Denial constantly evolves in order to fulfill its destiny, which is hiding the truth.
One form of denial claims: “I was just following orders,” and we all know what that was hiding. Another is: “I didn’t know.”
How is it possible, she asks, that neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t know why they were asked to join their President in his walk from the White House across Lafayette Square, upside down Bible in hand, to St. John’s Episcopal Church? General Mark Miley said he thought he was there to review National Guard troops, and Mark Esper said later, “I didn’t know where I was going.”
Which brings me to the Commissioner of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki.
How is it possible that she didn’t see the video of the beating of Chief Allan Adam before you and I did?
It’s instructive to discover who knew what and when:
Adam’s arrest took place on March 10.
On June 5th, Adam first made his claim of being beaten by the Mounties.
On June 6th, the Mounties said that what happened to him didn’t meet the threshold for an external investigation.
By June 8th, after Adam had posted a still photo of his face beaten to a pulp, the RCMP said there would be an investigation.
Last Wednesday, June 10th, Brenda Lucki claimed the RCMP may be guilty of ‘unconscious bias’, but not ‘systemic racism.’
On Thursday, June 11th, we all saw the tape.
By Friday, the Commissioner admitted that systemic racism exists in the 20,000-member force.
But it wasn’t exactly a full-throated admission: “I did acknowledge that we, like others, have racism in our organization, but I did not say definitively that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have.”
Really? You’re going to admit to having racism but not being racist?
And you expect us, the citizens of one of the most diverse and multi-racial nations not only in the world, but in the history of the world, you expect us to let you thread that rusty needle?
But the bigger question is, why didn’t you ask to see the video the morning after Chief Adam was arrested?
He isn’t just any Indigenous citizen; he is a Chief. He has power.
If not you, why didn’t your deputies ask for the tape? And if they saw what the world has now seen, why didn’t they say: “Commissioner, perhaps you should look at this”?
Why would her communications staff let her go on national TV knowing she would be asked about the incident without having decided for herself if it was worthy of investigation?
This wasn’t some third-party video, though there were plenty of those that night outside the casino in Fort McMurray.
It was a dashcam video from the RCMP car at the scene. It’s RCMP property. They. Own. It.
No one expects a police force to be a gossip column.
But the RCMP’s denial of reality, its mantra of “I didn’t know” is so profound that it threatens to make us mock our national police force instead of revering it, or even just supporting it.
This isn’t Don’t ask. Don’t tell.
It’s much worse: it’s Don’t look. Don’t tell.