Yesterday morning, I walked through one of those small parks that exist in the West End that were created some years ago when the City Fathers and Mothers blocked off a few streets and added a bench or two and some plants.
This was a good initiative.
Traffic was slowed down and diverted, and lovely little places of tranquility arose in the heart of a busy urban centre.
That, of course, was then and this is now.
Yesterday, my walk through this tiny park was more like a trot or a gentle jog.
Drug addicts, of course.
Most of the apartment buildings in proximity to these former havens - which are now little Main and Hastings replicas - have signs boasting a K9 Narco Patrol, or some such. In other words, this building gets a regular sweep by sniffing German shepherds for drugs on site. Reassuring, no doubt.
The addicts now own these little parks, just as they own many streets and alleys and entire neighbourhoods.
They own these public spaces by virtue of their dirtiness, their ugliness and their made or implied threat of contamination or assault.
They are the Poster Boys for Living Crime.
How did we get here?
20 YEARS OF BAD PUBLIC POLICY, that's how.
Unable and unwilling to ever say "no" to anyone, including and especially our own children, who must never be denied anything, we have as a community been giving out needles and heroin and methadone and crack pipe kits and anything else that would enable and give legitimacy to a life style choice that is illegitimate and destructive for all concerned.
We have asked or demanded nothing of the addicts who terrorize our land, because it isn't nice to judge other people (unless, of course, you happen to be a Judge, in which case, we all wish you would throw the Book at 'em once in a while) and we must always be seen as nice people who are never mean to anyone.
We have accepted the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, VANDU, as some sort of legitimate voice for "the oppressed," instead of recognizing for what it is - a non-group of disorganized drug freaks who want to shoot dope and rob citizens and be left alone to do what they do, because they have rights, don't you know.
What we have done with this Harm Seduction approach is caused more harm to more people than could ever have been imagined a few decades ago.
Harm especially to the addicts themselves.
1. They don't know where they stand. Is being a dope fiend a bad thing these days, or is it OK?
2. We have NO TREATMENT options for them, because, in spite of all the real evidence or real people who have cleaned up and moved on, we no longer believe in the efficacy of treatment. We actually declare in public documents sent from City Halls and other policy-making centres, that "treatment doesn't work."
Of course, the Harm to the public weal is almost uncountable now. An entire district - the DTES is a revolting to-be-avoided-at-all-costs international disgrace.
Street corners in every district throughout Great Vancouver are controlled by criminal drug addicts.
And the lovely little half-block parks in the West End?
Good luck, Bunky.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I've just been watching President Barack Obama speaking to the world about health care reform and other weighty matters.
Has there ever been such a plain-spoken leader?
I appreciate that he is a politician and a clever man. I do not think he is the Messiah.
But, man, he is a continuing pleasure to behold.
It is hard, after years and years of seeing nothing but liars and dissemblers in public life, to enjoy and find credible one who is talking directly to the heart of the matter.
He is far from perfect and he has already caused a few blips and speed bumps along the way.
But, dammit, he is good.
And he is credible.
About what other leader can this be said? Harper? Sarkozy? Campbell? Berlusconi?
Rock on, Pres. I for one am enjoying the ride.
Posted by David Berner at 9:48 AM