Hundreds of millions of the poorest people in the developing world are abused by corrupt police who extort bribes and brutalize innocent citizens, or are held in abusive pre-trial detention.

Source: Police Abuse of Power | International Justice Mission Canada


Many Canadians love to live in a kind of fantasy world where corruption is always somewhere else. And maybe corruption is worse in other countries, I’m not sure. That is what the ‘social indexes’ tend to say. Canada usually ranks fairly well for corruption compared to places like Somalia and South Sudan.

A study published in 2002 found a “very strong significant correlation” between the Corruption Perceptions Index and two other proxies for corruption: black market activity and an overabundance of regulation. – Wikipedia

There was a time when I believed that. I believed what the CBC pundits told us, with their oh so Canadian air of moral authority. Canada is the peacemaker. Canada is the watchdog. Canada is the role model. And of course, the very boring whine, Canada is not the USA, as if to imply that the USA is a cauldron of violence and sin whereas Canada is not.

After doing my Ph.D., however, I am beginning to feel that this media spin is utter bullshit.

Now let’s switch gears to the present.

The pandemic has hurt so many people but there’s one guy who is laughing all the way to the bank. His name is Jeff Bezos and he is the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon.

I’m using Amazon a bit more these days, especially to fill in for those items I cannot get or which are too high priced at the all-night drug store, where I am still doing most of my shopping in the wee hours when almost nobody is there.

(Sorry Trump and Tucker Carlson, I think you are both a bit off base here. This virus can kill people and unlike others, it is highly contagious. Although I am glad that Trump is feeling better, I would not have wanted to be his driver in that closed vehicle!)

But I don’t want to rant about that. It’s all over the news today.

No, I want to return to the topic of Amazon shopping and how that might relate to the possibility of clandestine corruption.

Amazon seems great. In Canada, we also have Amazon Hub Lockers where you can pick up your stuff any time you want. That saves me from having my beloved afternoon nap disturbed (the post office person knocks loudly on the door when making an Amazon delivery, so I had to find an alternative solution).

But there’s a catch.

Amazon sends you tons of emails asking you to rate your experience. It also emails your list of items and even the code number for opening your Hub Locker (if by chance you don’t have a phone to just scan the barcode, which also works).

And that’s not so great.

Not that I think an unseemly email hacker would steal my Amazon stuff. The only person (maybe persons) I suspect of reading my emails would also want everyone else – that’s you – to think I am nuts for suspecting them. So if they stole my stuff, it would only prove my suspicion that I do not have email privacy.

Follow the logic? Err… illogic?

So I am not really worried about assholes stealing my stuff. But I am concerned about assholes seeing what I buy if they are hacking my email.

This concern doesn’t only apply to Amazon. When I shop at Shoppers Drug Mart I usually request emailed receipts because some of the items I buy are eligible for tax deductions. And these are highly personal items that only I should know about. For some demented email hacker to see my drug store shopping list is a moral violation, no other way to put it.

Of course, I don’t know. You never know with organized crime and abuses of power. Sometimes I feel the two may be connected. Cops on the take. Cops who feel puffed up and important because they are “connected” in larger criminal circles.

What a sad mentality that is.

“I am important because I can violate your privacy and get away with it.”

Myself, I will keep shopping online and also keep getting my receipts emailed to me.

But I do not like the lingering feeling that some creepy, social misfit who can’t make friends the real way gets their kicks out of prying into my private life.

Can we do anything about it?

Well, pretending it’s not there or at least, that this is not possible will do nothing to make things better.

So that’s why I speak today.

I don’t expect miracles. Maladjusted misfits will always get their jollies vicariously.

If for whatever reasons someone cannot form genuine relationships they will by necessity live in an isolated world of fantasy, clicking away at their mouse looking for some kind of warped, distorted connection to real life, like those poor monkeys in the psychology textbooks who clung to cloth dolls in wire cages when they were deprived of real, organic mothers.

No, we usually cannot stop them. But we can at least try to raise awareness. As I often say, simply ignoring problems will never help to improve them.

And maybe if we are truly Christian, we should actually feel sorry for the monkeys. Correction – Human beings behaving like monkeys.

What do you think?