Bring him to justice – writer’s comments

I began writing the “Bring him to justice” series of blogs in 2012. Over the intervening years I have received many comments. Some have been encouragement to keep writing of that matter. Some have been thanks for bringing and keeping it before the public. Others have been questions regarding the state of the situation and still others provided me with links to Jamaican news coverage of his attempts to avoid extradition.

Then there are the others. I’ve read, and often approved, comments defending George Flowers or offering excuses for his actions. And in cases where the person offering the comment could neither defend nor excuse him, they chose instead to attack the writer.

On September 23, 2020 I published “Bring him to justice – justice served” outlining Flowers’s guilty plea and the resulting sentence. In that blog I said “And to supporters of him I’d like to point out that his guilty plea is an admission that he did in fact do what he was accused of doing. Spare me your bullshit excuses for his actions. You’ve wasted enough of my time already.” I guess those last two sentences worked for I’ve heard nothing from those who previously defended or excused him or launched personal attacks on me. And honestly I’m not surprised his so-called supporters were so quick to abandon him once he entered his plea. Something about rats and sinking ships comes to mind.

I can understand not hearing from those people who encouraged and supported me, for September 23, 2020 marked an end to one part of their ordeal. I sincerely hope the guilty plea and the imposed sentence gives you some relief.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – justice served

On September 9, 2020, George Flowers,aka Mr Flowas, entered a plea of guilty to three charges of aggravated sexual assault filed against him. The Court accepted that plea. This plea saves his victims the ordeal of having their carefully rebuilt lives torn apart again by his lawyers. Victim impact statements and sentencing followed on September 23, 2020. The Court imposed a sentence of time served plus two years less a day in a federal penitentiary. He also received three years probation and must register as a sex offender. There is to be no contact with any of his victims. Upon completion of his sentence ,a deportation hearing will be held. It is my fervent hope that upon completion of that hearing, representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada escort him to the nearest international airport and put him on the next plane to Jamaica.

In late June of 2020, the Toronto Police Service relayed a request from the Crown that I remove two postings that Flowers and his lawyer felt jeopardized their case. I followed that request. Now that this matter is settled, I can put those postings back up, so here they are along with comments that had been posted to those two blogs. Of everything I’ve written over the past eight years, these are the only two I’ve been asked to remove. I can understand the second one since it outlines, in less than five hundred words, everything that’s happened since the Toronto Police Service issued their Public Safety Alert in the summer of 2012, but the other one is a mystery.

DATE: May 8

TITLE: Bring him to justice – further update

I have been informed that George Flowers requested bail using the current coronavirus pandemic as his reason. His claim centred around the fact his current HIV status placed him at additional risk of contracting COVID 19 as long as he was in close contact with other prisoners.

Earlier in the social distancing/social isolation period we are currently enduring, the issue of community infection in jails and prisons was raised, so that he tried to use this isn’t too surprising.

The judge wasn’t sympathetic to his plea and denied his request. So Flowers will remain in custody pending the resumption of trials, currently estimated to be September 2020.

If you, or someone you know has been or is the victim of assault of any kind, please contact your local police. They can help you.

Cat.
Comment on Bring him to justice – further update
reggaeairways on May 9, 2020 at 2:31 am said:
Thanks for keeping us updated, Cat.
Poor lamb must be feeling all vulnerable and threatened by infection he knows he might be exposed to. Unlike his victims.
Not a jot of sympathy from me, I’m afraid…

jonnymacneal on May 11, 2020 at 5:50 am said:
Thank you for keeping us updated it is truly appreciated to people following the story in victims and their families and their friends stay safe and keep up the great work

And the second one:

DATE: June 8

TITLE: Why? Part of Bring him to justice

I have never responded well to demands, especially demands from strangers, and the older I get, the more obstinate in my refusal to act I become. Demands that come with no apparent reason attached really bring out my stubborn side.

