“All Inclusive”

My wonderful wife forced me into the fuselage of an airplane and I have ended up somewhere near the equator. I haven’t been anywhere warm in January in at least fifteen years unless you count the gas fireplace in our flat.

I looked at a map this morning as I thought it was important to finally know my whereabouts. I still don’t really know but I can see a large body of water from my balcony. Everyone is saying “hola” and “gracias” so I have eliminated the English Channel as the source of pollution. Watching people I have decided we are somewhere between the gulf of gluttony and the edge of excess.

This all seems different and disorienting. We are staying at an “all inclusive” which so far is an illusion. I thought our financial obligations were left with the travel agent but “all inclusive” so far means you don’t need a deposit for the view until it changes.

We only brought carry on luggage to make the airports a little easier. I dragged it through London International, Toronto Pearson and finally Cancun airports. When we landed at the resort our luggage was stolen by a little Latin man. He must have felt guilty as he showed up at our room an hour later. I gave him a gratuity in the hope of it not happening again. He must have told the other hotel employees as I can’t seem to yawn without yacking up an American dollar bill.

It’s basically our first day here but “all inclusive” does not include the bartender at the free bar, the person who brings beverages for the room fridge, the concierge and others who are breathing brochures, towel technicians, tequila transporters, the maintenance fellow who fixed the previously broken door, the security woman who fixed the previously broken safe, people who clear cutlery and the guy in the golf cart who gave me a ride while I was out for a walk. I even had to pay some person for their ideas of fun in the sun. Seriously, even if the drawstring on my bathing suit is double knotted is it really safe to have a dolphin push you through the water? Like; haven’t they heard of a canoe?

I got a little worked up on our first evening. We were trapped in our room as the door wouldn’t lock nor the safe. We were famished and tired. I ended up swearing at a Spaniard in English which felt good but was as pointless as confetti in a car wash.

When we arrived we had money for the safe but it is quickly disappearing. If I really wanted to keep our money safe I would carry a machete and hack off the hands of anyone wearing a hotel uniform. You might think I’m just a privileged penny pinching prick which isn’t far from the truth but it has turned into survival. According to the hotel we owe them thirty bucks if we lose a towel. I’m skimping and saving in the event of this. I figure all the people wearing hotel uniforms were once tourists who nearing the edge off bankruptcy in the game of gratuities lost their towel and are now indentured to the resort to pay it back. Possibly I shouldn’t worry as I would make more money here in tips than I do at home.

I saw an iguana with the guy on the golf cart so I’m pretending I’m on a safari which eases the suffering. Don’t feel sorry for me but hell is hot.

Johnathan Sher”lock” of the London Free Press calls himself an “investigative bulldog” all the while missing even simple hospital signage.

“Health Care: Ministry wants more done to protect nurses, patients in psych ward” was the headline on the front page of the London Free Press yesterday.

I have been a mental health consumer for over 30 years and I have never been on a “psych ward”. Apparently writing at a grade six level isn’t enough for the London Free Press and they have reverted to making up their own words. Unfortunately, these words carry meaning for many.

I would like to ask Johnathan Sher”lock” or his exaggerating editor which hospital they have observed signage directing the public to the “psych ward”? If a hospital has enough sense to be sensitive and current the same should fall to any reporter. I would not fault a reader for such references but an award winning health reporter should be ashamed and admonished. Sher”lock’s” misconceptions and sensationalism unfortunately have an effect on the general public. There must be a scarcity of space in the London Free Press and words like psychiatric need to be pruned. We all know it is on purpose. Sher”lock” and his editors have made a cheap attempt at an attention grabbing headline and the casualty is everyone who has, will have or is on a mental health journey. The social impact and perpetuation of stigma are incalculable.

Do we refer to the ICU as the Intensive Care Ward? Is there such a thing as a Neonatal Ward? Governments, organizations and individuals spend an inordinate amount of time and money to combat stigma and we have Sher”lock” and the London Free Press printing phrases that all but dismantle those efforts. There’s an award for that right Sher”lock”?

