Everything was going fine until the day after I posted my last blog entry last week. I woke up the next morning in pain, which isn’t that unusual given I have spinal stenosis which is pretty bad in both my cervical and lumbar spine, but this was severe pain in my right shoulder. It was so bad I could barely drive my vehicle, and this was after taking pain killers. It isn’t the first time I have had tendinitis of the shoulder, but it seems every time it comes back, it is worse than the time before.
Using a mouse or track pad on my computers was impossible, not to mention typing. Although it is still quite bad today, I thought I would try to push out a blog post at the very least. To make matters worse, we are moving to a new townhouse and there is packing that needs to be done. I actually find the typing and computer use in general more painful than the packing and moving boxes. So at least I am of some use to get something done. I may not be getting many posts written in the near future, but hopefully I will get most of our moving done before the end of October.
To make matters worse in regards to our moving to a new home, our son who fell on hard times and had to move back with us and is now sleeping on our living room floor, wants to find a place and be moved out before the end of October as well. He has been back at work for a couple of months now and is making good money and can now afford to go back out on his own again. Our elderly neighbour also decided to move after she learned we were vacating our current apartment building. We have become quite good friends over the last three years and she wants to continue to live close to us. A few weeks after we found our new place, she found an apartment a few blocks away.
So there will be three of us moving in October. We are double paying for a month, but since it is our last month’s rent and it has already been paid for, we decided we would forfeit the extra month of rent and use the entire month to move, giving us plenty of time and hopefully alleviating any associated stress with moving. I personally prefer having an extended time to move rather than having to get everything done in a weekend or in some cases, a single day. When you are forced to rush when you are moving to a new residence, things get lost, broken, and misplaced. With a full month, you have plenty of time to plan everything out and decide what you are going to keep and what you will get rid of. You also have time to organize a couple of garage or yard sales and perhaps get a bit of coin for that stuff you want to get rid of and were only going to throw in the garbage anyway.
More than getting these moves over with, I hope that this tendonitis clears up. Last time it lasted for several weeks and took a bottle of Celebrex before it finally cleared up. So until that finally clears up this time around, the blog posts may be a little slow in coming, but I will try to get a few out each week going forward.
It happened around 8:50am this morning and became a day that many will never forget. An OC Transpo double decker bus went through a gated railway crossing on the OC Transpo transit-way while cars on the parallel Woodroffe Avenue waited for the oncoming passenger train to complete its travel through the railway crossing. Drivers on Woodroffe who saw the accident couldn’t understand why the bus was not slowing down to make the stop for the oncoming train. It appears that the gate for the railroad crossing as well as the lights were working as they should have.
Passengers on the bus indicated that there was shouting shortly before the impact for the bus driver to stop the bus. Some witnesses on the bus indicate that they felt the bus driver apply the brakes on the bus, but unfortunately, it was too late to stop the bus from slamming into the side of the passenger Via Rail train.
At the time of writing, there have been 6 confirmed dead and 34 injured with several of those people listed in critical condition as a result of the accident. Rescue personnel were on the scene within a few minutes and did an excellent job in securing the scene and getting those injured prepared for transport to nearby hospitals. The extent of the injuries sustained by many of the survivors is still unknown, but will probably be provided to the public in the near future as well as the names of those who were killed in the accident.
There has been a great deal of speculation by the media as to the possible causes of the accident, but it is far too early to determine what exactly could have caused the bus to hit the passenger train. We do know that weather was not a factor as it was extremely clear outside and temperatures were above freezing. It may be some time before we learn what the cause of the accident was and whether it was due to a mechanical or human error.
There was one troubling story that I heard of concerning the arrival of grief counsellors and a group of OC Transpo bus drivers that were at the nearby Fallowfield bus station. Apparently after meeting with grief counsellors, a group of OC Transpo bus drivers gathered into a huddle and then made it known that they were taking a week off the job, while receiving full pay, to deal with their grief. I am unsure how accurate the depiction of this story is, but if it is true, this is possibly one of the worst cases I have seen where a group of people use the misfortune of others for their personal gain. After all, there were most likely families that were torn apart with the deaths that occurred as a result of this accident. Using such a tragedy for personal gain is just irreprehensible.
