So Robert Dziekanski’s mother has filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the four RCMP officers involved in the tasering and resulting death of her son at YVR. What a suprise. Isn’t it standard operating procedure to sue, sue and sue some more when anyone (or their family) find themselves in the midst of a high prifile event punctuated with death, suffering and tragedy? Don’t we, the taxpayer who end up paying for most of these lawsuits in the end, expect the victim will receive large quantities of money for real or perceived slights or injustices? Yes we do. And therein lies the problem.
My perception of the Dziekanski incident is clear. A grown man is, for some unexplained reason, unable to make his way to the exit area of a major airport (doesn’t that ring a few bells?) and it tasered by four incompetent, overly aggressive cops and dies of heart failure. It’s obviously the fault of the cops for tasering before asking questions or trying to resolve the situation but why was Robert Dziekanski, a grown man supposedly in control of his faculties, unable to make his way out of the airport and why did he become so irate and begin throwing chairs? Is this normal behaviour? Have you ever been frustrated in a public and resorted to chair throwing and yelling? Nope, me neither so what was the deal with this guy. The situation was a combination of events that culminated in the death of Mr. Dziekanski. An unfortunate situation to say the least but why does it always come down to a cash payout?
From the beginning of the protracted Braidwood inquiry I knew that it would all come down to money and Mrs. Dziekanski’s filing a week before the expiry of the two-year statute-of-limitations didn’t exactly come of of left field. It’s expected and rewarded in today’s litigious society where every tragedy has a price tag. Her lawyer, Walter Kosteckyj, probably had dollar signs in his eyes from the beginning and knew there would be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and waited patiently for his cut. They’ll all get their money (lots of it) and this sad event will disappear into our collective memories. And that will define Robert Dziekanski’s life and death.