A young First Nations woman was in Winnipeg for medical reasons. She entered Okay Groceries and allegedly stole a can of meat. In a confrontation with the store owner, it is alleged that he hit her over the head. Five days later, Geraldine Beardy died of her injuries. The 61 year old owner,is facing a charge of aggravated assault, which may be upgraded to manslaughter or second-degree murder if police rule 29 year old, Beardy died because of an alleged blow to the head.
At most, that can of meat cost 3.99, is that really worth the life of a human being? We have been taught to protect property at all cost. This woman was supposedly drunk and could not have posed a legitimate threat to the store owner, therefore; his alleged actions were predicated on protecting canned meat and profit. This is how cheap life has become. We already know that First Nation citizens are highly devalued in Canada and therefore it is quite logical to believe that her race and gender factored into this alleged assault. I highly doubt a 61 year old man, would have confronted a white male with a weapon over a can of meat.
Alleged incidents like this prove how disconnected we have become from each other. We are not talking about over valued diamonds or a television set, we are talking about food, a human necessity. The fact that we have commodified food is one of the great evils of the capitalist system. Everything that we consume has a price tag but not everything is of equal value. Food, water, shelter, clothing and education are human rights, we have simply refused to understand them as such because of the overvaluation of money, over our fellow human beings.
We have heard much about the evils of socialism, without realizing that socialism, unlike capitalism saves lives. Socialism means that people who otherwise would not have been able to afford healthcare receive treatment. Socialism means that children receive an education and are therefore able to grow into adults that can participate in society. Socialism values people. As the economy continues to worsen the overvaluation of money will lead to death. The unfortunate case of Geraldine Beardy evidences this. How much is a can of meat worth to you?
There will be those that will argue that she should have visited a food bank if she were hungry, however; food banks are increasingly running short of food. They will only provide enough to get through a few days and you are only allowed to visit once a month. No one should ever go hungry in a country as rich as Canada. Hunger has become a way of life for many. First Nations citizens are the poorest individuals in Canada. The average First Nations family subsists on ten thousand dollars per year. In times of recession, it is the most marginalized that suffers the most. It is the combination of the systemic elements of racism and poverty that lead Beardy to be in that convenience store. It is incredibly sad that anyone would believe that protecting a can of meat was more important allowing another access to food.