When good people do nothing, evil triumphs.
And make no mistake, what happened to Raymond Silverfox in the drunk tank on December 2, 2008, was evil.
Taken into our custody by those sworn to uphold our laws, Silverfox was left to wallow in his own filth while his RCMP jailors watched and joked amongst themselves, wholly indifferent to his plight.
His cell was not cleaned.
He was offered no clean clothes, even though the detachment has them available. Instead, he was forced to sit in his own urine and feces.
And though he was moaning loudly, writhing in pain and regularly spewing dark vomit for hours, nobody offered assistance.
Instead, they mocked him to his face. And joked about his plight amongst themselves.
And then Silverfox died.
He was a sick man who died in pain on a filthy floor as his jailors joked about his plight.
There is no disputing these facts. A painful and wholly disturbing 13-hour video shown to a jury during the ongoing coroner’s inquest documented his suffering in vivid detail. It was so degrading it was not shown to the public at the family’s request.
And there will be those who try to excuse the police, suggesting they see this type of squalor and suffering so often that they become numb to it.
Of course, that is a nasty and specious argument that diminishes the work of the decent, compassionate men and women who still work for our national police force. And there are many of them.
But tragically for Silverfox, not enough of them.
Horribly drunk, Silverfox was brought into society’s custody for his own good. He died there, surrounded by police officers who offered him no assistance. The inquest will examine how he died, and how such deaths can be prevented in the future.
But all that is not really important.
What the inquest has revealed is how inhumane our police force has become.
Const. Daniel Bulford, Const. Shirley Telep, Const. Geoff Corbett, duty guards Craig MacLellan, Heather Valfour and Hector MacLellan, Const. Dennis Connelly, Const. Jeffrey Kalles, Const. Michael Muller and Cpl. Calista MacLeod- hired to serve and protect society – offered nothing to a sick man but snide remarks, contempt and, most troubling, indifference.
And the inquest will offer no solutions for that – that’s a far, far more troubling problem.
Silverfox died. And those officers were the last people he had contact with. Theirs were the last words he heard.
Think about that a minute ….
When you start seeing such widespread putrescent rot in a public institution, it is too late to fix the problem.
One wonders first how such decay began. Then, how far has it progressed?
Then, how to fix it?
Do you sever the digit? The limb? Or do you go farther?
Remember, evil triumphs when good people do nothing.
And doing nothing is no longer an option. (Richard Mostyn)