Ex Cop tells students their options when faced with an Active Shooter or Disaster


Screenshot 2014-05-16 05.01.24


Home » News » Retired officer highlights options for violent encounters

Thursday, May, 15, 2014 – 2:02:08 PM
Retired officer highlights options for violent encounters
By Melissa Murray
Kitchener Post staff
According to Gary Askin, a retired Waterloo Regional Police Service investigator, every kid needs to be a stakeholder in their own safety.
And it’s a message he is trying to spread. (see video here)
Last Thursday, Askin presented a workshop to a group of Specialist High School Major Program students at Conestoga College about emergency preparedness and what they should do if they are confronted with a violent encounter.
It was just recently that Askin realized students are taught only one thing if there is a lockdown — hide, lock the door and turn off the lights.
“It’s kind of an outdated policing perspective, but it only looks good on paper,” he said.
But people have options, whether that’s in a school setting or in an office.
Askin promotes three different options for people faced with a violent encounter, like an active shooting: run, hide or act.

It’s a method unlike what he said is currently being taught in schools and is based on FBI and Homeland Security training.
“We’ve got to change the model. Frequently, the best option is to get safely away,” he said.
“I’m not sure why that option was never given to kids.”
Askin said some training could have saved the students in the South Korean ferry disaster last month.
Many who died listened to the ship’s captain and remained on the ferry until it sank, while others saw help on its way and opted to jump into the water.
“It is so sad to see other kids wait for help that didn’t come,” he said.
After working with WRPS for more than 30 years, Askin said emergency preparedness is something he is passionate about and is really needed. His workshop also covers what to do in the event of a fire, flood, earthquakes and other disasters, but much of the focus is on violent encounters.
“The chances are you are more likely to be injured in a violent encounter than a fire,” he said.
But when it comes to acting, he said that doesn’t necessarily mean a fight.
“It could mean throwing a stapler. You do what you have to,” he said.
Askin is hoping to spread his message through local high schools and also in area workplaces.
“Kids are entitled to know their options and have to fight for their lives. I know it’s scary, but the alternative is worse.”
“If a shooter lines students up and starts firing and your kid is number five, fighting for their life might be their only option . . . giving up should not be an option,” he said.
Since 2011, Conestoga College has brought in more than 1,500 students for workshops like Askin’s, according to Mike Diamond, manager of corporate training at the college.
A variety of workshops, including safe food handling, basic boating and smart serve courses have been offered previously.
That assortment is what engages students.
“The variety means they will strike a cord with somebody,” he said.
And Askin hopes something from his presentation will help the 16 students as they finish high school.
“I hope when they leave they have the confidence to make good decisions. Now they should know what to do to survive.”

see http://www.iiso.ca

How safe is Medical marihuana ?

marihuana rx

Is Medical Marijuana Safe? Does anyone really know?

By Gary Askin


As of April this year, Canadians have a new way of accessing marijuana in Canada. The new regulations, can be found under the Health Canada website under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes (MMPR) regulations.

With Liberal leader Justin Trudeau calling for marijuana legalization and an anticipated 1.3 billion dollar a year (by 2024) pot industry about to explode,corporate executives are now eagerly rubbing their hands together and lining up to get into the legal pot business.

But with all the fuss and giddy anticipation one wonders; is medicinal marijuana actually safe to use? Did it pass through Health Canada’s time consuming, arduous approval process, as every other drug has to, before it is unleashed on Canadians? Have we conducted appropriate clinical trials? How about pharmacology, toxicology or micro biology testing?

This seemed like a simple question when I started my search at the Health Canada website.  I found three companies listed as licensed marijuana producers.

Cannimed Ltd, Mettrum Ltd and a group called the Peace Naturals Project which were  granted Health Canada’s approval to produce and sell marijuana to Canadians.

I checked their websites to see if they could assure me that their medical marijuana is safe for consumption. It’s interesting that Cannimed and the Peace Naturals websites, address marijuana safety in their FAQ section.  Unfortunately, neither will answer their own question. Both responses are eerily similar and discuss testing for ingredients and contaminants, and a recall process “in the unlikely event of a problem”.

Wait a minute, what? They don’t elaborate on what kind of problem they refer to.

Mettrum doesn’t have a FAQ page on their website but state they will be offering a marijuana product that will meet or exceed 17% levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC  which is the active ingredient that makes you high)

You heard that right. 17 %  THC.

If you’re my age the stuff they were passing around at the Flock of Seagulls concert in 1980, boasted a mind altering 1-2 % THC.

ted marihuana

This reminded me of the scene from the movie TED where Mark Wahlberg’s talking stuffed bear is telling him of new highly potent strain of pot called “This may be Permanent”, “They’re Coming They’re Coming” and one blend called “Gorilla Panic”

17 % thc in marihuana- is that safe?

I did not get an answer from the licensed producers whether or not this new high-powered, ultra potent, medicinal marijuana is safe to use. I went back to Health Canada to ask the  professionals. Surely the scientists who are tasked with our safety and health care needs and whose goal is to;

“Communicate information about disease prevention to protect Canadians from avoidable risks” and who’s mission is to provide Canadians with  “credible information and reliable advice”  

and can answer two simple questions pertaining to marijuana’s safety and approval process.

After 7 calls and an email to various divisions tasked with providing information on medical marijuana no one would or could answer my questions.

