It’s a Sad day When

It’s a sad sad day when injustice remains so until a life is lost. This Prime Minister has been around how many years but it takes an extreme occurrence to finally get response from the powers that be. NOW the hero rides in on his politicalized horsey to say something must be done. It hasn’t mattered that other have died or continue to live in pain or rather not lived because it wasn’t time for the leaders of this country to benefit by standing up and being counted. And in the end just how long will something take to happen? No really how long?

This article is an interesting read: Prime Minister Harper says tougher laws coming for child sex offences. The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:37PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:26PM EDT
TORONTO — Child sex offenders, particularly those who victimize multiple kids, could spend longer in prison under a range of harsher penalties proposed Thursday by the prime minister.
The Conservative government plans to introduce legislation this fall aimed at cracking down on people who sexually exploit children, Stephen Harper announced.
“Sadly there are truly evil people out there. The fact is we don’t understand them and we don’t particularly care to. We understand only that they must be dealt with,” Harper said at an event in Toronto.

Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and Justice Minister Peter MacKay, looks on as Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks in Toronto on Thursday Aug. 29, 2013. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
“To protect our children we must create a justice system that is more responsive to victims and especially more responsive to children and to the families of children who have been victimized by sexual predators.”
A main plank of the proposed amendments would see people convicted of more than one such offence serve their sentences consecutively, rather than the current system in which sentences are served concurrently.
Harper cited in his announcement the case of Gordon Stuckless.
The 64-year-old — who was once an usher at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens — was originally convicted in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he worked at the famed hockey arena between 1969 and 1988.
Harper pointed out that Stuckless was originally sentenced to two years less a day, a sentence which was followed by the suicide of Martin Kruze, the victim who brought the sex abuse scandal to light.
Stuckless’ sentence was later increased to five years and he was out on parole in 2001 after serving two-thirds of it.
“Three years, for 20 very serious offences,” Harper said. “That sort of thing was common at the time. Of course the victims, on the other hand, have to cope for the rest of their lives with what such people have done to them.”
Stuckless now faces nearly 100 fresh charges, all laid in the past year, which relate to alleged offences that took place decades ago.
Lianna McDonald, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said particularly when a sex offender has abused several children, the sentences don’t seem like enough.
“In many cases where one individual might have multiple victims the sentence has not to date adequately reflect the number of those victims,” she said after the announcement.
“For some victims in some circumstances it may not even seem that what happened to them really mattered in terms of the totality of the sentence.”
The proposed law would also increase minimum and maximum penalties for child sexual offences.
Currently, people convicted of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching or sexual exploitation are sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10.
Making and distributing child pornography convictions carry the same sentence range. Convictions for accessing or possessing child pornography see people sentenced to a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years.
Harper’s Conservative government has brought in a number of mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes over the years, including previously raising the minimum sentences for the aforementioned offences.
They have brought with them controversies and court challenges.
The Ontario Court of Appeal is considering the constitutionality of minimum sentences for gun crimes after it convened a special five-judge panel in February to hear six such cases at the same time.
In Quebec, the provincial bar association launched a legal challenge seeking to strike down sections of the Conservatives’ 2012 omnibus bill involving mandatory minimums. The bar association said the provisions don’t protect the public and represent an unconstitutional interference from one branch of government, the legislature, in the business of another, the judiciary.
Critics of mandatory minimum sentences say they don’t actually help reduce crime and do more harm than good.
To understand the impact of mandatory minimums one need look no further than the United States, where harsh mandatory minimums were enacted decades ago, said criminal defence lawyer Nader Hasan.
“What even some of the most Conservative law-and-order-oriented judges and politicians south of the border have begun to realize is that mandatory minimums do no make us safer,” said Hasan.
“What they do is overcrowd prisons and bankrupt legislatures.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said the Justice Department would target long mandatory sentences that he said have flooded the nation’s prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be better spent.
Hasan, who teaches a course at the University of Toronto titled “Crime & Punishment: Mandatory Minimums, The Death Penalty & other Current Debates,” said data from the U.S. shows little deterrent effect.
“The Harper government‘s fascination with mandatory minimums is all the more perplexing given that these policies have been tried but have failed miserably in the United States,” Hasan said.
McDonald, from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said her hope is that the harsher penalties will keep offenders behind bars longer so that it prevents them, for a time, from committing future offences.
The proposed amendments would also ensure the spouse of a person charged with child pornography offences could be obliged to testify in court and increase penalties for those convicted of child sex offences who break conditions of supervision orders.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/prime-minister-harper-says-tougher-laws-coming-for-child-sex-offences-1.1432058#ixzz2dPqLL0ez

This email was sent from the CTV News

A View of Death by Murder in Seniors Homes

I was saddened at the news of the death of a Senior Resident who was killed by another Resident of that Home in the Toronto area.  A seventy-five year old gentleman assaulted and killed a seventy-two year old woman who was also a Resident and inflicted injuries on a ninety-two year old woman.  He has been charged with second degree murder and assault.

