A woman was caught on camera on Friday, Aug. 23 where she is heard yelling racial slurs in a parking lot dispute in Richmond, B.C. (Screenshot/Black Press Media)

ZYTARUK: Surrey’s nail salon spat latest media cause celebre

What was that Tennyson said about ‘Red in tooth and claw?’

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Funny thing about people, we don’t always get along.

History is filled with war and gore, administered with blades, bullets and bombs. This is macro insanity.

And then there’s micro insanity.

Micro insanity occurs day and night, every day, around the world, like clockwork, on city streets, sidewalks, in parking lots, wherever people encounter other people.

Like competitive bears growling and swatting one another at the salmon hole, grumpy people – some of us are dyed in the wool jerks – hurl imprecation and invective at other members of our species like so much poisonous confetti.

Why? Because we’ve had a bad day and somebody has to pay. Or it’s too hot out. Or we’re ignorant. Or stressed. Or unsatisfied with our lot in life. Or, we’re a jerk. Or all of the above.

The weapons of choice in micro conflicts are not blades, bullets and bombs; not even sticks and stones. They are mouths and cellphone cameras.

In the not too-distant past, such squabbles and spats – unfortunate as they are – were, dare I say, mundane. They were not reported in the media like real news such as war, murder, violent cases of road rage, or the kind of stuff you find on that television show Vengeance: Killer Neighbours.

With the help of media eager to pump up citizen footage of “rants” and “tirades,” ostensibly because it’s good for business, short bursts of bad behavior are now launched into the stratosphere of hysteria and cause célèbres thanks to looping coverage in the 24-hour news cycle.

After several days of relentless repetition, the image of that woman in Richmond who uttered wretched comments to another during a conflict over her parking skills has been indelibly stamped on B.C.’s collective psyche.

The Richmond RCMP, of course, were then drawn into the fray, because where else can the story go? If police don’t respond with veritable gravitas to these situations, they risk being cast into that 2019 lake of fire reserved for the “insensitive.”

To Serve, Protect, and Babysit.

Police dutifully issued a press release Tuesday revealing that after “diligently” investigating the matter, authorities determined it “does not meet the threshold for criminal charge.”

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The Surrey RCMP, on Friday night, received two 911 calls from a nail salon in Surrey. Corporal Elenore Sturko said that according to information police have received, “It stemmed from comments made from one person to another which did involve the child of one of the parties who has a disability, or special needs.”

It is alleged some very nasty remarks were directed at this girl.

Upsetting? Most certainly.

Sturko said both sides called 911 as the argument unfolded, prior to footage being broadcast on social, or any, media. At this time of writing, she noted, police spoke with witnesses and all parties concerned but there has been no arrests or charges. “In terms of whether or not any actual assault occurred during the incident, that’s under investigation.”

“One of the initial things reported was that they were disappointed that it took 45 minutes for us to come,” Sturko noted.

“At the same time that we received this call about this unfolding incident at the nail salon, they received other priority calls as well including a suicidal person, they had a weapons call, and so once the call-takers were able to determine that the parties involved were separated, they had to re-prioritize that call and they responded as quickly as they could but they actually attended some other calls before they came that were a higher priority because of the risk to the people involved.”

To Serve and Protect.

Hmm…

Wondering now if I’m bound for that lake of fire.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader.

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