Over the weekend I received such a demand referring to my April 18 post “Bring him to justice – on hold”. This post was simply to advise my followers and readers the Ontario court system wasn’t holding trials until the COVID 19 pandemic was over or at least better controlled. Nothing controversial, just updating the situation.

Here is the demand I received, from someone named Latoya: Leave him alone. No “please”, no “why don’t you just…”, just the three words. Why should I leave him alone? Maybe if you’d given me reasons I wouldn’t be writing this right now. And had you not been so terse in your message, I may have approved the comment.

“Him” is George Flowers, aka “Mister Flowas” and when he learned the Toronto Police Service wanted him for several counts of aggravated sexual assault, he fled the country for Jamaica. That was in 2012. Once apprehended at the request of Canadian officials, he spent five years, FIVE YEARS, fighting Canada’s extradition request through the Jamaican court system. Finally in June 2017, he was returned to Canadian custody.

Those charges stemmed from the fact that despite being HIV positive and knowing he was, he neglected to tell any of his partners he was positive. At the time of the offences failure to do so was illegal and the charges could have been attempted murder (and I still think that would have been the appropriate charge), but in the years between his actions and the charges, medical knowledge and the law both changed, so the best TPS could do was aggravated sexual assault.

I have been following and writing about this for all these years because I know several people he dated, some of whom have tested HIV positive themselves. Other than a brief flurry when Toronto Police Service first issued their Public Safety Alert, the media hasn’t covered this. There was some coverage in the Jamaican press during his fight to avoid being returned to Canada, but the main source for both his victims (and supporters) seems to be my postings.

“Leave him alone.” Had he followed the legal requirements to tell his partners of his status, they would have had the option to leave him alone or not. But he didn’t. The result of his inaction is that people had their lives destroyed and have had to carefully rebuild them, or start new lives. For some this has not been easy. Jobs have been lost; old friends have drifted away and all because he couldn’t say “I’m HIV positive”.

So no Latoya, I won’t leave him alone until he faces justice in a Canadian court.

Cat.

I have been writing this Bring him to justice series since 2012. I started for two main reasons – I know people he dated, some of whom have tested HIV positive, and the mainstream media wasn’t covering this. During my various writings, I broke down and cried several times while working on this series while trying to maintain a degree of detachment. That hasn’t always been easy as I know people he dated as I wrote above. When I have strayed from that detachment it has usually been in response to ad hominem attacks from his supporters.

To those who took the time to write thanking me for my efforts and encouraging me to continue, I appreciate your words. I may not have posted your comment, especially if I felt it may compromise you, but I did read it. To those who provided me with links to Jamaican news coverage of his attempts to fight extradition, and other information from Jamaica, thank you. You made my job easier.

And to supporters of him I’d like to point out that his guilty plea is an admission that he did in fact do what he was accused of doing. Spare me your bullshit excuses for his actions. You’ve wasted enough of my time already.

And lastly, I have spoken with one of his victims and her final message to him is:

FUCK YOU!

Cat.

 

I’m insulted

While trying to post the previous blog, I checked comments waiting for approval and found three. All were on different blogs and came from different ip addresses. The text was the same in all three: This blog O Canada what have you done? has helped me a
lot with my dog. Also, I used this training course (site name deleted) and now my dog follows everything I ask.
Kiss you All!

If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know I didn’t like the Stephen Harper government so that I railed against them yet again would be no surprise. This particular instance the actions of that government struck me as especially high-handed. Until this bill was passed, in order to strip someone of their Canadian citizenship, it was necessary to go through the courts. The Act in question changed it so the decision would be made not by the courts, but by the Minister responsible for Citizenship and Immigration. Naturally I was – and still am- opposed to such a star chamber approach and voiced my opinion.

There is nothing in that blog that would lend itself to training a dog unless, to get silly for a moment, the training goes something like “You will obey me or I will strip your identity as a Great Dane and make you a pug instead”. We had Samoyeds and a book we read on training Samis stated “figure out what the dog wants to do, tell him to do it, then praise him when he does.”

