Monday, 12 June 2017

Toomas Karmo: DDO&P: Handcuffs I Have Known

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his  grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3/5 is "mediocre pass", 4/5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 5/5. Justification: There was enough time to write out the  necessary points to full length, without skipping anything that seemed potentially helpful to readers.  

Revision history:

  • 20170614T0113Z/version 3.1.0: Kmo added a small discussion of an unresolved orthography problem - does the Sherlockian canon write "Darbies" (which would seem etymologically correct) or "Derbies"? Since he seemed to recall reading "Derbies" in the Canon, rather than "Darbies", he shrugged his shoulders in impatience and stuck to "Derbies". - Kmo reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, ... . 
  • 20170614T0049Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo thought of adding a brief, but key, point: his various handcuffings on dates other than 2008-07-30 were the result not of officials fearing that Kmo might hurt someone other than Kmo, but onlyi the result of officials fearing that Kmo might hurt Kmo. - Kmo reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170613T1635Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo, running roughly 12 hours behind schedule, finished converting his outline into a finished form. He reserved the right to make minor, nonsubstantive, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170613T0006Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo had time to prepare the less important part of this as a point-form outline, and the more important part as polished prose. He hoped to finish converting everything into full-sentences prose over the coming 4 hours. 

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that gets formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets"  (CSS) which on all ordinary Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect CSS problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Finally, there may be blogger vagaries, outside my control, in font sizing or interlinear spacing. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via]

The two favourite indoor sports of Estonians are chess and the writing of memoirs. It has as a joke been recommended that a monument be erected to those who have been so civic-spirited - who have, in other words, risen to such self-abnegating heights of public activism - as to restrain their pens or keyboards from the composition of memoirs. I can of course claim no place on the eventual national obelisk. My own bulky memoirs, in my capacity as a diaspora Estonian addressing Canada's David Dunlap Observatory and Park (DDO&P) heritage-conservation file, are already largely uploaded to this blog, as various entries over the past 14 months. The most important of my various postings is from 2016-04-25 or 2016-04-26, under the heading "Essay on Sorrow - Its Anatomy and Its Remedies". This is the posting that covers an undermining of the DDO&P heritage-conservation case on the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) "Summation Day" which was 2012-09-10, through unexpected remarks on the part of a lawyer supposedly and ostensibly acting within her retainer, in her supposed capacity as counsel for the Richmond Hill Naturalists, with me the party to be quietly paying bills. It is, again, that 2016-04-25 or 2016-04-26 posting that covers the allegation of ongoing University of Toronto commercial involvement, in respect of the now-sold-off DDO&P, from an observer I am there careful to call merely "Mr or Ms or Dr or Prof. or Sir or Dame I.Seem-Powerful" - an individual I suppose I would have to subpoena if the foes of conservation were to launch legal proceedings in an effort to suppress my blogspot journalism. There is not, consequently, too much that now has to be added by way of memoir composition. 

Nevertheless, this week I ought to spell out the tragicomic story of my 2008-07-30 handcuffing at DDO&P.. 

Two facts of a legal character make it particularly important that I spell things out this week, without further delay: 

  • On 2017-03-21, title in the approximately 40-hectare western portion of the 77-hectare 2008-legacy DDO&P greenspace was transferred as a donation from Corsica Development Inc. to the Town of Richmond Hill, under the OMB-brokered expectation that the Town would make this 40 hectares (along with an additional 5 legacy-DDO&P hectares purchased around 2013 from Corsica for just under 20,000,000 CAD) into a new legacy-remnant municipal park. 
  • In the week of 2017-06-05, the Town, upon my phoning municipal staffer Ms Patricia Young on 905-771-9996x2477, had promised to advise me whether I now could or still could not legally enter the 40-hectare municipal park-intended property. (I had indeed stressed to Ms Young that despite the time elapsed since 2017-03-21, there was no public signage telling anyone what to do - no sign, as I would this week phrase it, saying to the juridically curious "Eventual Municipal Parkland, but Please Keep Out for the Present", or saying "Eventual Municipal Parkland, Public Now Welcome", or saying "Eventual Municipal Parkland, Public Now to Enter at Own Risk".)  

With my spelling out the 2008-07-30 handcuffing particulars this week, the Town will have an appropriate context as it formulates Ms Patricia Young's promised, and surely soon forthcoming, advisory. 