It is going to take some time for people to get over this horrific accident and the last thing people will want to see is such a tragic event being used for personal gain. If it turns out that the bus driver is found to be at fault, the City of Ottawa is going to be on the hook for a large sum of money to settle the civil court cases that will undoubtedly come about. We live in a litigious society where people expect to be compensated for damages they incur along with costs for pain and suffering. In such a case where negligence could be the cause of such mayhem, I would also sue.
No matter what events transpire in the future over this accident, I hope that lessons are learned so that such a tragedy does not happen again.
Photo courtesy of SFGate
It’s been several years since the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by terrorists who used commercial jets to do the job. Even though the event took place 12 years ago, I still remember what I was doing that fateful morning like it was yesterday. I’m sure that many others also remember what they were doing that day as the events that transpired that day were so horrific they would be difficult, if not impossible to forget.
That morning I returned home from an overnight shift where I was working as a technical support representative. I had actually been at the job for a year after being told I could no longer work in the mining industry due to back injuries I had sustained during my tenure in that industry. The transition from hard rock miner to technical support representative was a difficult one, but I managed to do fairly well at it and eventually, through several promotions, made it to client services manager after five years of hard work.
When I arrived home that morning, I made myself some breakfast and turned on the television to watch the national news program that is on every morning. I was home by myself as the kids were at school and the wife was at work. I recall hearing the breaking news announcement that the a plane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. At first I thought that the plane was a small one such as a Cessna or similar aircraft. There wasn’t much additional information at the onset regarding the first plane that struck the tower. Many of the comments regarding the matter on the various news channels suggested it was an accidental hit, but given the clear and bright weather conditions, how such an accident could happen was being questioned. With only the one tower being struck, there wasn’t a lot of conversation that it could have been a terrorist act. I know I was leaning towards the aircraft strike on the tower as something terrorist related given the history of the twin towers and other terrorist acts committed or prevented in the past.
When the second plane hit the south tower, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the act of terrorists. Some newscasters on the other hand were talking of the coincidence that two planes could have hit the towers. I couldn’t believe some of the comments I was hearing regarding the plot that was unfolding that this was possibly an accident. It took a few minutes after the second plane hit the tower before the matter was labelled as a terrorist attack. I recall calling my wife at her job and telling her of the news that was unfolding and asking if she had heard anything about it at her place of employment. She indicated she had heard some talk, but wasn’t sure what people were talking about. There was then the crash of another plane in the Pentagon building and another plane that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania killing everyone aboard. It was a tragic day for certain and one many of us had never experienced before.
After watching everything unfold for a couple of hours, I decided I had to get some sleep for my next night shift. I went to bed around 11:30 that morning and remember hearing the complete silence. The international airport here in Ottawa was about 3 kilometers due east from where we lived and we were on the direct flight path for the east-west runway. We were used to hearing the planes fly over us many times a day, but now there was an eerie silence. It was a silence I had never experienced before while living in that area of the city. And it wasn’t just the silence of airplanes flying overhead, but the silence seemed to expand to all other vehicles as well. I think for a few hours, there was a substantial slowdown of all traffic making for a silence I had never experienced before in any city or town I have lived in.
It will certainly be a day I will never forget and I believe I speak for many others as well. This was a terrorist act that dwarfed all others to date on North American soil. Every September 11th I look back on the events of that day and I’m glad that such another event has not happened again. The world is far more violent than it needs to be and unfortunately this violence can sometimes spill over into our backyards. Hopefully such an act will never happen again.
