Last week, Jessie Sansone of Kitchener, Ont., was arrested inside his children’s school when he arrived to pick them up after class. He was strip searched and thrown in a cell, while his wife was brought into the police station and his children taken by Family and Children’s Services. After several hours, Sansone was suddenly released with apologies, and told the entire ordeal was triggered when his four-year-old daughter’s teacher reported there may have been a gun in Sansone’s home. The basis of this allegation was a picture she’d drawn of her daddy shooting monsters and bad guys. Sansone is not a firearms owner, and the closest thing to a gun the police found after searching his home was a plastic toy.
The story received international attention, and the Waterloo Regional Police have reportedly been flooded with complaints about their treatment of an innocent man. Chief Matt Torigian has ordered an investigation, but wants to be very clear that this was a child safety issue, not a gun issue. Except that the chief, in an interview with local media, brought up the gun issue twice himself, saying, “There’s no disputing the fact that in this case, Mr. Sansone was arrested and detained because the officers believed he may have been in possession of a firearm” and “In the early stages, [Sansone] was suspected of being involved in weapons.’’
But, gosh, it sure didn’t have anything to do with guns. How’d anyone get that idea?Chief Torigian has done the right thing by calling for a review of the situation. There are serious questions about the conduct of his forces that need to be answered: Did the police do any investigating of their own before arresting a man, or take hearsay evidence with any effort at verification (given that Sansone was arrested for possession of a firearm before his home was searched, it would seem to be the latter)? Did the information given to police by school and child welfare officials amount to probable cause sufficient to warrant an arrest? Why was Sansone strip searched, something Chief Torigian admits is not standard procedure? He is quite right that if the people of Waterloo Region, half a million souls and growing fast, are to maintain faith in police, they need these questions answered in a transparent, accountable manner.
But the chief is not helping his cause any by denying what is self-evident — the teacher was alarmed by the gun, Family and Children’s Services called in the police because ofthe gun, and the police swung into action on the basis of Sansone apparently having a gun. Chief Torigian is being too cute by half when he tries to pretend you can have a neatly boxed child-safety issue over here and then a gun-control issue over there, cleanly separated into distinct issues. In this case, the non-existent gun was the child-safety issue.
And the chief’s efforts to pretend otherwise undermine his own claim that the Waterloo Regional Police “have nothing to hide.” If he wants to allay any concerns the public may have related to the appalling treatment accorded Sansone on the flimsiest of pretexts, a good place to start will be acknowledging the obvious — that Sansone was treated so harshly because police take cases involving guns very seriously. This is why they searched his house, even after admitting there was a mistake and releasing Sansone. The chief’s efforts to reassure the public won’t go very far if he insists on advancing the absurd suggestion that every time a teacher has cause to worry about a child’s home environment, the automatic response is to immediately arrest and strip one of the parents.
Sansone’s ordeal began when teachers and child-welfare officials rushed to judgment based on the flimsiest of pretexts. Those officials, too, must apologize and assure the public that such incidents will be avoided in the future. And if the police responded in good faith to exaggerated information put in their hands by school or Family and Child Service officials, that’s something Chief Torigian would be right to point out. It wouldn’t make what happened to Sansone acceptable, but it would certainly allow the police to plausibly claim they overreacted for honourable reasons. But even if they were told Sansone did have a gun, not that he may have, the conduct of the officers raises troubling questions. Before the public’s faith in the Waterloo Regional Police can be restored, they must be answered to the satisfaction of all.
Unbelievable, we as gun owners deserve respect, being a gun owner do not make us a criminal. Seems we need a NRA here in Canada with a back-bone.
We have an organization its called the NFA ( National Firearms Association) while not the powerhouse of the NRA it does good work.
The lesson we should take away from the Sansone case and others is that here in Canada there is a growing "Gun
phobia" and the mere mention of a gun or in the Sansone case the drawing of a picture of a gun by a child. Puts people into a frenzy.
This case is not isolated these incidents are going on everyday and its not with criminals its average people like us. Hunters and Recreational shooters are being lumped in with crooks and criminals.
As the politics become more and more left wing, society will being doing more to protect criminals and putting more and more restrictions on hunters and recreational shooters.
I am 52 now and I predict that in my hunting lifetime all forms ( shotguns, 22s, etc) of semi automatics and scoped rifles will become restricted. ( not able to be used for hunting.)
In Ottawa the discussions are already taking place.
It seems everyone should be made aware of problem that is arising. More people need to get active with groups like National Firearms Association & Delta Waterfowl. These groups have shooters and hunters rights at the top of their list. Unless people get off their ASS and do something we will all pay the price. I don't know for the life of me why Newfoundlanders don't care about loosing their rights to firearms and hunting and so on, they have no fight in them. They just don't care. This was evident when we tried to start a Federation for hunting & Fishing, again when I sought to see if there was any interest in a atv federation. I had 2 people respond, everyone wants trails but no one wants to pay for it. I'm sorry to tell you, you can't have one without the other. We are going to loose a lot of prime hunting, atving & snowmobiling when the new land development takes affect in St. John's
Everyone had better soon wake up.
we all take these privledges for granted and assume they will always be there. For those of us who have been around we have seen this erode. The example I always use are opinion polls we see everyday om web sites.
Vocm will for example Post news saying there was a ATV accident.
Next day theres a poll ... Do you think ATV rules are strict enough. ?? 90% of the people who respond dont own one or know anything about. But dollars to donuts Politicians are watching and reacting.
