On Saturday morning at 5 a.m., a 61-year-old man (who weighed 120 lbs soaking wet) was nearly beaten to death one block from my house. He was walking across the Canadian Tire parking lot and was swarmed by a group of youths who repeatedly kicked and ground his head into the pavement and left him for dead. One block from my house. Which is right next to the RCMP detachment.
We've been having troubles with youth vandalism lately, so the community was debating whether to implement a curfew for teens. City Council voted it down three weeks ago, saying that it wasn't fair to the good kids and did little to deter the bad kids from doing what they were doing. I agreed, and still do. But clearly, we gotta do SOMETHING.
Maybe we need to get rid of the lenient federal young offender laws that give kids a very minor slap on the wrist for very serious offenses. Maybe kids need to learn that there are actual consequences to their actions when they are young so they don't continue to do these things when they are older.
Or maybe we just have to accept that this kind of thing is going to happen when a city starts to grow. Maybe we have to accept that bad people are going to do bad things, and it doesn't matter how many police officers we have patrolling our streets, they can't catch them all.
I know this sounds silly to those of you living in big metropolitan cities where these things happen all the time, but this is new to me. Airdrie, at 30,000 people, is the biggest place I've lived since I went to college about a million years ago. I grew up on a farm near a town of 1500 people, then after college I moved around Alberta a lot, but all were towns of 5000 people or less. These kinds of things just didn't happen.
But now I live 15 minutes north of very rapidly expanding Calgary, where crime is getting worse and worse, and those of us who have lived around this area all our lives are shocked at how fast it has escalated. I know it's incredibly naive and unrealistic, but I liked my world better when things like this happened in other cities; not one block from my house.