Obviously, these three comments were sent by bots using key words in the three blogs in question to generate the message, but I’m still insulted.

Remember to hug an artist, we need love (and fewer insults) too.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – reset

Following requests from victims, I’ve deleted “Bring him to justice – justice served” of November 8, 2018. Among the comments were this posting made them uncomfortable and the last thing I wanted to do was cause them any more stress.

What I can say for certain is that George Flowers is still in jail and the Crown and defence are still talking. As more confirmed information becomes available, I’ll pass it along.

Cat.

Whatever strikes my fancy

I’m a writer and photographer. I’m working on my autobiography. Funny thing, but if people learn this they will often ask “is it finished yet?” Umm, unless you’re using a spirit board to ask that, the answer is obviously “No”. I’ve stopped it at the point I received my new birth certificate with new name and gender, but I’m still here so it could continue.

I write speculative fiction, also called science fiction and mystery and these pieces usually start with asking myself “what if …?”, then answering that question. That “what if …” could be on any topic – as the title indicates “whatever strikes my fancy”. I’ve destroyed cities and other planets (usually with classical music playing in the background as I write) and in the late nineties I chronicled a war that destroyed this planet. What prompted that was the debate over whether the 21st century would start January 1, 2000 or 2001. I think the answer depends if you ask an historian or a mathematician.

With my blogs, again I write about any topic that strikes my fancy or irritates me. I enjoy writing about various online scams as warnings to my readers. For the most part I stay away from American politics. I’m not American so unless what’s-his-name in the White House had done or said something exceedingly stupid, I ignore it. Having said that, living in Canada and being reasonably intelligent, I am aware that events in the U S may and can have a tremendous effect on us as well, so I do pay attention to American politics. I have however taken Canadian federal politicians to task on many occasions over their pronouncements or actions. And with the current regime in Queen’s Park, I can see that Ontario Premier Doug Ford will become a frequent target.

I prefer to write and edit in longhand, then once I’m satisfied I transcribe to the computer. By doing so, if inspiration strikes while I’m out I can capture the thought at the moment as I usually carry paper and pen.

I use this same approach with my photography. If something catches my eye, I’ll take a photo. A flower, a sign, interesting architecture, a scenic vista or sometihng whimsical such as this shot below taken outside a local shop on my phone, it doesn’t matter. There are occasion , such as grocery shopping, when carrying a camera is too awkward, by my phone has an excellent camera.

I use digital cameras (Canon ever since my first film SLR in the seventies) and have what I consider to be good software – Corel Paintshop Pro for processing. I can usually find something in the raw image to turn into a photo. And of course, by using digital cameras and processing, “undo” and “delete” have become my best friends.

I’ve had various people who like my work suggest to me I should give courses in both writing and photography. Such course would be very short indeed for here’s what I’d say:

Writing: write about what interests you. If that requires research, great – you’ll learn something new. If writing fiction or topical blogs, write the way you speak. If people who know you read it, they’ll hear your voice speaking the words and for others, it will sound more natural. Don’t use what I call “ten dollar words” in an attempt to sound more intelligent. If you don’t normally use them in everyday vocabulary, you’ll probably use them incorrectly.

Photography: if it catches your eye, snap it and sort it out later. Remember, “delete” can be a powerful tool.

There’s the essence of any courses I’d give.

Now, go create something and remember to hug an artist, no matter what their field of endeavour, for we need love too. And to my Canadian followers and visitors, have a safe and happy Canada Day weekend.

Cat.

A sad day approaches

The town I live in has announced that October 26 they are closing the local branch of the public library, citing lack of use. This is a small branch so patrons don’t have direct access to the same resources available at the main branch. I’ve frequently used this branch and know they can, and do, bring in material from other branches when requested, therefore the physical size isn’t important. The library is located next to one of the high schools and hours have been structured in a manner convenient for students wishing to do research.

