven from power.

The Harper government is not my government.

And this is not my Canada...

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  1. I can't help but wonder if somewhere someone got pleasure out of taping the barbaric torture of this poor young lady. What is really at the core of this case is how we continue to stigmatize and treat mental illness. Harper's too little, too late, incredibly insincere words in this case merely add insult to injury. A lot of high level heads need to role over this case, right to the very top level of accountability. There is no rational justification to how Ashley Smith was treated. Vic Toews is ultimately responsible for this and he needs to answer some serious questions on how this could happen under his watch.

    1. Anonymous11:15 PM

      The jollies weren't so much in the recording of the events as in harper's sporting massive wood at watching someone helpless being hurt over and over and over. A devout coward and bully and terrorist like harper would love this more than the breath of life. He really kind of reminds me of "Buffalo Bill" from the "Silence of the Lambs" in some ways. As Aleister Crowley once described the ten of swords in his tarot deck; "reason divorced from reality". That would be harper's and baird's and ford's designator, for sure.

    2. hi bcwaterboy...they are required to tape all of their "interventions" but you're absolutely right that at the core of this case is the way society continues to stigmatize and treat mental illness.
      For when people feel that the mentally ill are somehow less than human, some feel they have the right to do anything to them. So I'm glad that all those who took part in the barbaric treatment of that poor child are going to be called to explain their actions. And hopefully, not only will they be punished, but some good will come of this tragedy...

    3. hi anonymous...I personally believe, after consulting with a number of colleagues, that Harper is a clinical psychopath, and therefore incapable of feeling the pain of others. He made the cynical calculation to declare war on young offenders to appease his bloodthirsty base, and is now finding out that actions have consequences. The only ray of hope is that one of Harper's grandfathers killed himself after suffering for years from depression. So hopefully, just this one time, he might just be moved to do the right thing. However, needless to say, I'll believe it when I see it...

  2. That's the way things are done, in a Communist country.

    There is no Democracy, Civil Rights and Liberties, no Freedom of Speech, and most certainly, no Human Rights. Harper can pretend all he likes, he envies China's Human rights because, they don't have any. Harper is permitting Communist China, to control the tar sands. Harper has permitted all company's to hire, cheap Chinese labor. Harper has given China all of the jobs too.

    Anyone thinking Harper gives a damn about Ashley Smith? Forget it, he could care less. There will be no difference between China and Canada. Human lives are of no value, to Harper and his Conservatives, what-so-ever.

    1. hi meadowlark...yes no doubt that's the way they treat people in China...or CIA prisons. All Harper cares about is winning votes by dividing Canadians, and appealing to the worst angels of humanity. For quite apart from his hideous policies, he is also a really horrible human being...

  3. DITTO DITTO to both comments and you too Simon. Keep up the great work

    1. hi marie...thank you.I cerainly intend to keep doing all I can to fight bullying and the mistreatment of the mentally ill. As I recently explained in a post, I have been helping a friend navigate his way through the mental health system, and it has been a real ordeal for both of us. My feeling is that a country that cannot properly care for its most vulnerable citizens, is a country without a soul, and definitely not my Canada...

  4. hi. Simon: i just search for writing about Little, poor Ashley ... it´s o.k. to Quote you? THX

    1. hi Annamaria...yes of course you can. The more people who hear about Ashley's story the better. So she isn't forgotten, and it doesn't happen again...