One that always rots me was when they decided to restrict the AR 15 because its a "Black Gun" I can own a Ruger ranch rifle, ( semi auto 223 but I cant own a AR 15, another semi 223) tell me gun owners were heard on that one.
There is no cure for stupid
if the antis got there way your mini 14 would be restricted and so would springfeild m1a and nerinco m305. They think that only police should have semi auto guns.We can't even protect our familys or ourselfs from invaders into our homes with a gun.If you point a gun at someone that breaks into your home you will get aleast 10 charges on your and a good chance of 5 year in jail.Yet cops arnt here to protect the people there here to protect the govorment from the people.That and the stupid laws of making you need a att to bring your handgun to a range cuz thats the only place you can shoot the thing. Yet that peace of paper will save lives if you go nuts as with the regastration of restricted and probhiateds. We should be alowed to own w/e ever gun we want and shoot it in where ever we want long as we are being safe about doing so.People like us fallow the laws. But do u think that will stop some gang banger from unpinning his mags from 5 to the full capaticy they can go no it wont. They need to stop wasting money on lawabiding people and put that money into stopping criminals with more cops.
Isn't this an old story? Still however, I agree, not looking good for the waterloo police dept.
I believe it was Februrary of this year it occured. I copied and pasted from the newspaper article from that time.Instead of the link to same add.
Its a bad reflection on not only the Waterloo police department but also everyone who reacted to a hand drawn picture by a kid.
Goes to show the gun phobia thats growing across Canada.
But of course we dont need to go to Ontario to see it. Its alive and well here in Newfoundland.
It's hard to believe something as dumb as this could actually happen. Between this story and that other one that was posted here a while back about a guy's (Ian Thompson) house being fire bombed and him being charged after trying to defend himself you have to wonder about these police departments.
But personally I don't think we are going to have hunting rifles restricted in Canada ever. Not because there are not people in the country who might want to do that but because it would be political suicide. Left or right it doesn't matter your political career would be over. There are a lot of gun owners in Canada.
The NRA are a joke in my opinion. There website would make Goebbels blush. And the NFA is not too far behind. Everything they post is designed to frighten you into thinking the government is going to take your guns. But now of course they are trying to convince everyone that the UN is trying to take your guns. It's all BS. You can follow the entire UN small arms treaty online, it has nothing to do with domestic gun laws but the NRA/NFA would like you to believe it does. So you will give them your money! PETA does the same thing, play on peoples emotions and you can make big bucks.
I can't really follow you Fred when you say that the left want to protect criminals and restrict guns. I don't think it can be stated so generally. Protecting individuals rights and freedoms is usually what the right wing is all about and that would have to include criminals and victims. It's difficult and some times an uncomfortable balance but it has to go that way. Ironically the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which is what the right claims is the reason Canada is soft on crime) was used in defense of Ian Thompson. As for the left and gun control? Maybe some left wingers do want it. I would probably be considered far left by some but I would never support gun control or any other infringement on our rights.
Every issue that comes up now seems to be polarized. Everyone seems to be myopic. We all generally agree that gun control is bad and we have only come to that conclusion through our own positive experiences with guns and we want to protect our rights which makes sense. But what do we say to some one who has only ever had terrible experiences with guns? If I lived in T.O. my whole life and my only experience with a shotgun was watching my brother get shot I would very possibly be for gun control too.
There is a middle ground here somewhere. And I wish we could have some open dialogue on this in Canada but it's all politics as of now.
Justin, are you seriously for no gun regulation? We have idiots running around now making everyone look bad and you think we should go on the honor system with automatic weapons and 200 round drums? You have a lot more faith in people then I do. And for what it's worth the function of the police is not to fight crime; it's social control and protection of some peoples property.
I cannot argue with points you make Tom, but unfortunately we live in a society that has to over compensate to left or right to arrrive at a common sense approach which is usually in the middle. As far as the NRA is concerned I believe that without them we would be enjoying a lot fewer benefits.
I will say however that I think you are underestimating the push towards restricting many of the firearms we use for hunting. It was only a couple years ago there was a push back against ' Semi " automatics. At that time it was introduced as ALL semi automatics including shotguns.
The new target is " tactical" rifles, anything capable of long range shooting. After all hunting is a personal thing and why would anyone want to be shooting an animal at 400 yds. ?
Make no mistake, that this fall while we are all enjoying our shooting sports that elsewhere people are trying to remove that right.
Your 100 % right on the open dialog unfortunately emotion always enters into it. As does politics.
Be it the NRA in USA or NFA in Canada it is the voice of people who use and own guys legally.
The challenge is not the Charter of Rights , its on our side. Whats against us are groups like the Police Chiefs Assoc who feel no one should own a gun for any reason. The can charge you and let Tax payers lawyers fight your bank account until eventually a judge rules in your favor, $1000s of dollars from now.
The fact that these events can happen shows exactly where the minds of most people are.
Time changes all things, in 1972 New Harbour had it last pothead drive. 72 animals driven into the Harbour and stabbed to death with harpoons. 40 years later it makes the news if some drowns a kitten. Public opinion changes.But I hope your right and I am wrong.
ummmm.... I hear of lots of guys making 400 yard pot shots at moose. That aside, this is a good discussion, some good points coming out of a number of you thinkers out there.
Good points Fred. Food for thought.