In my opinion, technology is partly responsible for the reduced usage. When the branch opened, people had to go to a library to do research; the internet was something found in science fiction. But today, there is a wealth of information available at the fingertips of anyone with a smartphone or a computer. That makes trips to the library unnecessary.And people rarely get to experience the sensual pleasure of actually holding a book. The smell of the ink, the texture of the paper and the rustle of pages being turned have been replaced with an electronic device.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against electronics. I’ve got a smartphone and computer as well as digital cameras, so I’m not a Luddite by any definition. But I’m also a writer and I get much more pleasure seeing my work in print than seeing it on a monitor or screen. Useless info: I write these blogs in longhand, then copytype.

It is sad that a building and service dedicated to preserving the written word must close. Village Branch, you will be missed.

Cat

How indeed?

Those bots that use key words in postings to send emails or comments really do need to be refined. Although doing so would probably reduce the material available for me to use for blogs. However, the way these throw random words together can be very amusing on occasion, even if they have no bearing on the item being commented upon.

As I wrote in “How can you not know this?”, I was taking part in a study in Toronto yesterday, so didn’t see this in my spam folder until today.

blogfreely

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
However, how could we communicate?

The blog this is directed at was “If you can’t rebut, attack” from March of 2015. In this, I took someone to task because rather than try to counter my arguments/comments on a situation, they chose to launch a direct attack on me. Oh hell, it’s short, so I’ll just reprint it here. It better shows the inappropriateness of “blogfreely”s comment.  The person “Joseph” is referring to is George Flowers, who has been the subject of my “Bring him to justice” series of blogs.

Mar 25, 2015

If you can’t rebut, attack.

Earlier today, a reader named “Joseph” posted a comment on “I don’t follow the logic” in which he made some general claims without backing them up. In response to this comment, which was really only an attack on some other people and myself, I wrote “Anything constructive to add?”.Joseph seemed to feel I was writing an untrue (his word) story. In my responses (two of them) to his comment, it appears I hit a nerve. I haven’t approved his latest comment because it is nothing but another attack rant.

The first part of it refers to other people, so I won’t copy it here, but the rest refers to me, so here it is, complete with foul language and misspellings:
Your saying because the police put out a warrent he’s guilty?
WowYOUR just a lonely little person with nothing better to do but write story’s for your friends.
You are no writer that’s for sure.Won’t even waste my time anymore.You must be one of the ones he told to fuck off.
All your friends but you
You angry?
No, I’m saying the police believe they had enough evidence to issue the warrants. It’s up to the Canadian courts to determine his guilt or innocence following his extradition after two years in a Jamaican jail.
YOUR just a lonely little person with nothing better to do but write story’s for your friends.You are no writer that’s for sure.
I’m not going to dignify these comments with any further comment, for your judgement would depend upon your point of reference.
Won’t even waste my time anymore.
Good. Please unfollow my blog.
You must be one of the ones he told to fuck off. Actually, had he approached me, I’d have told him to take a hike. I didn’t like him on sight. I found him arrogant and thought he was nothing but a poseur.
Joseph, as I wrote above, some of my comments must have hit home or else rather than attack me, you would have attempted to rebut my points. For your information, the term for an attack on a writer, is “ad hominem”. I didn’t use it earlier because I didn’t want the big words to confuse you.
Cat.

Now that you understand the piece “blogfreely” commented on, you can see how my opening comments apply to the message. “Amusement account”? Maybe to some readers, but I doubt “Joseph” found it funny.

However, how could we communicate? I’m going to be generous and presume the message came from a bot and wasn’t written by an actual English-speaking person. Because I couldn’t have a conversation with any type of machine that throws words together randomly, and neither could I have a conversation with a person who writes like this because the only part that makes sense is the last question – sort of.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – where are the words?

I’m upset with the media. For over six years I’ve been writing of the case against George Flowers, aka Mister Flowas. To recap, Flowers was wanted by the Toronto Police Service on several counts of aggravated sexual assault. He fled to Jamaica and was eventually extradited to Canada to face justice.