Sher”lock” calls himself an “investigative bulldog” all the while missing even simple hospital signage. I have a dog and all I know is it is full of feces twice a day. Thankfully the London Free Press does not have an evening edition. Often people’s misconceptions are solidified by headlines. A headline is a means to grab attention but it should be factual and current. Sher”lock” the “investigative bulldog” has stopped at the hydrant of hype and drenched the psychiatric community in stigma.

Johnathan Sher”lock” of the London Free Press reports that “Ontario’s Labour Ministry has ordered London’s biggest hospital to do more to combat violence and overcrowding…”

When I was being admitted to a jail I was placed in solitary confinement because the jail was at capacity. One of the female guards said “a full jail is a happy jail.” This is, was and always will be an oxymoron. I have been in lock-down situations and stacked three men to a cell and if my experience counts for anything the Labour Ministry, London Health Sciences Centre, Johnathan Sher”lock” and the London Free Press only need to understand one thing. If you address overcrowding you have little need to address violence. They are near being mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, I can speak to the issue of overcrowding, segregation and the suspension of privileges and personal privacy and freedoms. Each and all have an effect on any individual but they are amplified by symptoms and serious mental illness. If individuals with physical symptoms were exposed to a similar environment we would see similar behaviors. The violence occurring at London Health Sciences Centre is environmental more than mental. Psychiatric units under normal conditions are not a breeding ground for beatings.

If Johnathan Sher”lock” was truly an “investigative bulldog” he would have sniffed out reality. Possibly Sher”lock” could have sniffed out statistics surrounding violence in Alzheimer’s patients and individuals experiencing dementia. The psychiatric community holds no ownership on violence. Head trauma can also result in personality changes and problematic behaviour but we paint psychiatric patients with a brush we would not use on other individuals in society who are also vulnerable and compromised for fear that they might be tarnished.

Sher”lock” reports that the “Ontario Nurses’ Association this week accused the hospital and the Labour Ministry of sitting idle while attacks on nurses last year surged 20-fold..”

Firstly, I am saddened by this as my mother was a psychiatric nurse and during my journey I have met dozens of nurses who deserve safe working conditions for themselves and to accommodate the great work they do. My issue again falls to language. Sher”lock” has a legal background and the word attack does not appear in quotations so I can only assume legal relevancy flew out the door when they brought in sensationalism. People are not charged with “attack”, they are charged with assault. Call a spade a spade. Surely not all of these incidents were “attacks.” Any logical person would assume some of these incidents are a harmful or offensive contact with a person. I understand there have been severe incidents but to call them all attacks is stigmatizing and sensational. To use this language to invite change is one thing but to use it to sell a newspaper is prostituting language. Only an overzealous crown attorney or a defunct defence lawyer would refer to an assault as an attack. In a court of law inflammatory inferences are often objected to and sustained. A lawyer writing for a newspaper should also be reminded of their contempt.

The London Free Press needs to do more to ensure both codified and uncodified ethics and standards are followed.#MorrisandMeghan

Some fairly literate individuals told me that there was some kind of familial relationship between Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press and Meghan Walker of the London Abused Women’s Centre. I hope I’m not letting the “cat” out of the bag but this liaison worries me as a citizen of London. I wouldn’t want to call the objectivity of the London Free Press into question for they can do so themselves.

It’s none of my business what Morris Dalla Costa does with his business but someone in a somewhat removed position might want to inquire as to the access given to Meghan Walker and the London Abused Women’s Centre by the London Free Press.

How many quotes from Meghan Walker and the London Abused Women’s Centre have made it into the London Free Press lately and in the last decade? How many questions were asked? How many journalists at the London Free Press are free enough of Morris Dalla Costa and his legacy to slide a toe beyond political pushing’s and mandates to cast a fair eye to the workings and dealings of the London Abused Women’s Centre?

