Shortcomings In Education

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

You realize of course, this coming Wednesday is the Ides of March. Every year since 44 BC when Julius Caius Caesar was made into a wind instrument by his friends, Brutus, Cassius, and a couple of other bozos, a famous person is killed.

Last year it was the first manager of a Loblaw store to post the sign, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup 3 cans for $8.99 or 1 can for $14.95, a marketing plan understood by no one except Galen Weston and two inmates at the Penetang Home for the Criminally Insane.

I am going to cheat here and run part of an old column I stumbled upon while browsing through my first book I hate to complain, but… way back in 1997 before some of you were born, there was a robbery in the City of Barrie and, well, why don’t I just run some of it for you.

What Kind Of Crooks Are We Producing?

When is this province going to stop worrying about student/teacher ratios and start spending a few bucks to educate the people who really need help – the poor criminals? Last week, some guy in Barrie slipped out of his handcuffs and escaped from the police. Then in a move that will guarantee him a chapter of his own in Great Jailbreaks of the Twentieth Century, he ran home and hid in the freezer.

Now I haven’t had much experience running from the law, but I would think that heading for home is not the sharpest move an escapee could make. It took years for the marshals to find Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One good reason was they hid in Bolivia; they didn’t run home and climb in with the frozen hamburger. Of course, there were no freezers in the 1880s, but even if there were I’m sure a Frigidaire wouldn’t be high on the list of good hiding places. Freezers would have brought a whole new meaning to the term hardened criminals.

“We’ve found Jack the Ripper, Chief. Right now we’ve got him in the microwave. What do you think? About five minutes on Jet Defrost?”

I believe that such a dumb move by a member of our modern criminal society is the direct result of the weakness of the Ontario public school system. It’s time schools started to do a better job. A course on evading the police should be something that is taught to kids at an early age, say Grade 2 – 4 at the latest.

“Class, today we are going to learn where to go when you are on the lam from the fuzz.

  1. Don’t run home.
  2. Don’t climb into anything that locks from the outside.

(These area not a problem in the separate school system. Francis Smith, an ex-cop, is on the board. Francis would never send a kid out into the world without a proper education.)

Now that Dave Johnson (remember him?) is taking big whacks out of the education budget, it’s going to get worse. I heard on the CBC that in the National scholastic tests, Ontario students finished half-way down the list in reading; near the bottom in science; and dead last in escaping the cops. The kid they tested; put a paper bag over his head and just sat there.

On the other hand, there is some logic in hiding in your own home; nobody would think to look there. They got the guy in Barrie, that’s true, but Barrie is an exception. The citizens down there are not that far up the evolutionary scale. They wouldn’t have been able to think of anywhere else to go. My son, Paul, lives there. I fear for the kids. If they ever decide to take up bank robbery as a profession, the cops will just wait on the front lawn until they came home.

Another thing! It wouldn’t be a bad idea to send the Barrie cops back to police college for a refresher course in basic robber trickery

  1. If a criminal is wearing cape, a top hat, and says his name is Houdini, don’t use the toy handcuffs.     


I had been following a series on A&E about the rise and fall of the Mafia Dons who terrorized the United States in the late 19th and the 20th centuries when I originally wrote the column back in 1997.

The American public has always had a fascination for big time criminals, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Baby Face Nelson. Up here its whoever the Prime Minister was who brought in the GST.

To be honest I went a bit too far. I am almost ashamed to say that the next paragraph was a rather vicious attack on the board of directors of Canada’s big banks. A completely unwarranted tirade I realize now in 2023 since they were not the scoundrels I thought them to be. And even if they were, they were mere amateurs compared to today’s directors of the oil companies and Canada’s grocery chains.                                                                 

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