Other than a brief flurry of coverage when the initial Public Safety Alert was issued by the police and an interview with one of his victims, there has been nothing in the local media. The Jamaican media did publish a couple of articles related to his various and seemingly never-ending attempts to avoid being returned to Toronto. But from the Toronto media – silence. He was returned to Canada, as I wrote above and entered a plea of guilty when the case came to trial. Silence from the media for both his return and the guilty plea. His sentencing hearing has not yet taken place for various legal reasons, but I expect the same response from our media.

The tagline on this site is”a lone voice calling in the wilderness”. When I wrote those words I never envisioned the time would come when I would indeed become the sole voice talking about something this major. For over 20 years, George Flowers neglected to tell his sexual partners he was HIV positive, hence the charges of aggravated sexual assault. Since August of 2012 I have been urging his victims to come forward, but I’m only one small website. More and better coverage by the mainstream media would have reached far more people.

I’ve had messages of thanks, support and links to other news sites for these blogs from my readers, which have helped me carry on. I thank those people who took the time to write. To those who provided me with links to the Jamaican coverage, and the Court’s final ruling, I also offer my thanks. As for the Toronto media, as I said, I’m pissed.
Cat.

Don’t call me that

I did not set out intending to become a spokeswoman for anything or anyone. But over the past couple of months I’ve been involved in two separate events in which I’ve been called an advocate.

In both cases, my doctor asked me to take part in these events, and I agreed, so I knew what was coming. The first of these was a “health equity boot camp” put on by St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. My doctor thought I’d be perfect for this one since I am both a senior and trans. As usual at these things, everyone wears a name tag. Mine also contained the notation “patient advocate”. The second, again through St Mike’s, was a study on cancer detection in trans people. I met with them and was once again identified as an advocate.

Here’s the thing: I don’t consider myself an advocate of any kind. In each case I made it clear at the outset that I spoke only for myself and did not represent any group or organisation. I’m in my mid-seventies, trans as I said above, and have strong opinions which I don’t mind sharing, usually in my blogs. But how can one person speaking strictly from a personal perspective be considered an advocate?

Here’s the definition of “advocate” from the Oxford University Press dictionary: advocate >noun 1 a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. 2 a person who pleads a case on someone else’s behalf. 3 Scottish term for barrister. Obviously that third definition is not me. As for the other two, I suppose if you squint really, really hard, you could fit my participation in those two events into one or both of those definitions. Even if you could, you’d have a hard time convincing me.

I’m reasonably intelligent and keep up with events in general and especially those that affect the trans community for they could, and often do, affect me. But the only policy I support or recommend is one that will make my life easier (I know, that sounds selfish of me.). Did I plead on behalf of someone else? Not intentionally, but if something I said in either of these events can benefit someone else, great.

Perhaps I’m being wilfully blind, but I fail to see how speaking up for myself can be considered being an advocate. Yes, my doctor recommended me for these two events because, to use her words, I hold strong opinions and I’m well-spoken. And yes, my best friend tells me I’m an advocate because I’m not afraid to speak out and she wishes I’d do it more often.

If my actions make me an advocate, well that’s your opinion.   But please, please, don’t call me that. I’ll probably laugh at you.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

For the writers among us

A few thoughts and observations on that demon that haunts us ink-stained wretches:

“… writers don’t like the actual writing bit.”

“Being literate as a writer is good craft, is knowing your job, is knowing how to use your tools properly and not to damage the tools as you use them.”

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams, (1952 – 2001)

The above three quotes are from Douglas Adams, best known as the author of the five books of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. (I know, but that’s how he described it.) And from personal experience I can say that first quote is spot on. As well, I have written many short stories that prove the third one as well.

As for the second, that would be for the reader to determine. I like to think I write well, and use, but not abuse, the English language properly. One piece of advice I was given is “write the way you speak.” In other words, if you don’t commonly use “ten dollar words” in your daily vocabulary, don’t use them in your writing, even if you can get them half-off. You’ll sound pretentious and will probably use them wrong. My writing always uses the vocabulary and speech patterns I use in everyday communication and people have told me that when they read my stuff, they can hear my voice reading it in their minds. I consider that a compliment. The only time I vary from that is if the character requires it.