What is the relationship between the London Free Press and Meghan Walker? Is what goes into and comes out of the London Women’s Abused Centre fairly scrutinized? How does the London Abused Women’s Centre translate into action? In what way does the London Abused Women’s Centre assist and accommodate unproven victims? What is the rate of conviction for cases that the London Abused Women’s Centre is involved with? What services are available to men who are in abusive relationships in the city of London? Is the relationship between Meghan Walker and the London Free Press creating favouritism in reporting?

Should a journalist use their position and the resources of the newspaper they are employed by to present, promote and publish their partner’s personal agenda? I’m not saying Meghan Walker is using the London Free Press to substantiate and disseminate her personal beliefs but I am convinced her partner has done and is doing something similar. How else do you explain someone whose sentence structure revolves around sports scores and standings vehemently voicing and in fact attacking individuals with views that differ from his partner?

To paint a similar picture, what if Morris Dalla Costa was married to the mayor? Would Londoner’s be given a clear view of mayoral mismanagement or would we have to swallow matrimonial musings? What if Morris is an abused husband? It becomes difficult to be objective. If ever Meghan Walker or the London Abused Women’s Centre become involved in something disreputable who will cover the story? Morris Dalla Costa? Morris’s colleagues?

If only for optics the London Free Press needs to make a substitution and place Morris in the bleachers.

The more someone is displayed to the justice system as a victim, prior to proof, the more someone is then presented as a perpetrator, prior to proof. We need to assist individuals who have been harmed but care must be taken not to lubricate litigation?

I’m not much of a reporter. It was my father who was the editor. I’m sure he would have altered a few of my words but I think he would have asked similar questions. My father once told me of having to deal with pleading parents who wanted him to omit “Johnny’s” name from the court news. He published the name of someone I knew once but I did not approach him with similar pleadings because I was aware of his integrity and that of his newspaper.

Outside of an editorial piece a newspaper should not be a personal playground for opinion. Readers become confused by what is fact and what is fancy. Londoners deserve and expect fair and accurate coverage of all individuals, organizations and events. Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality and fairness are cornerstones of journalism, not hurdles.

I hold the London Free Press responsible for turning the Bill Cosby affair into a circus. I am saddened that the London Free Press slipped into the seat of juror number five but what is worse is that they chose themselves for this duty and returned with a version of the verdict without hearing all the evidence.

As a community and a society we depend on journalists respecting the presumption of innocence. When journalists become judges, courtrooms become carnivals and the mob mentality of medieval times manifests itself as a modern form of justice.

In my opinion readers of the London Free Press have been deliberately manipulated with selective reporting. To maintain public trust the London Free Press must be independent and accountable.

After insulting me Morris Dalla Costa blocked me from viewing his official London Free Press Twitter account. Is that what they call “yellow journalism”? Obviously Morris is shy on wit but I would have assumed a sportscaster would be a good sport. Thanks for forfeiting the game.

In my opinion the London Free Press needs to start using all the crayons in the box. Any child will tell you that to do otherwise make interpretation next to impossible.

Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference. I am unsure if Morris Dalla Costa blocking me from his London Free Press Twitter account is interference but it is surely not accessibility. To do so in the event of harassment is understandable or even necessary but my communications were only civil. His basis for doing so seems to be a disagreement in values which in my opinion is healthy to both democracy and freedom. If we look critically at the coverage of the London Free Press it is not difficult to find media bias and sensationalism. Neither serves justice or democracy.

I don’t care what Morris muses over his morning coffee but his duties as a journalist require professional integrity. Without it his credibility and that of the paper he represents crumble.

In the case of calling me a “sheep” in an official London Free Press Tweet it should have fallen to another employee to implement independent fact-checking. Preferably one who does not sleep with Meghan Walker. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.

Journalists are required to be judicious about naming criminal suspects before a formal filing of charges. There must be a balance between a criminal suspect’s right to a fair trial and the public’s right to be informed. This I did not see.

