While the family was picking out candy in the shop behind me, I was watching the birds, and the people go by. Then the birds started going, on the people. Bye!
Magpie 1, Man’s jacket 0.
The context of the “joke” might change my opinion slightly. It’s sort of sad that some kids are so isolated as to not recognize scat, and its inedible quality. Were it not for the melodramatic handling of the parents, they might come to laugh about it some day.
Should the staff and chaperone be disciplined? Probably, yes. The poop shouldn’t have been collected into a bag if the intent was a crude and potentially unsafe practical joke. Context would have helped the children identify the true identity of the moose scat. Is it the end of the world for them? It shouldn’t be, unless there are other issues that this one built on top of, then I could see why the parents reacted the way they did.
I recall my little cousin from Richmond Hill coming up to me with a round disc from a field we were searching for fossils. He asked if the disc he was holding in two hands was a fossil, and I said, “No, that’s a cow patty.” Blank stare. “Cow poop.” Well, he tossed that poop across the field in a hurry at that point. Shit happens.
“Don’t shit or piss in the park.” It’s not the first thing you’d expect to hear from a city Councillor in an informal chat about Occupy Regina. It’s not even on the top ten. But it was what I remember hearing first from Councillor Clipsham. Perhaps that’s because he repeated it several times. I asked him if it was his position or the City’s, and he said City’s. The City’s uncrossable line is that there must be no case of a person pooping in the park, or the Constitutional rights of the other protesters to assemble will cease to be a priority. That’s what I got from the conversation.
I said I don’t want to see anyone pooping in Victoria Park, but since he brought it up, and humans have animal needs, why aren’t there more all-season public facilities for the public to access at times the Library isn’t open. He said I was changing the subject. Staying on the topic of public defecation, I wondered aloud what public washrooms looked like 80 years ago, and if there were more or fewer of them. Again, I was told I was changing the subject. He then asked what I thought about democracy. Since the Councillor had just given a decent definition of participatory democracy and its importance, during his brief formal speech to the crowd that night, I echoed his sentiments. Then I said that protestors are participating in democracy, and are doing it for both themselves and for those who do not have the means, in order to object to a political system they feel no longer represents their interests.
Because I used the word “but” in my objection to his line in the sand, he said I’d “lost him” right then. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask why there aren’t public toilets around most parks, when a politician brings up public defecation as a reason to shut down a global political protest. I didn’t notice this problem just tonight. Tourist destinations need bathrooms that are not all inside commercial properties. It also makes no sense to have a 10:00 p.m. park closing time, while the BID wants to revitalize the downtown nightlife.
Since he referred to me by my screen name Saskboy, I have to assume that he understood that I might talk about our discussion on my blog. My wife, April (who happens to be a truck driver’s daughter and is well versed in the cursing vocabulary), had the unfortunate experience of being there to hear this absurd conversation with Councillor Clipsham, and had to pick her jaw up off the floor. After I saw her “not happy” face (which I get occasionally…) I knew he had it coming. She sort of laughed to herself and said, “We were talking about why they are in the park. Their point isn’t to shit in the park. What does that have to do with the reason they are there?”
I also remarked that it was kind of random to bring up park pooping. The Councillor asked, “Yeah, what is the point?”, and we could only ask the same question in return since we hadn’t brought it up in the first place and were unclear as to the point. He soon after excused himself from the discussion, I shook his hand saying it had been a pleasure to shoot the shit with him, and I proceeded to have less notable (but worthwhile) conversations with other citizens and Councillors.
Food for thought:
If an adult uses Depends in the park, does Occupy Regina get bulldozed? What if a baby is changed on the ground on the newly paved 12th Ave? Since the Councillor said it was okay if people were using chamber pots and emptying them properly, does that mean diaper use is also acceptable? Could a saboteur “pinch a log”, steal away without being pinched by the police, and then have the planted poop pinned on a protester? Probably.
The Occupiers have their shit together. There are experienced activists running for political office, and those who are coming for the first time to flex their participatory-democratic muscles. They know the system needs change, and not the impotent kind ushered in by Obama that leaves the 1% on Wall St. out of the courts and ready to offend again.