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For a little context, this guy was at a small street festival in downtown Calgary this afternoon. I spotted him when he bent down to pick up the dead magpie after it fell out of his shirt. Yes, his shirt. He was carrying it alternately in his shirt and down his pants, his hand and face were smeared with blood, and he was drooling.


Although completely passive, he was clearly suffering from some form of mental illness or condition, and the festival's security people had no idea how to deal with him, so they just herded him down the street (and through the crowd). He repeatedly dropped the bird and picked it up, and at one point tried to sit down on a bench occupied by a couple of senior ladies. I suspect they haven't moved that fast in a very long time.


The security (I use that term VERY loosely) personnel directed him down the block and outside the confines of the festival, and he dropped the bird for good (perhaps at their insistence). The last glimpse I had of him was ambling slowly toward the drop-in centre (homeless shelter) escorted by the two security people. It was a few blocks away, so it seemed to me a better idea to call the police or EMTs.


©2012 Doug Springer,

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Taken on August 11, 2012