Off the Line – Karen Haviland: really knows what happened?

“Karen, there are never two sides to a story; there are three or four or even more.”

When I first became a reporter I had a very wise editor (Sharlene Imhoff) who told me, “Karen, there are never two sides to a story; there are three or four or even more.”

Oh, how very right she was.

Think about it.

When a couple gets divorced, there is his version of why the marriage failed, there is her version and there is the version of many of the intimate onlookers. To each and every one of those mentioned above, their version is the truth.

So, which version is true?

I think that if you take a mishmash of those versions and mix them all together you are more likely to see some sort of truth instead of a one-dimensional version of the truth.

Such is the way of the recent tragedy regarding Peter de Groot. I say it’s a tragedy because any time a life is lost, regardless of the circumstance, it is cause for mourning.

I have read and heard many “truths” about Mr. de Groot, the manhunt, the officers involved and the support services in Slocan during that time.

There are “truths” and then there are real truths.

Mr. de Groot was somebody’s son, nephew, uncle, friend, loved one. He breathed air, he felt joy and he felt pain. He was a living, breathing human being, the same as you or me. That is a truth. He was not simply someone you read about in the paper, or heard about on the news, or was gossiped about on the streets; he was as real and dimensional as you or me.

The same can be said about the police officers involved. At the end of the day they go home to family too — if they’re lucky. They do the best they can at their job, the same as you or me. That is also a truth.

As for the other “truths” that is hard to say for sure.

There has been much flaming about the way the RCMP handled the situation. Some folks have even come right out and made unfounded accusations which I won’t even repeat here because doing so will only serve to further those comments and accusations.

Who really knows what happened?

Right now only three people know for sure and that is the two officers involved and Mr. de Groot, who is dead.

All the rest that has been said or written is unfounded at this point. Was Mr. de Groot an Afghanistan vet? There are those who say he was there are those who firmly deny it. What is the truth?

Was Mr. de Groot a dangerous man whose very existence threatened those around him? Some will say he was, and yet there are those who say he was a peaceable man who only wanted to live his life his way. What is the truth?

Some say the situation was handled poorly and that DeGroot did not have to die in order to find a successful resolution. And yet there are those who say they are glad their families were kept safe and thank the RCMP for doing their duty.

Emotions are running high right now and understandably so. It seems there is no middle ground. You are either pro RCMP or pro DeGroot. People are divided in their opinions, even in my own household.

Now is the time for calm heads and thoughtful discussion. Could Mr. DeGroot have been helped prior to the incident and thus might have avoided his demise? Who knows for sure?

We might never know the truth of what happened that day. The closest we will come will be when the Independent Investigations Office finishes their investigation and shares its findings with the public.

There are already those who claim that the IIO will simply cover up the ordeal. This I will disagree with.

The IIO is established in the Ministry of Justice and its Chief Civilian Officer is mandated to never have served as a police officer. The key word in IIO is independent. That is also a truth, whether you choose to believe that or not.

Maybe I am naïve, but I trust in our justice system. I have yet to form a clear opinion about what happened in that cabin near Slocan. I choose instead to wait until the official word comes down regarding that fateful day.

To the DeGroot family I offer my most sincere condolences. To the officers involved I thank you for helping keep me and those I love safe.

Just Posted

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

Spring has sprung in the Kootenays

Showers and temperatures near the seasonal norm of 10 C are expected by Sunday

Two missing in Pend d’Oreille crash

A 15-year-old male and 18-year-old female both from Fruitvale are missing and presumed deceased

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read