Each time I asked, I was directed to send an email asking the same questions.

No one would volunteer their last names and kept referring me back and forth from the MMPR program to the  Regulatory Project Management Division to the Consumer Product Safety Division.

Same answer “send an email”.

I did get a call back from Christine Leroux an employee of the Regulatory Project Management Division, who felt I should call Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch to get my answers.

I called them and asked the Health Canada employee;

“Did marijuana go through the same testing process as other approved drugs?”

His response “I’m not positive”

I asked “Is it safe to use?” I was told I would have to send an email as he could not comment on such an issue.

I replied  “If you work for Health Canada and can’t tell me if a drug is safe to use? Do you know who can?

“No comment”.

I never dreamed that two simple questions would be so difficult to answer by the persons entrusted to look after the health and safety of Canadians.

After a day of attempting to get answers on marijuana safety and approvals from our entrusted Health Canada officials, and  navigating throughout the massive Health Canada website, I stumbled upon a posting on the Health Canada website;

Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) is not an approved therapeutic product and the provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, or of cannabis generally, by Health Canada. Cannabis has not been authorized through the standard Health Canada drug approval process because the available scientific evidence does not establish the safety and efficacy of cannabis to the extent required by the Food and Drug Regulations for marketed drugs in Canada


There it was. The corporate messaging no one at Health Canada could give me.

It appears Health Canada doesn’t know if medical marijuana is safe (or effective).

This was a simple question. The answer was they just don’t know.

We have all heard stories of ground breaking medications being developed and used in other countries that Canadians can’t access as they haven’t been studied and approved.

Why is marihuana the exception and why did our government overlook all the protective rules and processes designed to ensure our safety, just to fast track this drug into our hands?

pot pharmacist

Health Canada has had its critics in the past. When it set up the initial Medical Marihuana Access program in 2000, it allowed prescribed users to grow pot in their own residences. The dangers of marihuana home grows have been well documented. Yet Health Canada allowed these potential fire hazards to exist throughout our country.

When requested by Waterloo Regional Police Chief Matt Torigian to identify these locations, to mitigate our community and EMS workers from potential explosions and or fires, Health Canada refused to divulge where they were located or even how many there were.

A follow up discussion with David Juurlink an MD, a clinical pharmacologist and drug safety researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences center in Toronto, about Health Canada’s decision to approve the addictive generic form of oxycodone stated:

“What little is known about how drugs are given the ok, would alarm Canadians dependent on them, and even the doctors prescribing them”

Health Canada never approved medical marijuana and yet with no scientific evidence of safety or efficacy, it’s available for use anyway.

When I pick up my cholesterol medication the pharmacist briefs me on dosages, contra-indications, how and when to take it and just in case Im not listening, he staples 3 more pages of information to my little pill bag.

Not the case with medical marihuana. With a prescription it will arrive on your door step. No briefing, no information on clinical trials or potential addiction. No idea what will happen when you consume it.

Unfortunately, if someone has an adverse medical reaction to the 17 % thc levels of our government sponsored marijuana ,it will not be because of a missed, miniscule detail or a small flaw in the system.

It will be because this is exactly how the system has been designed.


(ps  as of January 24/2014 Health Canada stills hasn’t returned my emails with an answer)

Gary Askin is a recently retired police officer who is now a licensed private investigator.

The War on Drugs and other Disasters

The War on Drugs and other Disasters

A new theory on how police are not in  the War on Drugs and never have been and an  alternative solution.

An Ignite Waterloo talk by Gary Askin at the Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, June 12/2012.


“When did the neighbourhod cop become the soldier”

Compronet-using Twitter to report and dispatch?

Fascinating, innovative and powerful software being developed in the Netherlands will be a game changer for cops and the public.  This takes crowd sourcing and citizen engagement to a new level.  The video speaks for itself.


Breaking the Law of Unintended Consequences

by Superintendent Gary Askin


During the days and weeks after 911 police stumbled upon a weapon so powerful it virtually halted drug trafficking and reduced crime. Best of all it was free, it required no judicial oversight, no legislative authority to govern it, and no Police Board approval to use it.  As police officers, this was our finest hour and we didn’t even realize it.  We unwittingly created a scenario that Sociologist Robert Merton identified in 1936 called  “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action.”

What exactly is that? Consider this example

In the 1981 movie Body Heat, William Hurt’s lawyer character hatches a plot with his lover, played by Kathleen Turner, to murder the woman’s husband.  While plotting, Hurt receives some sobering advice from an experienced criminal client, portrayed with trademark style by Mickey Rourke

“I got a serious question for you”, says Rourke.  “What the (expletive) are you doing? This is not (expletive) for you to be messin’ with. Are you ready to hear something? I want you to see if this sounds familiar: any time you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you’re gonna (expletive) up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you’re a genius… and you ain’t no genius”.

In the simplest of terms, Rourke was citing the well-known Theory of Unanticipated Consequences.   In 1936, Sociologist Robert Merton wrote “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action” in which he discussed how our decisions and actions can and will always result in unintended consequences.  Sometimes these are positive, and sometimes they are negative, but the theory holds that we cannot always know which will occur, and the unanticipated consequences are often well outside our control.  The power of this law has been well recognized by economists and sociologists for decades but curiously, ignored by most of us in the policing profession. Continue reading