We live in times that are fraught with danger, more so than usual. We’re seeing things happening on our TV screens, in the news and sometimes right in front of us on the street that are dark, disturbing and just make you stand up and take notice. With 40 days before the presidential election in the United States, we’ve seen a lot of those sights and they are escalating. Things are getting worse and it has many worried about where things may lead there.

Living next door in Canada we can’t help but pay attention to what’s happening to our south. How can we ignore a potential failed state on our doorstep, potentially hurtling towards more political violence or worse? As Jen Gerson correctly put it the other day, a descent into civil conflict in the United States could quickly blow any plans our government may have announced in Wednesday’s Throne Speech right out of the water.

While all of that is true, we can’t ignore what is happening here at home. The fact is that while we’re seeing armed vigilantes and militia groups in the United States taking to the streets and storming state houses in full military gear, we’re seeing some of our own disturbing sights at home. Last night one such sight made its way around Twitter, and it was one of those things that made me sit up & take notice:

That whole series of videos struck a chord with me for a few years. I have worked in the Parliamentary Precinct for over a decade now and I’ve seen many protests. I’ve seen protestors harass and or yell at politicians and journalists, some in aggressive manners. But that was something beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. That idiot was trying to “arrest” a respected journalist who he mistook for an MP for the apparent “crime” of refusing to believe the crap he was spewing. And as that video shows, he just didn’t let it go. He harassed him the whole way down the street all while someone who I assume is his equally idiotic sidekick recorded it. That went on for two blocks right in the middle of one of the best protected parts of Ottawa, with police and security all over. And after all of that, what exactly happened to these idiot wannabe vigilantes? This:

Yeah, this people tried to illegally detain a private citizen in the middle of the street and the police let him walk. That jumped out at me because that video was shot right outside of my bloody office. Now some might look at this and think “what’s the big deal here?”, which if you looked at it in isolation would be a legit question. But like most things, what happened last night didn’t happen in isolation. You see that man might have looked familiar to you because he’s the same idiot who did this back in the summer:

Yeah, this is the same idiot who tried to “arrest” the Prime Minister a couple of times back in July at Rideau Cottage. Of course that happened shortly after another armed idiot tried to storm the grounds of that same property armed to the teeth to “talk” with the PM. In all of these cases, the people involved have been spewing conspiracy theory crap about Mr. Trudeau and this creepily mistaken belief that they can just make citizen arrests of politicians right off the street. So while what happened yesterday as a single event might not have seemed like much, it’s part of a much greater pattern of dangerous behaviour that warrants much more of a response than the bloody Ottawa Police setting the idiot of committed it free.

Of course, this idiot is part of a slightly larger group of conspiracy theory spewing idiots who have been parked at the national war memorial for a long time now. In most cases, I wouldn’t have a problem with police ignoring such people but it’s clear that these people are escalating their behaviour. They are getting bolder and what exactly is it going to take for the police to take them seriously? We’re seeing what happens when those escalations happen in the United States daily on the news. If it’s not clear to the Ottawa Police at the moment, these people are inspired by the same conspiracy theories and crap that many of those same people storming state houses and shooting peaceful protestors in the streets have signed onto.

I look forward to hearing an explanation from the Ottawa Police about why it is that this person was released with a stern talking to after everything we’ve seen here, but in the meantime we need to take this as the warning sign that it is. We can’t continue to treat the threats that idiots like this pose in these dangerous times in our usual “ah, shucks” Canadian kind of way. We need the authorities to take people like this seriously and treat the threat they pose as legitimate. Protesting is fine, but what that idiot and those attached to him apparent seem intent on continuing to do is beyond protest or what is acceptable. I don’t want to find out what further escalation it might take for the authorities to take threats like this seriously because we are clearly in a dangerous time and those threats are not as idle as some might have thought in the past. We’re seeing in the US what happens when they are treated so idly, and I think we can agree that we don’t want to see that on our streets here at home.

UPDATE: Friday September 25th, 2020 @ 7:30 PM EST: Good Lord, it happened again, this time with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. This is crazy and dangerous, and it seems that after the Ottawa Police sent this idiot away with a “stern warning”, the message he got was that he could keep on doing this while making verbal threats.