The London Free Press must earn and maintain their reputation by implementing ethical standards. If ethical standards have no place with the London Free Press readers should be informed so the puppy can pee on the paper prior to perusal. The coverage applied by the London Free Press to the Bill Cosby case was not far from tabloidism. If the London Free Press is entertainment rather than news I apologize and will wait patiently for coverage on Elvis sightings.

The London Free Press needs to do more to ensure both codified and uncodified ethics and standards are followed.

I usually flip to the back of the textbook for answers but again, I would suggest keeping Morris Dalla Costa on the sidelines.

I could call myself a victim of sexual abuse but that is not how I perceive myself nor do I wish to make my experience into something beyond what it was and is.

I haven’t had too much positive feedback from my latest argument that mob justice in media, community action or people using their positions to promote their opinions becomes problematic for more vulnerable members of society.

Some people seem to think I’m some kind of misogynist. My blog is closer to being a misandry march but who has the time for that. I have even had people make assumptions about my experiences and understanding regarding what these women may have experienced. In my world sexual abuse doesn’t have anything to do with being a man or a woman.

I could call myself a victim of sexual abuse but that is not how I perceive myself nor do I wish to make my experience into something beyond what it was and is.

The man involved in my experience was a practicing physician at Ontario Correctional Institute. At this point no one knows everything that happened except him and me. I shared some of it once but I was not whisked away to the courts.

Being a prisoner of the Province of Ontario I really didn’t know what to do. It was during a portion of the admitting process. I had just been transferred to Ontario Correctional Institute and I was totally unfamiliar with the institution, its employees and my fellow inmates. My knowledge of the correctional system at the time was limited and if there was a safe or independent avenue to report the occurrence it was not openly expressed to me in any way.

I could have written a letter to my mother but all outgoing correspondence was read by jail censors. I could have written a letter to the Ombudsman but I did not know who to ask about Ombudsman confidentiality. I could have called my lawyer but she charged me about $75.00 for that service and I was in every respect penniless. I could have called any service of the province if I had access to that information. The only phone I had access to was in a public space and within ten feet of the guards station.

I’m not sure why an inmate would require anything near a physical with no outward symptoms or complaints. I know my rights today and I would likely attempt to decline such services in a rather boisterous way but I am also familiar with the correctional system and such requests often end up quelled.

I would have yelled rape but I wasn’t 100% confident that the guards I assumed to be somewhere near would have grabbed the right asshole. It might have just been the one doctor but it might just have been his turn. I discerned that it was best not to involve his friends. This doctor is probably dead now and I don’t hold a grudge. He might be in hell having a perpetual prostate exam but that has never been my prayer. The Spirit I believe in forgives all transgressions and transgressors. I don’t know much of the Bible so I use a few words I was taught as a child. Forgive me my trespasses and forgive the trespasses of others.

We often assume we have people figured out but it takes a lifetime to figure yourself out. Go figure.

Will the London Free Press be tweeting insults to all Londoners with opposing views or is this right reserved for Mr. Morris Dalla Casta?

Let me tell you about a cat named Morris.

It might be an oxymoron to call Morris Dalla Casta thin skinned but the London Free Press employee appears to be. I shared with Mr. Dalla Casta my thoughts regarding the mayor and the executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre. He seemed to disagree so I showed him the logic of the situation. This only angered Mr. Dalla Casta and he officially tweeted from the London Free Press insults, inferences and invention.

His first words were to call me a sheep. Perhaps Mr. Dalla Casta was without access to a dictionary while using an electronic device probably owned by the London Free Press to insult me. How many people in London, Ontario are openly blogging a view opposite the majority about the Bill Cosby situation? I don’t follow Mr. Dalla Casta’s claim that I mindlessly follow. Mr. Dalla Casta would likely wet his pants some of the places I have walked alone.

Mr. Dalla Casta’s next words were that I was afraid of change. How long have you been with the London Free Press Mr. Dalla Casta?