Before starting my narrative proper, I prepend a backgrounder on other applications of the cuffs - in other words, of the "Bracelets" (as I imagine them to be called in some places), or, as they are known to readers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the "Derbies" or "Darbies". (The Holmesean term refers to "Darby cuffs", and yet is perhaps spelled in the Canon as d-e-r rather than as the etymologically correct d-a-r. I have not been able to check this orthography detail in a definitive way.) If I do not report my other handcuffings, one or more others not fully sympathetic with forest conservation, and at present unkindly disposed to me, and as my bad luck would have it mindful of confidences I naively imparted years ago, might try doing it in my place. Such others might in the process conceivably get contexts or nuances, or even outright factual details, wrong, thereby harming the public interest.

All the handcuffings, apart from the handcuffing of 2008-07-30 which is the principal topic of this present memoir, were performed by authorities who feared I might harm myself. There has never been any fear within the authorities that I might harm another. I cannot sufficiently underscore, emphasize, and stress this key point. In making it, I further suggest that the reader gain some sense of the ever-present danger of journalistic misunderstanding, by closely inspecting my Web page (one of the upshots in my 2014 out-of-court settlement with municipal politician Ms Karen Cilevitz (from the 2014-10-27 election onward, Town Councillor Karen Cilevitz)). 

I am not sure how many times I have been in the Derbies outside the 2008-07-30 case I have to chronicle this week. But I suspect the count to be around six or eight. Here, at any rate, is what I am at the moment able to recall. I leave out an instance of depression in 1981 or so, when I think there were no Derbies, although I was directed by the authorities to proceed under my own steam to a Melbourne hospital: 

  • two occasions from 1990 and 1991, when I was very ill with depression at Ontario's York University upon losing my career in philosophy (on the first of these, I was hospitalized, but left the hospital against medical advice, trying in vain to continue with my classroom duties; the second occasion might perhaps have involved Derbies, but I think did not involve any hospital); 
  • a circa-1999 occasion, involving panic over a war-crimes case from 1940 or so - an occasion chronicled in my essay   "Depression, the Body Politic, and Frankelian Freedom-to-Appraise" (at, with Derbies-or-similar - and eventually a perhaps USSR-reminiscent rectangular metal restraining frame - with an overnight hospitalization, and with rather helpful clinical administration of a sublingual Ativan tablet; 
  • a circa-2000 occasion on which I inappropriately lost my composure upon being treated in a marginal sense  too casually in the Catholic confessional (and was accordingly confined to a psychiatric ward - on this occasion the medical ministrations proved pointless - for 72 hours);
  • a circa-2000 occasion on which I lost my composure upon being mocked by an Acadian Lines long-distance bus driver in Moncton, after I had protested his playing unwanted comedy-routine audio-recording material through the bus loudspeakers, disturbing the silence of all passengers, some of whom would be wanting to read or rest on the journey; to my gratitude, the pertinent Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer simply helped me continue my Nova Scotia-to-Ontario journey on a train (but this officer might at some point have also, just-barely-conceivably, applied Derbies, so I do list the incident this week); 
  • a circa-2005 occasion on which I lost my composure upon being denied absolution in the Catholic confessional (I had explained to the priest that in my administrative ineptitude, I had made impending family obligations coincide with my impending duty to attend Christmas Mass: upon my in response detailing outside the confessional, loudly enough to be heard by many of those awaiting the start of Mass, what I thought of the Church's handling of a then-nationally-notorious Diocese of Antigonish pastoral case, I was arrested and taken in a police miscreant-transport van to the local hospital; the hospital let me out a couple of hours later, on condition that I report the next day to a psychiatrist on its roster; this rostered psychiatrist in turn proved, as a fellow Catholic, comically and robustly critical of our local Church, with the result that he and I spent a pleasant hour together before he let me go);  
  • a 2007-or-2008-or-2009 occasion on which I lost my composure upon first (i) trying in vain to get the attention of a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway ticket agent when experiencing Yonge-at-Bloor turnstile difficulties, encumbered as I was by luggage or parcels, and then (ii) being accused by the suddenly-all-too-awake agent of evading his turnstile (I got the Derbies for sure, but then had a rather agreeable interrogation in a special TTC interrogation room, at Yonge and Bloor; the two constables inspected my pocket cards, among which was fortunately my card from Oxford University, and to my concealed amusement or concealed bemusement conveyed sincere disbelief when I explained that I was autistic; in the end, our case ended well, with the constables explaining to me that (a) if they were to transport me to St Joseph's Hospital for psychiatry, I would no doubt decline the medication those well-meaning authorities would be pressing on me, and that (b) a visit to St Joe's would therefore be pointless, and that (c) I should now simply travel home on my own steam, on the usual TTC and regional bus, to Richmond Hill, without wearing Derbies; 
  • a 2008 (late winter, early spring?) occasion on which I sank into panic upon seeking psychological counselling through the University of Toronto personnel services - suddenly realizing, once in the stress-therapy consulting rooms, that my counsellor might conceivably, as an agent of the University of Toronto, be tempted to communicate (his or her professional ethics vow notwithstanding), with the University authorities on our already-troubled DDO heritage-conservation case (it is possible that the Derbies got put on, although all I remember for sure is that the summoned constables drove me to a rather distant bus stop, on Leslie Street, and then directed me - by that point I was assuredly not in Derbies - to take the bus to the psychiatric ward of a certain hospital on the north edge of Toronto, outside their jurisdiction and I think close to the end of that bus line; the ward proved helpful, not only by not detaining me but also by ultimately confirming that yes, I am indeed autistic)
I do plead in my defence that I do not think the Derbies have been put on since 2009 or so, and that I have now a strong argument with which I generally persuade myself to avoid them. My argument is the following: I suffer (as I now realize more clearly than hitherto, thanks to the last-mentioned hospital, just outside the southern jurisdictional boundary of the York Regional Police) from the Asperger-syndrome variety of autism, and therefore have to take special and unusual care to not lose my composure. The mere realization that special care is in my special medical circumstance needed has, over all the years since 2009 or so, sufficed to make outward composure attainable, however agitated I might from time to time feel inside as I get overwhelmed with people treating me harshly. 