Did it have to be that way?

There are a number of cautionary statements that should be made for those who read these accounts or listen to them on the news, but before I address them, I need to tell you a story about my personal experience with violent Residents.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I was the acting Director of a Long Term Facility, and we admitted a gentleman to one of our units.  The assessment by CCAC and admission history from the family did not indicate a potential for violence.  In fact he was delightful and seemed happy with his room with its large view window and naturally a little shy.

I went to welcome him when he was admitted and again at the evening meal to introduce him to his table mates help him feel some level of comfort.  He was pleasant.  But one late afternoon all that changed.  He suddenly became aggressive, and ranting and swinging and tried to get out of a second storey window.

The staff reacted perfectly, removing all other residents who may be at risk, keeping constant contact with the man and directing others to call the police.  He was safely removed from the Home to the psychiatric unit at a local hospital.

After a time (I am not sure of how many weeks as I naturally don’t have exact notes to refer to) the hospital, CCAC, Social Workers, Psychiatrist all wanted to have a meeting to discuss his return to the Home.  I took a stand that this man still posed a risk to the rest of our fragile population.  Everyone else took a stand that he was safe to return but could not promise me that he was in fact ‘safe’.  There were actually a number of meetings, by phone with the hospital, discharge planning, and CCAC.  They were mad and frustrated and I was standing firm.

*Please note that explanations of how the LTC system works would involve a great deal of information and could not possibly be disseminated in one article.  It is a complicated and complex system, and I caution you not to make judgements based on who says what and suggested ‘solutions’ from a myriad of sources.

Anyway, the hospital wanted him out.  Hospital administrations are under a great deal of pressure not to allow patients to stay one day longer than what the Ministry perceives as necessary.  As a result, the old pendulum effect is that many people are discharged too early which leads to its own problems.  I argued that this gentleman should be put on a general medical floor with other patients to see how he managed – which led to a very loud roar of ‘how dare you suggest something so reasonable you idiot.’

While this struggle went on our staff were busy.  My nurses, some of who were among the best I have ever seen, along with our Social Worker were seeking a solution that would allow re-entry.  He was not judged as evil or bad but as a resident we/they truly cared about and wanted to see safe and happy.

They closely examined all the information we had about him, and finally pieces of the puzzle came together.  He was a boy of about nine when Nazi Germany occupied his country.  He had seen his best friend killed by soldiers.  He lived his youth in justified fear and in his aging mind he began to live in the reality of those days and at times could not distinguish between now and then.  We were unable to understand his ramblings in his native tongue at the time of ‘the episode’, but gradually some things became clearer.  He did not see himself as the aggressor but a victim.  The staff in uniform he viewed as the enemy.  He was not trying to commit suicide when trying to get out of the window –a consideration that had to be made if only to rule it out – but was trying to escape danger. It is interesting to note that while the committees and Drs. insisted this fellow had no violent episodes in hospital, a quiet chat on the side with staff actually doing the care revealed that he was  not violent because he was restrained physically and pharmaceutically, something that is prohibited in Long Term Care Facilities.

What happened is that a bed became available on one of our secure units and he was admitted there.  More staff specially trained in cognitive function and dysfunction embraced his welcome and for a while he was fine.  Eventually he was moved to another secure unit and again in time began resort to aggression again.  By that time I was on my way out and the solution lay with other brighter fresher minds.

The purpose of telling that story is to let you know the potential for deadly action and reaction by Residents is there every day, and the solutions are not so easy.

When something like this happens it becomes a blame game.  The unions, in this instance CUPE, starts yelling about needing more staff, the administration gets blamed for non-action on Ministry findings *and let me tell you there is a lot wrong with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario who list findings of non-compliance which may in truth be minor or major but are at times like this with no regard to severity.  As a matter of fact I believe their standards were created to CYA (cover your ass) or actually their asses when something does go wrong.  ‘Not our fault’.

Too much in Health Care today is about finger pointing somewhere else instead of taking responsibility.

Unions, or anyone else who pounds their fists and shrieks when an incident occurs, take the easy way out.  More Funding.  More Staff.  More more more.  I would suggest in fact that MORE is not what we need.  I would suggest that every level right down to the front line direct care level has become about, ‘Not our fault’.

I would suggest that layers of management structured to justify position and documentation need to be stripped bare. 