Morris also said I feel I am the status quo. I dont know much Latin so I Googled status quo. I am confused how a person could feel to keep things the way they presently are. Morris told me it was logic but it must be London Free Press logic. If Morris Dalla Casta did some research he would have learned that I am employed in changing the way things presently are.

The only thing Mr. Morris Dalla Casta was near being correct about was that I feel I am owed something. I feel I am owed an apology from Mr. Morris Dalla Casta and the London Free Press. If you want to reach me I only read the front page.

Did Megan Walker pause to consider that some Londoners might value due process and the right to be presumed innocent?

I believe any fair organization that benefits any citizen has every right to be supported by any who choose. Of recently I have become concerned with one of London’s community organizations. Specifically, Megan Walker and the London Abused Women’s Centre. Their public statements and actions have me concerned. I am a simple man but my vision of the situation is an uncharged American has been targeted by this individual if not this organization.

“To have him appear in public is inconsistent with the values of London,” said Megan Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre.

I don’t get out much but when did Mayor Matt Brown make Megan Walker the Value Commissioner?

Does the self-described radical feminist and executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre have a pulse on the values of London?

I’m afraid of someone who thinks she knows the values of London considering all the cultures, religions and experiences of a population in the hundreds of thousands.

Did Megan Walker pause to consider that some Londoners might value due process and the right to be presumed innocent?

I hope I don’t have to eat my words by finding out she has a PhD in values assessment. Is she going to try and tell Londoners what can appear on their Netflix?

What if I proclaim that having Megan Walker appear in public is inconsistent with the values of London? If what she thinks is valid and should be prescribed to the entire population of London why can’t I attempt the same? Lucky for Megan Walker I’m unlikely to be on FM 96 or at the helm of an organization with avenues and influence politically and with the press.

I am curious to know why Megan Walker appears to have an aversion to due process and the presumption of innocence. Both are for the protection of all citizens even her and the mayor.

Londoners who support the London Abused Women’s Centre have a right to ask Megan Walker:

Will the London Abused Women’s Centre be campaigning against uncharged Canadian citizens and if so what criteria will be used to decide on an appropriate action?

Are Megan Walkers public opinions to be considered the official position of the London Abused Women’s Centre?

What parts of the law will the London Abused Women’s Centre be supporting for the remainder of the charter year?

What documentation was used to guide the statements and actions of the London Abused Women’s Centre regarding this uncharged American?

Are their recent actions a precedent and what measures of proof will the London Abused Women’s Centre use as a guide to similar actions against Canadian citizens?

There is no need to win the battles of public opinion unless you thirst for something justice will not deliver.

Mayor Matt Brown needs to show the residents of London his official arithmetic. How many unproven accusations equal mayoral input?

London has become a circus of self-important and at times self-serving individuals who by measure of opinion have concluded the truth or even determined a verdict regarding what resembles an uncharged foreigner. I hope American’s will respect our process of law. I really don’t care what is said about Bill Cosby but I am concerned as a citizen of the city of London. I’m concerned that the mayorship is being used to serve the mayors personal opinions.

In his haste to propel himself into the publicity parade London’s mayor now needs to stand from his seat to answer Londoners. Will Mayor Matt Brown be acting and proclaiming publicly according to his personal opinions or worse, those of someone else with regard to Canadian citizen’s who are without charge? We have seen him perform with prejudice regarding this American; can Londoners or other Canadian citizens expect the same from his term of office?

I hope all ends well with this American saga but we need for a moment to freeze the situation. Bill Cosby is currently without charge. As a Canadian citizen is it my right to be unencumbered by the mayor of any city if I am without charge? Mayor Matt Brown has started the New Year with a precedent or is it a resolution?