Additionally, I have now a pair of secondary considerations, which might be respectively termed "The Argument from Inutility" and "The Argument from Public Expense". The Argument from Inutility runs as follows: There is no reason for thinking that the hospitals (the sequel in my case to Derbies) can help with autism. The Argument from Public Expense, on the other hand, is this: If I go into Derbies, the taxpayer has to foot a bill, since two or three or four person-hours of policing have been burned up. These hours would be better spent on the more traditional categories of constabulary business (on the banal-and-yet necessary business, that is, of pursuing the underworld, as Inspector Lestrade and the Yard do in the gripping pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). 

With these humiliating preliminaries out of the way, and with the danger of misreporting by DDO conservation-averse parties thereby neutralized, I can proceed to my narrative proper. 


As the University of Toronto continued removing items from DDO in 2008 July, with the DDO staff now relieved of their jobs, I continued documenting and photographing the scene. I was kindly allowed to do this by the University of Toronto outsourced security guards, who indeed allowed to me to stand under the shelter of the Administration Building porch on days that happened to be rainy.

On 2008-07-30, I was feeling low, and the rain was coming down. As I approached DDO&P, I checked in by telephone with Karen Cilevitz, who showed what I am sure was a genuine and sincere concern for my state of mind, urging me to stay away from duty that day. I, however, was insistent on proceeding to operations. This was a mistake.

On arriving at the Administration Building, I found not a University of Toronto outsourced security guard, as I had expected to find, but a staffer from a security firm engaged by Corsica Development Inc. I explained to this unfamiliar staffer, from an unfamiliar firm, that in all my operations hitherto I had dealt with the University of Toronto security-outsource firm, and that that firm had allowed me to stand in the porch if the weather was wet. The unfamiliar staffer said, in a quite unfriendly tone, "You can go stand in the rain."  I think that had I been free of depression on the day, I would have done the clearly correct thing, namely, to stand in the rain, saying little and communicating to the staffer by facial expression and body language that he was inflicting unreasonable discomfort on an individual striving to serve the civic interest. As it was, however, I entered into a dispute.

Neither of us raised his voice. I remarked that I really should be allowed to stand where I had stood before, in the porch.  The staffer said that he would not allow it.

In a moment of supreme idiocy, I then recalled the old lie that children are taught by their parents, namely, that the constables are "on our side" and "ready to help", and I said that I would discuss the matter with the York Regional Police (YRP).  Phoning in with my cellular, I explained the situation, and quickly enough a couple of cruisers pulled up at the DDO Administration Building, a few tens of metres south of the main telescope dome. 

Corsica's outsourced security staffer gave his side of the story, and I gave mine, and I think YRP were initially uncertain how to proceed. YRP consulted someone or other, by telephone. Oddly, I had the impression that the consultation was with the University of Toronto, even though it surely had to be with the then owner, who then must (in view of the change in security staffing) have been Corsica. On the strength of the consultation, YRP said that I would have to leave the property. But, I said, it was my "civic duty" to continue photographing what was going on (there was in fact much activity, with heavy items being taken from the Great Dome that morning). No, said YRP, it was not my civic duty. On the contrary, I said (neither party to this exchange indulged in any raising of the voice), it was my civic duty. No, said YRP, it was not my civic duty. But, I said, the obtaining of photos was my civic duty.