RNs need to be back on the floor, not doing QA reports, company reports, ministry reports, but front line assessing and directing care, teaching, coaching, and mentoring.  The MOHLTC has made reflection of care an idiots game of using the right words or turn of phrase and God help you if you fail to put it ‘just right’.  Documentation does not reflect care, it is purposefully complex.  Get back to basics.

Staff in this current case documented over a long period of time the violence and potential violence of this particular gentleman – their way of saying, ‘not my fault’.

Senior administration will blame those below who will argue, well we told you.

People are so busy justifying and avoiding blame or responsibility the actual front line care is compromised.  When a budget has to be cut it is the front line that suffers.  This is a truth, and the fact is that somewhere above that front line another position for the justification of moneys will probably be created.

I believe the surprise at this deadly event is not that it occurred but that it has not occurred more often.

For many people old age and dementias of one sort or another leads them to live in a younger time, not just in memory but in actuality.  Many years ago one woman in LTC would shriek absolutely terrified during her shower.  It turned out she was a survivor of Nazi death  camps which gave the term ‘shower ‘ a whole new meaning.  There are still survivors of wars who relive those events again and again.  Residents who never experienced war but lived through spousal abuse relive the moments.  The good old days for many are in fact the bad old days and once they take up residence in those aging brains the reality changes.

The company who owns this particular Home is a good company, they have to be to have survived and thrived in this particular atmosphere that challenges and prevents really addressing the problems.

All I can say is don’t be too quick to judge or believe anything written or reported in this situation.  We don’t know the specifics and the answer is not clean and neat.

Long Term Care in Ontario needs a completely new approach, one so daring that it might undermine the comfortable justification not my fault approach of today.  Somewhere out there are people who know what has to be done and hopefully they will be brave enough to step up and take on the misguided leaders and politics in this very sick system.  Just remember that in spite of this – good care is being delivered, Residents are being kept safe.  But I do find myself wondering if this is just because of plain old dumb luck or if perhaps we will be brave enough to make the changes.

One thing I am pretty sure of – good care and safety are a result of our front line workers who persist under a cumbersome system because they do really care.

Scottish Invasion Recedes, Next Step Winterpeg

Well, Monday and ‘Oh the Plots We Weave’ has come and gone.  Not much news to have fun with anyway around here in these suddenly less summery and more autumny kind of days.  As my friend Celi called it yesterday in her post ‘that gentle late summer slide.’

There have been body parts showing up in the Mississauga and Toronto area and the school teachers may end up going on strike (again) which will delay the start of the school year but no wonderful ‘what ifs’ to get from any of that.

Our fave cuz has returned to Scotland taking with her some fine memories and leaving a strange void which will take time to get over.  This dear gracious woman left Saturday past to race back in hopes of enjoying some remnant bit of summer that had eluded her until she arrived here.  Well not entirely true.  After a couple of months of daily rain showers on the home front she looked forward to the 30 degree heat wave we boasted. Until the day her plane set down in Toronto bringing with it our very first thunderstorm of the season.  The funniest part was the morning she awoke, checked FB to see her son had written that it was nice to wake up and not have his sunburn hurt.  It seemed old Sol made an appearance just as she left.

Actually the weather was pretty good here and did not rain on our parade too much and it sure was nice some of that brown earth actually turned green and at times lush.

So now here on the mountain I get ready to leave to visit friends in Winnipeg and will fly out early evening for 8 days.  Now Winnipeg  is the capital of Manitoba just less than a thousand miles to the west of us. They have branded themselves ( according to one site) as the cultural cradle of the country.  I am not sure that is entirely the case – whether it is more so or less so than a hundred other locations in Canada.  The French were the first settlers in 1738 and named it Fort Rouge.  Almost a hundred years later it was renamed Fort Garry and finally after 150 years of messing around between the First Nations, the Metis, the French and the British it became Winnipeg in1873, which is a much better name since it so easily converts to its winter ID – Winterpeg.  Wikipedia states that Winnipeg is the coldest city in the world with a population of over 600,000 based on the average night-time temperature from December to February, inclusive.

It is of course my intention to be and gone before any suggestion of winter winds appear.  I have not seen, (other than Skype) these dear friends for more than a year.

Posting may be sporadic – but I will be thinking of  you and post as soon as…..

Oh by the by …my friend Joss is preparing for a big exam please do stop by and cheer her on!

Oh the Plots We Weave

I was all set today to post something light today catching you up on my week with the felines.  The fam got home from vacation today but the feline population seems to be intent on staying with me.  Perhaps they think it is just a dream that their loving family is back.

