Dr. Dawg

Let's call off the lynch mob [updated]

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Franck Gervais.jpg

We don’t know what motivated Outaouais resident Franck Gervais to play dress-up on Remembrance Day, showing up at the Cenotaph posing as a decorated member of the Canadian Forces. But there are things that we do know.

Gervais seems clearly supportive of the military. In his CBC interview, which he did not seek out, by the way, he expressed precisely that, saying all of the right things. He was not present to disrupt the ceremony—far from it.

Kudos to the sharp-eyed vets who recognized the many things wrong with his get-up. A civilian would not have been able to do so with such haste. And was he wrong to pretend to be a member of the forces? Of course. In fact, it’s a criminal act. I have no difficulty at all with that: the uniform is an outward sign of hard work and commitment, and it is an earned honour to wear. It’s not a mere costume.

But righteous indignation, while understandable, should be constrained. Since this occurred, Gervais has received death threats, and his employer, knuckling under to demands that he be fired from the job that he’s held for twelve years, has suspended him, albeit with pay, pending some sort of investigation. He has been charged under the Criminal Code, and will appear in court next month.

At that time, we may learn more about why he did what he did. I suspect a minor human tragedy will be revealed then. He went to some trouble to assemble his military wardrobe. He was married in uniform, we are informed, and had constructed a fake past of military service. These are not the actions of a normal person. More to be pitied than censured, I think, and I, for one, hope the court agrees.

Meanwhile, I can’t help noticing that a double standard seems to be in play.

Harper soldier.jpg

UPDATE: How a lynch mob works: the authorities are always in cahoots.

Ottawa Police said Sunday that their investigation is ongoing and Gervais could face more charges.

“There are a lot of military and officers nationally that are very unimpressed with his actions that day,” Ottawa Police spokesperson Chuck Benoit told CTV Ottawa.

Let me also reiterate, in this connection, what I have already conceded in the comments: I was careless in my remarks about fake soldiers and the Criminal Code. The high regard in which many Canadians hold the military and their uniforms—and the feelings of the military in question—should not be determining factors in themselves. Simply affronting people with no hateful intent, in other words, should probably not be defined as a criminal act. Abusing the authority of the uniform, however, even by one’s presence (for example, in an emergency situation), is a different matter.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 16, 2014 1:14 PM.

Postscript: the casting-out of Hassan Diab as purification ritual was the previous entry in this blog.

Say what you will is the next entry in this blog.

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