Corporal Michael Arbulic, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”, Excessive Speed and a Trunk Full of Dried Lizard Prostates
Sunday, September 15th, Photographer K. Miklossy received a phone call from an anonymous source at his home number, tipping us off to an upcoming court appearance and unpublished details around RCMP Corporal Michael Milo Arbulic’s excessive speeding charge, and one salient point – Corporal Perp was thought to be traveling at 200kph. Speeding is a hot button issue in British Columbia after the introduction of a 2010 law made roadside impoundments of vehicles 40 kph over the limit mandatory. Things have been getting pretty weird… bat country weird.
We’re a motorcycle outlet, a pretty small one at that, so anonymous sources likely from within the justice system if not policing organizations, RCMP collusion, court cases with observably pre-arranged deals, e-mails from Police Communications finger pointing at other organizations, speeding cops with trunks full of dried lizard prostates bound for the Guatemalan black market, self righteous traffic cops on twitter telling people to just drive the “goddamned” limit – swearing implied. Precede that with a score of TV, radio and newspaper interviews around our works on speeding and we’re deep in the weeds, we’re off the piste… Hell, we’re heading into gonzo territory.
We’ve been asking some uncomfortable questions, surely. Questions bigger media should be asking, and getting answers to. They have the resources and protections for it. No police press conference touting “speed kills” has yet ended uncomfortably with a CBC reporter asking, “If the excessive speeding laws circumvent the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with mandatory seven day roadside impoundments with no judicial oversight or burden of evidence, what does that imply for civil liberties in British Columbia?” Or, in the case of the Corporal, “What was the roadside decision process that allowed Arbulic to continue on unimpeded after being confirmed in excess of 60kph over the speed limit? Why was his vehicle not immediately impounded? Where is the other officer who decided to let Arbulic walk? What was his comeuppance? Why the part truth non-admission of true speed? Why did only one person within the North Vancouver RCMP decide not to collude in sweeping his transgression under the carpet? How many within the organization knew about it? And, if we can’t trust the RCMP to behave by the law of the land with minor transgressions, how can we trust them with big ones?”
Those are the big ones – the questions that make this a real story. Instead we are seeing a largely blinkered regurgitation of RCMP spin. Call it report-itation. The hard questions, the ones that require work to answer are too much effort and take to long to shoehorn into a 24 hour news cycle.
“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”, or “Who watches the watchmen?”
It used to be journalists. Every day. All day. Every issue of every major news paper.
In the case of Raoul Duke, Dr. Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson, you never knew how much was true and how much was fiction. You still don’t. The slippery sibilance of spin and opacity of process has been refined to such a point by the organizations journalist would question often it’s near impossible to say who is playing whom. The organization who is most successful at turning the story, feeding the press, or outright damage control will walk away unscathed. Should they? Damned if I know, but “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Internal RCMP process? Inscrutably transparent as a petrified turd. West Vancouver Police Departments claims of non-involvement? No evidence was offered, just a statement we assume is the truth.
There is an advantage to the give and take of truth and fiction though, not just in the hyperbole and entertainment value. H.S.T. knew this. It’s a shield, if you’re taking on the big beasts, then it’s best that they don’t know what’s real and what’s not. There are straw men to attack everywhere in the field of partial-fiction, and they can represent the solid ones in reality. The Jester can ask the King the hardest questions, and only eventually lose his head. That weird, mad, gonzo mix – there’s no culpability to it.
In a conversation with one of Hunter’s former associates, it came up that, “Only 50% of what you heard is true.”
That’s enough, any more would kill most of us.
When “Powers that Be” ask about a quote, a fact, a stat, a speed, a source?
Damned if I know, I make up 50% of the stuff I write — the stock and trade of a motorcycle journalist is hyperbole, analogy and metaphor. It’s filed deep from my cranium in a little portion fed and kept alive with a constant stream of court observation, news feeds, good wine and dried lizard prostates.
The Powers That Be certainly know how to avoid culpability. There’s the totem Who, What, Where, Why and How in the non-admission of culpability precariously propping up press releases that big media should be asking. The important thing is asking the questions, working to find the answers, maybe we’ll get lucky and hit 50% truth if we abandon report-agetate, and start asking.
That, and what’s with the trunk full of dried lizard prostates? And, what would motivate an RCMP officer to speed excessively with them and call it a joke?