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  December 06, 2007 | Taser Love « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (0) | Archives | About Email lind at

I hadn't planned that a taser would play a role in Raj's homecoming, though I suspected he would arrive in a coma. But when Vancouver RCMP tasered and killed Robert Dziekanski, that sealed Raj's fate.

The ink was barely dry on this week's cartoon when I read of the mounties' new policy to allow multiple tasering in cases where a person is suffering from "excited-delirium syndrome." But, according to the Globe,

the term "excited delirium" is not formally recognized by the World Health Organization nor the American Medical Association as an actual psychological or medical condition.

So Economy Class Syndrome was in the cartoon before before the news of that other syndrome got out. Suddenly, my cartoon didn't seem so far fetched. Another instance of life imitating satire.

As I was sickened viewing the video of the death of Robert Dziekanski, I thought about the police brutality at anti-globalization protests. There is a clear continuum between the reaction of police at these protests and the rights-robbing security measures rationalized by the war on terror. Without strong civilian oversight and strict laws curbing their power, police will abuse the guilty and the innocent. It happens again and again.

I was at the Quebec City G8 Summit and was caught in police tear gas (impossible not to have been -- it wafted about the old city in clouds). I happened on a side street and encountered a riot squad escorting a medieval catapult with pink stuffed teddy bears.

It turned out, I read afterwards, the catapult had been used by an anarchic artists' collective to send the teddies flying over the police barrier. A new-retro equivalent to putting flowers in gun barrels? Anti-globalization activist Jaggi Singh was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon -- said teddy catapulter. He was released on bail and the charges were later dropped. But his bail conditions included being prohibited from organizing or taking part in demonstrations. He also wasn't allowed to use a magaphone. And, presumably, catapult any pink teddies.

The incident inspired one of my favourite cartoons ( excerpt below), part of a funny series where Horst and Celia are "accompanied" to the Quebec protests with RCMP minders on a road trip.



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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