At this point I was put into Derbies, but in what I would regard as a significant kindness had that unwelcome hardware applied with my arms in front of me, rather than, as in a criminal arrest, with my arms behind me. One YRP officer then took me under my armpits, the other under my knees. I offered no resistance. I did retain the presence of mind to pray a Hail Mary in English, very loudly but not in an absolute shout. Under the gaze of the (silent) former DDO Operations Manager, I was put into the rear seat of a cruiser, as the police might load in a dead coyote.

For a few minutes, the gravity of the situation weighed on me, to the extent that my body began a kind of rebellion: my skin tingled all over and felt tight, as  though the circulating blood were being withdrawn to the vital organs. I did not, however, hyperventilate, and I believe that having completed my plea to Mary, I did not do any further significant vocalizing. One thought was uppermost in my mind. Here was my body, behaving oddly. Now my duty was strictly local, concerned strictly with what was happening within my own skin: my duty was to avoid getting any sicker, for instance to avoid fainting or dying.

After perhaps two or five or ten (but I suspect fewer than ten) minutes, the odd tingling feeling went away, and I was somehow sitting in the cruiser rear, rather than sprawling like a coyote corpse over the length of the seat.  Separated from me by a transparent barrier was the front of the cruiser, occupied by a constable. As I took stock of my new and improved situation, my cell phone rang.  My handcuffs afforded me enough freedom of movement to take the call. The call proved to be from a Richmond Hill resident, "PQR", sympathetic to the conservationist cause, and already rather well known to me. I managed to convey the essence of the situation, perhaps falsely adding in my nervous excitement that I was under arrest.

The constables in fact never used the word "arrest", and did not do any of the formulaic Miranda-Rights things that one knows from YouTube or similar sources, such as affirming one's "right to remain silent" and one's "right of immediate access to legal counsel". I now, writing years later (a first drafting on 2013-03-01, a review on 2017-06-12), infer from these failures to Mirandify that no arrest had been made. I sometimes consequently wonder, in a quiet and low-key way, whether there may possibly have been a breach here of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 9 ("Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained /.../") .

PQR at any rate became quite excited, going to the unfortunate length (as I learned probably some days later) of telephoning the Mayor.

The attending constable quickly enough relieved me of my cell phone. If I recall correctly - I am 80 per cent certain here - PQR protested over this, from the other end of the connection, and the officer falsely replied that it was necessary to confiscate my cell phone so that I would not harm myself with it.

Time dragged on and on and on. I am not sure how long I was in the cruiser. I think, after allowing for possible distortions in memory, that it cannot have been a short time at all - perhaps twenty minutes, perhaps thirty, perhaps a little more.

Eventually I managed to do what I now, writing on 2013-03-01 and reviewing on 2017-06-12, think was the right thing, in partial compensation for that overwhelming, terrible initial error in judgement which was my phoning YRP.  I embarked on a line of talking-to-myself calculated to play on the constabulary nerves, planting in YRP cerebral cortices the thought that this was a case involving some kind of unusual individual, and liable to lead into a morass of paperwork- involving perhaps even some such document-intensive thing as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, or a European consulate.

Paperwork complications are surely unwelcome to the constabulary mind.  Indeed I would suggest, in all candour, that the DDO&P case is liable to lead into exactly the bureaucratic morass I have here adverted to, were it in future to be incorrectly handled: I am, after all, assured by Toronto consular personnel that I am a citizen both of Canada and of Estonia, and in the hypothetical contingency of unreasonable future constabulary action it would be appropriate enough for me to liaise either directly with the Estonian Embassy in Ottawa or with a Toronto Estonian-diaspora lawyer able in turn to liaise with the Embassy.  (I imagine that some disagreeably confrontational and theatrical lawyer might, in particular, ask not only whether my detention was consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 9, but also whether my detention was consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5.)

Constables reading this narrative are herewith urged to be duly diligent.

Our matter thereupon proceeded as follows (with me soliloquizing, and with the constable in the front seat speaking, in the serious tones of Walter Cronkite, into his cellular telephone):

ME: Noh, siin ma olen, konstaablite küüsis, ja küll see veel on kole.  See on täielik kaa-gee-bee, ehk Kilo Golf Braavo.

CONSTABLE: He is speaking a language we cannot identify. Yes, that is correct. A language we cannot identify.

ME: Je suis auprès des gendarmes. C'est une situation terrible, épouvantable.

CONSTABLE: Now he has switched over to French.  Yes, that is correct, he has now switched over to French.

