Ask the Hammer

  1. I don’t know about you, but I find the juxtaposition of 2 assault cases last October to be troublesome to “the collective” that we call justice.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, what is paper? Apparently it is a weapon according to the guilty plea that was entered into by Esteban Torres Wicttorff.

During a vigil in Montreal’s gay village (June 2016) for victims of the Orlando mass shooting, Torres threw something at Premier Philippe Couillard. No injury was sustained but a charge of assault was brought, as well as one for disturbance.

Apparently, assaulting a politician with paper is a political act both unjustified and unacceptable according to the Judge who accepted Torres’ plea. Certainly, any form of assault against another because of disagreement over statements made cannot be condoned but assault via a rolled up ball of paper – really?

So be careful what you hurl besides insults (and even then), as it can lead you to criminal court and possibly jail, unless of course you are a Judge and choose to hurl insults inside of a Court case, at the victim no less, of real sexual assault!

I refer of course to another case last fall when a Judge, presiding the case of the taxi driver who was accused (and later convicted) of assaulting a teenage girl, made several inappropriate comments. The Judge suggested the girl might have been flattered by the attention – given that she was a little overweight but had a pretty face! And to suggest that there isn’t the same level of consent required for a kiss. Unbelievable and unacceptable, even if the Judge did find the cabbie guilty.

Commenting that a victim should have kept her knees together (Alberta 2014) or that a victim should consider herself lucky after being only sodomized since she was still a virgin (and this from a female Judge in Quebec) begs the question; how did these people get appointed to be Judges in the first place?

  1. Can you really be guilty by the mere fact of association that rises to the level of criminal guilt?

Pope Francis called victims of pedophile Reverend Fernando Karadima (Chile, Argentina) themselves guilty – of slander – until such time as he is provided “proof” that Bishop Juan Barros, a protégé of Karadima, was complicit in covering up the sexual abuse. And just when I thought the Pope’s more progressive stances on Church Doctrine made him a man to praise!

  1. Do you ever wonder why so many people pictured in the Obituary section of the paper, whom you never knew, look familiar? I find that over time more and more people seem to resemble someone I must have known at one point or another. I studiously read all the names listed, and often scan the content of the obits themselves, looking for some clue to prove me right in my recognitions of those recently deceased. And you?
  1. Humankind has an inherent need to bash.

As in everything this world sees and hears, we humans have a need to criticize everyone even if we only know the situation from others’ accounts of what happened.

Be it Trudeau saying, or not saying, something, or reports of incidents from farther away, all issues in this world make at least one person mad or offended.

Do we stop and question if the person we are criticizing was having a bad day, or was misquoted, or was quoted out of context?  It seems commenting just for the sake of commenting is what provokes people to speak out, regardless of facts or intentions.

Take the recent “peoplekind” remark made by Justin Trudeau. While the woman in question apparently did not take his interjection badly, contrary to media reports, the world seems to have taken up the issue as an excuse to bash the P.M., particularly just before more NAFTA negotiations.

That commentators like Piers Morgan, a former America’s Got Talent Judge, felt the need to weigh in just demonstrates my point that you can ALWAYS find someone somewhere to criticize anything.

Could it be that Trudeau was merely retorting to the actual comment “that future mankind was dependant on maternal love”?  Really?  That alone would have made me say something to the woman, such as – what about paternal love – doesn’t that count?!

Surely the world has much larger problems to concern itself with than this?

  1. Travelling with a support animal is out of control.

Contrary to recent headlines that Delta Airlines and others have barred some travellers from boarding with certain animals, the USA Federal regulations allow for a legitimate emotional support animal to travel on airplanes in the cabin with the owner if the proper documentation has been obtained.

Be it a dog, a cat, a pig or even a miniature horse air travel is possible. However, it all comes down to legitimacy. The required documentation must be a letter from a real doctor or other mental health professional. The animal must be well behaved (how that is controlled after a flight has departed is cause for concern), and there must be adequate space aboard (what does that mean? – the animal fits under the seat or you bought an actual seat for the animal).

Where should we draw the line? And how should documentation be certified as legit?  Turns out there are a fair amount of sketchy businesses that “sell” paperwork, which may look official but isn’t. And up until recently, even airlines didn’t always verify the legitimacy of such “certificates” or even ask to seen them. So beware and get a real medical letter – or risk being turned away by the airlines.

That said, should all forms of wildlife be considered support animals, even with a doctor’s letter?  Dogs and cats we understand. But a snake, a horse, a spider, and more recently, a peacock!?

United Airlines refused to allow a passenger and her peacock to board even though the owner had purchased a separate ticket for the bird. Frankly, there has to be some restraint exercised.

Regardless of the Federal legislation in the U.S., airlines have some latitude but with a surging increase in the demand to travel with support animals, many airlines are updating their on board policies in light of the peacock incident.

I wonder if it would have made a difference if it had been the NBC peacock!

Me. Hammerschmid has practiced Family Law since 1982; Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates; founding & current member of Family Law Association of Quebec (past Secretary for 28 years). Inquiries treated confidentially: 514-846-1013 or [email protected] © 2016 Linda Hammerschmid 

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