Anyway as I was saying….an article in the paper caught my eye this morning and it has been weighing heavily on my mind since.  Not just the story but the questions it raised.  First I want to ask you – can you take a look at your life and figure out who writes the plot and directs your life?  Are you in charge of  your life?  Do you believe in fate?

There have been events in my life where I have definitely felt the strong hand of fate but then I get wondering, if I believe in fate does that automatically mean I believe in predestiny and if so does that mean we have no control over our lifes?

Something happened on Friday.  A young woman named Jessica Ghawl at the age of 24 was one of 12 people killed when Jason Holmes decided on a killing spree at a theatre in Aurora Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises movie.

This in itself is horribly sad  and one thought is, how awful to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But there is more.

This same young lady was in Toronto last month when there was another killing spree at the Eaton Centre and she missed it by  3 minutes changing her mind on a certain course of action.  She had planned on shopping and then sushi and for some unknown reason changed her mind at the last minute, decided on a burger and left the shopping mall.

If she had gone for shushi she would have been one of the victims.  Afterwards she said she could not identify the feeling in her chest, the odd feeling in her chest that saved her life.

I remember a case a few years ago when a man missed his plane and that plane ended up crashing.  Sometime later he died in a crash anyway – I think it was a car accident.  I think the movie Final Destination dealt with this type of thing to the ridiculous extremembut my point is it happens.

Have you ever changed your mind on a course of action due to an unexplained feeling or thought?  Has it ever completely changed the plot of your life?

I guess there are more questions than answers in this post none of which could be answered in just a few words.

12 people dead and 70+ injured.  Hundreds of lives changed – perhaps thousands.

*Someone mentioned to me that the guilty party will probably be deemed insane and get off.  So the only other comment I will make is that I believe, sane or insane we must all always be responsible for our actions.  Insane?  Drunk? Incapable of good judgement?  Oh that’s too bad.  You still have to pay.  Just my opinion.

Hairy Start

HAIR

I woke up to the song ‘Hair’ this morning (Feb. 29, 2012) famously from the musical of the same name and was immediately transported to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in December 1969.  I can actually feel the ermine, the butterflies and the tingles plus a bit of a blush.  What, you don’t remember any of that from the show?  Well, let me explain.

In 1969 I was a tiny wee slip of a girl who although a bride of a few months remained pretty virginal in several ways of the world.  Hair has been called The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot.  It was quite revolutionary at the time with its clear anti-war, pro-drug, complete integration and freedom of sex message.

Now the ermine was a coat I wore.  My then sister-in-law Lynne had inherited an ermine coat from an aunt.  The aunt was quite short and for her was knee length but on us fit perfectly in the miniskirt fashion of the day.  We dressed up for the Royal Alex (in those days everyone did) and I encouraged her to wear the coat but she could not as her husband forbade her to wear it for fear someone they knew would see her and think they had more money than he let on to the public.  (I never noticed it in him but I guess he was one of those, ‘I’m so poor’ people.  To what end I am not sure) however……  so I wore the treasure and sat watching the show as I stroked the sleeves and thought..hmmm I was meant to wear ermine.

While many of the critics embraced the revolutionary play it was protested by church groups in Indiana where the issue was not the depravity of the message but the nude scene and city authorities suggested the cast wear body stockings.  Many theatres were closed rather than present the musical.  It was given some dignity by the presence of power.  Princess Anne who was eighteen at the time was seen dancing on stage and in Washington Henry Kissinger attended.

Hair has been quoted as being responsible for the end of censorship worldwide.  Much has been written on its social, cultural and legal impact but on that evening it was just two young ladies stepping out in high fashion to enjoy great music and shocking story and scenes.  This was the very first live production for me and of course I purchased the LP (long playing record for those who…uh never mind), and I am sure that to this very day I can sing most of the lyrics.

So when ‘Hair’ rocked me from the sleepy saddle of slumber this morning, for a few moments there, time travel did exist.

She asks me why, I’m just a hairy guy
I’m hairy noon and night, hair that’s a fright
I’m hairy high and low, don’t ask me why, don’t know
It’s not for lack of bread, like the Greatful Dead, darlin’

Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas, in my hair
A home for fleas, a hive for the buzzing bees
A nest for birds, there ain’t no words
For the beauty, splendor, the wonder of my hair

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

I want long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/h/hair-lyrics/hair-lyrics.html%5D
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spahettied

Oh say, can you see my eyes if you can
Then my hair’s too short
Down with here, down to there
Down till there, down to where it’s stuck by itself

They’ll be ga-ga at the go-go, when they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond, brilliantined, biblical hair
My hair like Jesus wore it, Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son, why don’t my mother love me?

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair

(Thanks to Wikipedia.org)

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