There are several other “rules” of writing that make little sense to me at least, such as “write what you know”. That may be fine if you’re writing a technical piece, but doesn’t necessarily apply if you’re writing fiction. When it comes to my fiction, many of the stories start with me asking myself “what if …?” then answering the question. How bleak would the literary world be if authors only wrote what they know? We’d have been deprived of works like J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series as well as many books that are now considered classics.

“Write what you know.” I’m a blogger – sporadically recently because there are things going on that interfere with the writing as well as Douglas Adams’s first observation – and my blogs are usually about things or events that either interest me or incense me. And given the newly elected government in Ontario, I think there’s going to be a few things that incense me. In my more honest moments, I frequently describe my blogs as “rants, raves or reasoned discussions – reader’s choice.”

One thing I read somewhere (I think it was a writer I friended on MySpace years ago) was that in order to be a writer, you must write 600 words a day. What that writer didn’t add was that it must be six hundred words you want to keep. I don’t agree with that word count. You can only write so much and if only 10 words will come that are “keepers”, then that’s ten words you don’t have to worry about later.

Many people who don’t write and don’t understand writing will often joke about the process and sometimes point to the hoary opening “It was a dark and stormy night” as an example of writing. Actually, I used that twice in one story just to see if it was possible to use it without seeming trite. Here’s what I came up with:

It was a dark and stormy night – a real nasty one – the kind I’ve come to dread ever since that night. I was sitting quietly, enjoying my beer, when I noticed the guy staring at me. I ignored him as I do anyone who is rude enough to stare. Then I sensed him coming over.

After a bit of small talk, he stopped talking and just looked at me. I looked back. “What, you want to hear about the time traveller?”

“If you wouldn’t mind telling me,” he said, signalling for refills for both of us.

I thanked him, then said, “I don’t mind telling, if you don’t mind listening. All I ask is that you don’t interrupt too much, because I don’t really like talking about it.”

He agreed and, after a sip of the beer, I started.

“It was a dark and stormy night “ I stopped as I saw him glaring at me, then I said “I know, I know – any story that starts that way has to be pure bull, right? Hear me out, then you tell me.

In the introduction to this piece I wrote “I planted my tongue firmly in my cheek and here’s the result”. I know it’s hard to tell from this short intro, but what do you think? Did I pull it off? If you like, I’ll post the entire story later this week.

Okay, let’s try to get serious for a few minutes here. Writing is, by its nature, a solitary pursuit. When you’re working on a piece, be it fiction, a blog, essay or factual, most writers don’t want anyone around to derail their train of thought. I usually have classical music playing quietly while I work. In one short story, I destroyed an entire planet with “Ride of the Valkyries” in the background. Yes, some writers say that so-and-so is their muse, their inspiration, but that doesn’t mean that muse has to be present all the time. I’m fortunate in that respect as I live alone so there are minimal interruptions.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Very true. I can’t count the times I’ve started writing something with a plan in mind only to have the characters dictate what happens through their actions. I usually just leave it since on the occasions I’ve tried to bring the story back to my vision, it didn’t work as well.  And yes, it can happen that something you’ve written will send a story off in a new direction rather than following your roadmap. I think it works this way: You write something and your mind picks up on that and asks “what if I follow that line instead?” That is what I mean by the character dictating the ensuing actions.

It seems that many good writers are also voracious readers. Not to see what the “competition” is doing, but simply for the enjoyment of the written word. No, the excuse that it cuts into writing time won’t work. Without some kind of break or diversion, your mind goes stale and your work will suffer.

And, I think I’ve done it again – started off with one idea in mind, but ended up somewhere else. I could have probably spent much less time writing this if I’d simply said “write about what interests you; write it with passion and in cohesive sentences and the readers will come.” To finish off, a quote from Robert A Heinlein (1907 – 1988), the great science-fiction writer “You must write.”

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.