Mayor Matt Brown needs to show the residents of London his official arithmetic. How many unproven accusations equal mayoral input? I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman or anyone in between but I think we should all be concerned with an elected politician using his or her office to engage with the process of law using opinion. Hopefully the mayor just has an issue with Bill Cosby but what if the mayor has an issue with you? Will the mayor be making a habit of commenting on Canadian court cases and or individual citizens who are without charge? What if the accused or even the injured is not a friend of the mayor or premier? Matt Brown is just Matt Brown but when he speaks as the mayor people consider some of it official. It is dangerous to allow politicians to use their measure of press to promote personal opinions. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that an elected official can influence public opinion. My worry is public opinion informing the process of law thereby contaminating it.

We are becoming a society of trial by Twitter.

Ontario Legislature like an episode of A&E with premier publicizing her opinions re: uncharged and presumed innocent American entertainer

Isn’t there a power plant to move or a windmill to pin to my horizon?

The Ontario Legislature is looking like an episode of Arts and Entertainment with Premier Wynne sharing publicly her opinions about an uncharged and presumed innocent American entertainer.

In a sense the premier is in our employ, though I do not pay her well. She didn’t make these pronouncements in her pajamas so there must be some officialdom to her speaking to the issue of Bill Cosby. If you and I are paying the premier to make public pronouncements about American judicial matters and things connected, who is running the province? A simple no comment is what we pay Kathleen for. Her ideals and senses are not necessarily shared by all Ontarian’s. Her opinions can either inspire or enrage and should be kept closer to pajamas.

I find it ironic that she has figured out the Bill Cosby saga but the power plant fiasco is a mystery to her. If the premier had any sense of transparency she would uncover some of her own dealings instead of the matters of American entertainers.

I don’t care what the premier says in her pajamas but my sense of justice includes hearing all of the evidence not what I find on Entertainment Tonight. I am not defending Bill Cosby I am defending what I see written in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I’m not sure why the Premier of the Province of Ontario wouldn’t apply the foundation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to her personal opinions but it’s too late to worry. Thankfully when she speaks in any capacity as a premier she is obligated to apply the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to her official pronouncements and dealings.

Dear London: To Take Action Against Bill Cosby Prior To A Finding of Guilt Undermines Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Why is Mayor Matt Brown dipping London’s paddle into the legal matters of an American citizen? Is it the city’s mandate to pressure or influence private contracts? For some reason there seems to be a lull of reality and the city or more specifically our mayor thinks he needs to officially speak to unproven circumstances. I am referring to the comedian Bill Cosby and the series of serious allegations against him.

There are cases where court proceedings seem pointless but as a civilized society we afford each and every accused the benefit of a fair hearing with rules for testimony. I don’t know what testimony has entered the public sphere but none of it has been examined using the American principles of fundamental justice. Nothing has been proven on a balance of probabilities civilly or beyond a reasonable doubt criminally.

Our governments and its institutions recognize Bill Cosby as innocent until proven guilty.

When we support a cause for justice it is counterproductive to ignore principles of law. To take action against Bill Cosby prior to a finding of guilt undermines our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter is not a menu from which we choose or ignore. It nears hypocrisy to call for equality rights while ignoring legal rights and it becomes difficult to bring about fairness and legitimacy to a cause if portions of our legal foundation are removed. Innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of justice and it is a clear premise of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why would we not apply the flavour of our Charter to an individual from another nation who is presently without legal charge?

When I was in high school they did not teach us that municipal mayors become involved with the legal affairs of American citizens. As a mayor Matt Brown has a legal position and one would hope that someone who makes bylaws respects the process of law in general. It would also be to his benefit to familiarize himself with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If our mayor starts his term and the New Year with words and positions which do not reflect the Charter I think he should step aside. One would think a mayor would recognize people as the law and Charter recognize and it is dangerous to make public statements regarding an American citizen whose affairs are nearing and entering the justice system. Does London need a lawsuit?

Mayor Matt Brown is a public official and it is his duty to act and speak according to the law not according to popular opinion. Maybe Mayor Matt Brown could do something productive and closer to his office like put a layer of ice on the rink at Victoria Park.