Welcome to Canada! Land of beavers and moose, polar bears and ice. We all live in igloos and go to work on dog sleds - no worry about carbon taxes and greenhouse gases here! The country is populated by "nice" people. Canadians are "friendly"
"peaceful" "polite" and "modest". We don't like conflict, we don't like laying blame or punishing people. We like to encourage people and enable them to better their lives. We want to see the positives, not the negatives. OK, so Jimmy murdered three people horribly, but he is very sorry and he is now taking Grade 12 Biology, so that's good, isn't it? Now, I can't really agree with this viewpoint, but then I am not really Canadian, am I? Oh yes, I have all the official paperwork that says that I am. I can vote for whatever wishy-washy, can't-be-trusted, generally useless politician that I want for at the next election. I have a passport, I pay my taxes, I fill in my national census forms. To all intents and purposes, I am Canadian. But, I don't drink Molson beer, I don't paint maple leaves on my face on Canada Day, I couldn't really give a toss who wins the Stanley Cup and I don't think that the greatest Canadian is Wayne Gretzky or Don Cherry. I am also not wishy-washy or nice and I am not particularly friendly, peaceful, polite or modest. To be honest, I don't think many Canadians actually are, except for their politicians, who have a lot to answer for.
So, to the title of this post. I am sure that most of you have heard about the U.S's policy on crime - three strikes and you are out. What that means is, if you commit three felony offences, you are put away for a long, long time. Now, I don't know if they actually throw away the key, but let's just say that you are in deep do-do at this point. You have had your chances, and you blew them. You now have to suck it up and accept the consequences of your actions. Now that, apparently, is a foreign concept north of the 49th parallel. Consequences? What are those? Why should I take the consequences, it wasn't my fault. And all the bleeding heart liberals seem to agree with the criminals. So, they are not given three chances, not five, not even ten. Oh no, the latest suggested figure is 30! Yep, thirty. Just in case you didn't learn from you previous twenty eight mistakes, we will let you make one more before cracking down on you.
This all comes from Chief Jim Chu of the Vancouver Police Department and it is his way of getting "tough" on crime.
"We say, 30 strikes and you're out, which means we are asking our judges toSignificant prison time amounts to a recommended two years. All those big mafia bosses out there must be shaking in their boots and all those drug addled petty crime offenders that plague the city and its inhabitants probably couldn't give a toss, since they probably don't read the newspapers or watch TV and so are blissfully unaware of the whole issue. If they are not high or in a drug-induced stupor, all they are worried about is where their next fix is coming from. Now, I will never have any sympathy with the mafia bosses or any kind of gangs or organised crime. However, I am willing to admit that people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol need to be helped. Let's not wait until they commit thirty crimes, however petty, before we actually do something to help them. Yes, I know it won't be easy, that it will cost money and that most of them will be back on the streets before too long, but surely if we can even get some off the streets and back to a productive, meaningful existence, that has to be better than none. Of course, Vancouver does have the 2010 Winter Olympic Games coming up, so that will at least provide some impetus to, if not solve the problem, at least hide it or move it on so that the world doesn't get to see Vancouver's not-so-pretty side.
protect the public by giving these criminals significant prison time, and we are
asking for Parliament and our appellate courts to give the judges the tools they
need to better respond to this problem."
So why thirty strikes? I suspect it comes down to "Canadian-ness". The fact that Canadians don't like to lay blame or accept responsibility. The two come hand-in-hand. It is never anyone's fault, the blame always lies elsewhere and therefore you don't have to accept responsibility for your actions."My mother was a drunk and my father beat me." "I came from a broken home." "My wife kept on nagging me. It was her fault that I stabbed her 38 times, she pushed me to it." That last one is from a recent case and that was the reason he gave for trying to get the charge reduced to manslaughter and not murder. Another recent case was the one where a gas attendant was run over and then dragged under his car for 7.5km, all for $12.30 worth of gas. The young offender only got 9 years for this brutal killing, which was then reduced to seven, since it wasn't really his fault, he came from an aboriginal family and had a terrible childhood.
I am not saying that people don't have hard lives, that they don't face difficulties and trials that never came near me when I was growing up or throughout my adult life. I cannot even begin to comprehend or understand what it must have been like to grow up abused or neglected. However, I do think that people do have an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong. You don't need to have grown up in a religious family, being dragged along to church every Sunday to know what is right and wrong. I don't believe in God (although I was dragged to church every Sunday when growing up), I don't follow the Ten Commandments. I don't need to. I generally know what is right and wrong. I know if I wouldn't like something done to me or my friends and family, then it is probably wrong. I know I wouldn't want an ice pick stuck in my eye, I wouldn't want a man to rape me or someone to steal my car, TV, cat, camera etc etc. These things would be wrong and I don't need to be told that. I also know that my actions have consequences. If I beat someone around the head with a baseball bat, they are likely to be hurt badly and perhaps die. If I have personally observed this, then I will know what to expect the second time I do it. So, to say that two teenage boys didn't know that they could kill a man by beating him around the head with a baseball bat the first time is stretching it a bit. To claim that they still didn't know the possible consequences of their actions the second time that they did it is ludicrous. But, after their arrests, the pair were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the deaths, but this was reduced to manslaughter after the judge said they didn't have the experience or foresight to show murderous intent.
Do I need to go on, because I could? This is a difficult topic, and I will admit that there are generally no easy answers. There is little in the way of black and white in such complex issues. But surely a little dose of common sense, reality and accepting the consequences of your actions would go a long way in addressing this issue. There, I have said my bit, for now...........