sympathy for the stabber?

What’s the right balance between the public’s right to know and the privacy of victims and criminals?

Right now it seems to me that too much of the crazy stuff that goes on in our community gets swept under the carpet.

If Bells Corners residents rely on the media, the politicians and the police to keep them informed, then they’ll only get a small piece of the picture.

The media occasionally have stories about crime in Bells Corners, but only if the crime is particularly noteworthy.

For example, when the robbers recently hit the Esso in broad daylight, customers kept blithely filling up their cars, saying “I don’t want to get involved” or “Goody, free gas, the attendant is tied up with a pistol pointed at his head.”

That got a few lines in the Citizen, prompting the head of the BIA and his boss RC to muse about hiring private police to protect Bells Corners businesses.

You can’t blame the big media too much – Bells Corners is hardly on their radar at all. We’re pretty small potatoes here in RickyTown.

You can’t blame the community papers – they pay their reporters peanuts, so you can’t expect them to work 90 hours a week doing investigative journalism.

And it’s easier for the underpaid, overworked scribes at OttawaThisWeek/EMC to rely on the politicians to feed them stories (the same ones who pay the papers’ bills by buying lots of political ads with taxpayer funds).

Info from the councillor? Forget it! Knowledge is power and RC only lets it out dribs and drabs if it builds his brand. I can’t believe the number of residents who tell me that he never returns phone calls or answers his email. He’s more concerned about rewarding his friends than serving his constituents.

Nobody has the finances or the connections in high places to take on RC in an election, so why should he worry about losing a few votes?

The police? Don’t you want them spending their resources on catching criminals instead of reporting to citizens?

They do make an effort on their website -if you persist you can eventually end up at something that looks like this.

Then you can click on a symbol to get a little more info:

Are break-ins a problem in Bells Corners? Do we need to be especially vigilant? It’s hard to know.

I have to apologize for an error in the post Student knifed in Hillside Park – I was forgetting that RC has apparently already renamed this park.

I could post more details about this violent knife attack, but the ‘stabee’ is underage and I don’t want to piss off the stabber too much – he doesn’t sound like a very friendly guy.

Besides, the focus should be on the big questions:

– Is this an isolated incident or is there a lot of crime in Hillside Park (or whatever RC named it)? I’ve written before about how my daughter and her boyfriend were assaulted there.

– Is crime a problem in Bell H.S.? I remember at one point there was a discussion about installing metal detectors. A reassuring statement from the principal might help.

– Is there anything ordinary folk can do to make Bells Corners a safer community?

Here are some gruesome details:

As usual, the students flock to RC’s park at lunch and on their breaks, to escape their teacher tormentors, shoot a few hoops and litter up the park to provide employment for City cleaners.

They swear a bit, do a bit of vandalism, gossip, have a few fights – just the normal teenage stuff.

But a particularly thorny problem arose between a Bell student and an ex-Bell student. The subject of the dispute was NOT over a girl or an argument about who’s better, Bruins or Habs.

It was a dispute over the root of all evil.

The stabber (over the age of majority) was losing the debate, so he decided to resort to his trusty switchblade to teach the Bell kid a lesson.

Being basically a good kid who had probably experienced some tough breaks in life, he showed great restraint and only plunged his weapon into the Bell student’s thigh. If I were to be stabbed I’d probably pick the same spot, or maybe my calf. So let’s have some sympathy for the stabber – he could have been a lot nastier. Maybe he had an especially ugly childhood.

As for the ‘stabee’ I have sympathy for him too. I hope this is a wake-up call for everyone – it is NOT okay to settle disputes with violence.

The pen can be mightier than the sword.

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