CONSTABLE: [perhaps after a pause]: ...well, he hasn't done anything. Maybe we should take him home.

It was astute of the constable to say that I had not done anything. For possibly the first time in our Orwellian or Kafkaesque proceeding, the constabulary were the voice of incontestable common sense. I summoned up enough courage to say in response, or rather to croak in response (I think I found the use of English unpleasant at this juncture), "Yes, home."  Almost at once - the distance was just over two kilometres - we were out of the gates and at "home".

On reaching "home" and being relieved of Derbies, I was given a "ticket", this being a paper document of roughly postcard size, indicating that I had committed a trespass and was required to pay York Region (our upper-tier municipality) a certain sum of money. I forget the exact sum, but I believe it was just a little under 100 CAD.

In the excitement, it somehow transpired that not the Mayor alone but also Karen Cilevitz had found out what was going on. Despite my very large reservations regarding Ms Cilevitz's (now, alas, Councillor Cilevitz's) post-2010 handling of the DDO&P file (most notably, of course, from the time in 2011 when she naively entered the trap which was Ontario Municipal Board "Mediation", undercutting the Richmond Hill Naturalists), here I must say that her 2008-07-30 action was appropriate, even noble: I believe that she dropped whatever it was she was doing and headed out of her own home, fully ready to meet the constabulary and bail me out of incarceration.

But, as I say, instead of incarceration there was a "ticket".  Accompanying the "ticket" was a polite, yet firm, verbal instruction not to reenter DDO&P.

I cried for quite a while, both in horror at my stupidity and over the squalid character of the events, loudly enough (as I later learned, in a friendly briefing) to be heard even upstairs in my then landlord's house. Later, perhaps on the afternoon of the day, and trying to act correctly, I wrote out a cheque on my then credit union in settlement of the fine. This I papermailed to York Region.

The experience of being in Derbies not in a mental-health context but in the  matter of something touching on criminal law is oddly transformative, in a bad sense. For quite a few years following 2008-07-30 (long after the month or so that I spent in a kind of quasi-PTSD funk, under the sway of a harsh month on our case, unable to read on anything more scientific than computer hardware) I found myself peculiarly interested in Rumpole of the Bailey, in underworld slang, in crime reports in the press, and in other things of this type. Now, perhaps, in 2017, the sick thrill is at last starting to wear off, to be replaced with my more accustomed interests in trains, monasteries, Latin, bookbinding, bees, John Le Carré, MI6, GCHQ, First Chief Directorate Division "D" (Дезинформация), and the like.

My writing the cheque elicited a strong criticism from more than one of the individuals in the inner circle of conservationists. It was felt that I had made an incorrect capitulation. Karen Cilevitz put it to me that she knew a lawyer who would "get me off". Chastened, and as anxious now to do my duty by the conservationists as I had been anxious to do my duty by the Crown, I phoned my credit union and succeeded in having a so-called "stop" put onto the cheque.

Now, however, the inner circle of conservationists - the then correctly conservcationist Karen Cilevitz, and her then allies in the always-correctly-conservationist Richmond Hill Naturalists -  recanted, finding that our case was in the final analysis too intricate to be worth their pursuing, and urging that I now pay my fine. I did so, eventually writing a second cheque, which was required by York Region to be somewhat larger (something on the order of 120 CAD or 125 CAD).

I do like to imagine my eventual for-real payment triggering some small conversation on the other side of the Pond, in "Buck House". Tortelloni, which figure in the conversation as I imagine it, are a bit bigger than macaroni. They are mildly reminiscent, both in size and in shape, of Derbies. I also add, by way of explanatory reminder, that the man at the very heart of the DDO&P conservation case - already discussed by me in my 2016-04-25 or 2016-04-26 "Anatomy of Sorrow" essay, at - is a property developer, the late Alfredo de Gasperis, Sr:

H.M. THE Q.,  transferring an envelope from red-leather dispatch box to handbag: Philip, now we have that cheque from Dr Karmo in Upper Canada. 

MOUNTBATTEN: Crikey, Liz, how much? 

H.M. THE Q.: We got 125 loonies, Philip.

MOUNTBATTEN: So what's that in money?

H.M. THE Q.,  applying an appropriately strong, pre-Brexit, exchange rate: Eighty quid, Philip, eighty. We can get a caterer to bring a nice lunch to the loading dock. I'll have MI5 look out for their van.

MOUNTBATTEN: Good-o. So what are we ordering, then?

H.M. THE Q.: Philip, dear, you know what we'll order.  Tortelloni, with Alfredo sauce.

[This is the end of the current blog posting.] 

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