So is it necessary when more than one police officer has an individual down on the ground for one of those officers to start punching the subject in the head while he is pinned down? There was an altercation between some people at the bar Tequila Jacks on Clarence Street in the Byward Market area of Ottawa to which police responded late Friday evening. Apparently the subject who was punched repeatedly by the officer in question had earlier punched an officer in the face causing bleeding of the officer. This is the man that is seen in the video being punched in the head by the Ottawa police officer. Witnesses to the event that transpired say that the arrival of the police actually made matters worse as it appeared the issues were calming down prior to police arrival.
I can understand the need to subdue the individual to prevent any further harm to officers or other people in the area, but once he was pinned to the ground I don’t believe it was necessary to repeatedly punch him. Put the cuffs on him and continue on with the processes necessary.
It is this type of behaviour by police that can lead to severe injuries or even deaths of people being arrested. Police need to keep their cool and do their jobs in an efficient and professional manner. Earlier this summer we saw what happened to an 18 year old in Toronto when a police officer there opened fire on him while he was on a streetcar. The officer fired nine rounds from his service revolver and once the subject was down, he was then hit with a Taser. One would think that the use of weapons would have been the other way around with the Taser being used first.
I can appreciate that police officers are human and make mistakes, but they are trained for this type of confrontation and how to de-escalate such events. We hear far too often stories of police officers who are on some type of power or ego trip and take it out on someone they are arresting. The police officer in Toronto may have screwed his life forever as he was subsequently charged for murder over the incident mentioned above. It will probably be some time before the matter goes to trial and we learn of his outcome concerning the murder charge he now faces.
You would think with the proliferation of camera phones that police officers would be more vigilant of their behaviour, but that apparently is not the case. I think that with cameras now being as small as they are, police officers should be required to wear one when on duty. This would not only protect the officer, but would also be helpful to the subject as well as be useful to provide documentation to the courts. What do others think about such a requirement? Chime in and leave a comment.
The US has stated that they have evidence that chemical weapons were used in an attack that took place on August 21st against citizens in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. It is estimated that more than 1,400 civilians were killed in the attack, including 426 children. Syrian officials however state that American backed groups were the ones who used the chemical weapons and not the Syrians.
American President Barack Obama stated earlier that military action against Syria would take place if chemical weapons were found to be used stating that chemical weapon use crossed a “red line”. Polls indicated the American public did not fully support military action by their country with a majority opposing such. Mr. Obama then sent the issue for a vote by Congress even though he could have brought in military action without such approval. Many other governments around the world have declined any military intervention.
Although the use of chemical weapons that the Syrian government has used against its own citizens is abhorrent, is it necessary for governments of other countries to intervene? The United States seems to want to step in whenever other countries are in conflict and have become the world’s peacekeepers getting involved in most conflicts between other countries. These interventions costs taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars when they occur.
I think that governments should not get involved in every crisis that comes about between other countries. Many of the countries that intervene in such conflicts have problems in their own countries that could use the money that is spent on conflict resolution in other countries. There is also the fact that these countries send their men and women into these foreign conflicts and often many of them do not come back home or come back crippled, unable to resume a normal life.
World leaders need to step back from feeling the need to resolve every conflict that comes along and pay more attention to the issues in their own countries. Here in Canada we have children that must go to school hungry and numerous homeless people because housing is often unaffordable due to low wages and unemployment. The money spent on military intervention in countries that are feuding for whatever reason, could be used to fix problems locally.
With the economy the way it is in many countries, spending countless dollars to resolve conflicts between other countries should not be a priority. Conflicts between countries happens far too often and in all likelihood will continue to do so. We send our men and women into these war zones in what are called peacekeeping missions, which turn out to be anything but peaceful with combat often occurring. These countries start these conflicts amongst themselves often with the expectations that other countries will step in to help them. Perhaps if we left them alone, they would find other ways to resolve their issues rather than gunfire. In some cases, intervention is not going to fix the issues anyway, so why get involved.
Given the results of polls taken, I believe I’m not the only one who feels this way. What do others think on this matter? Leave a comment.