Opinion » Maxed Out

A few May long weekend strategies to consider



Well, it's been a week. We've had a chance to cool down, steam up, become distracted with some new outrage, or segue into summer and move on to more pressing matters.

Another May long weekend, another not-so-random act, er, acts of violence. Lower Mainland losers working out their petty squabbles, posturing their faux manhood, and generally parading their worthless lives to a public just trying to have a good time. Fortunately, the vast majority of people in town for the long weekend were both uninvolved and unaware, in a personal sphere sense. They came, they celebrated, they did whatever it is people do when they come here in the summerish. They didn't see the violence, weren't involved, and other than wondering whether a return trip next Victoria Day is or is not a good idea, they too will go on with their lives.

Unfortunately, one 19 year old wasn't so lucky, having been on the receiving end of a brutal stabbing that left him dead. His death was like so many others. He knew his attackers. There was history between them, perhaps as his father said, it had something to do about his outspoken stance on drugs in his community. He was one; his cowardly attackers were four. Whether things got out of hand, or his death was a desired outcome is for the judicial system to work out. Those involved appear to have been from Burnaby.

Another 19-year-old man was stabbed. He too had "history" with his assailants, according to police. He didn't die. He was from Surrey.

Other than that — not that two stabbings isn't enough — there was the usual nonsense over the weekend: noisy parties, public drunkenness, intimidation, drugs, domestic violence, fighting, blah, blah, blah.

And now, members of our happy mountain home are once again asking how we can prevent this repetitious crap from happening every May long weekend. Two task forces have asked the same question over the past dozen years. The GO Fest has been one response, and while its success is writ in the faces of the happy folks who have taken part in its entertainment and distractions, the violence pops up suggesting more can be done.

Or can it?

The mayor has suggested opening meaningful lines of communications between Whistler and communities in the Lower Mainland. Well, sure; let's talk. No harm in that and it may do some good. But it's unlikely to keep dunderheaded, violence-bent arseholes from showing up, showing off and performing feats of mayhem.

Social media mavens have other suggestions, ranging from vigilante action in the form of roving gangs of enforcers, disallowing owners of rental suites not affiliated with hotels with front desks, clerks and security from renting their property during the weekend, imposing a 10 p.m. curfew for anyone under a certain age, and some so targeted toward specific hyphenated Canadians as to border on racist. And, of course, there's the idea of New Yearizing May long weekend by fencing off vast portions of the village and making it a ticketed, alcohol-free area, an idea that probably works better when it's freezing in Whistler and hotels are charging top prices.

The best idea came from my friend, Big Kev, who suggested the weekend-enhanced RCMP force enthusiastically enforce the unlawful assembly statute. According to Kev — and who am I to question whether he's done his homework or not? — an unlawful assembly is a group of three or more who conduct themselves in a way that causes people in the hood to fear they may disturb the peace.

Well, heck, who's going to argue with that? Clearly, the thugs causing the trouble congregate in groups of three or more. After all, they're cowards and cowards always need strength in numbers to make up for their lack of intelligence and clear thinking. They certainly conduct themselves in ways that intimidate people who think they're going to shake them down for lunch money or just pick a fight with them.

So bust their asses. Grab 'em, put 'em up against a wall, slip the zap straps over their wrists and trot them off to... good question; to where? We don't have nearly enough holding cells. Maybe gondola cars. Most of this happens at night, after sightseeing's over. Suspend them in gondola cars over night. Not like they'd be going anywhere from there. Don't imagine WB would be too thrilled about the idea.

How about buses? I still like the idea of bussing them up to Duffey Lake and turning them loose. No cell coverage up there. Chilly. Long walk. Temporary signs warning drivers to not pick up hitchhikers. Hungry wildlife.

But I'm sure there would be people who find that offensive. No one who lives here or is visiting over the May long weekend. But someone.

How about instead of fencing off the village, why not fence off part of the driving range, say, about 70 yards from the tee boxes? Round the miscreants up, call their folks to come pick them up, and in the meantime let duffers launch golf balls at them. Now, I'm not heartless; we could give them bike helmets to wear, not that there's anything in those empty heads to hurt.

Too violent? OK, fence off part of Blackcomb above Whistler Kids, behind the admin building. Put 'em in there and let people toss garbage at them. Lure the local bears down and watch the fun. Oops, maybe that last part pressed the too violent button again. Or maybe not.

Or maybe we should just chill a bit. This problem isn't new and it isn't going away, absent a massively oppressive police presence, until it runs its course and Whistler ceases to be the hot place for adolescent idiots to spend their long weekend. It's impossible, in a relatively free society, to be everywhere violence erupts. It probably makes more sense to continue to make the weekend more attractive for potential visitors we'd like to see here, less attractive for those we'd rather see go somewhere else — Hell for example — and stop getting too worked up about a problem we can't solve on a local level.

Who knows, maybe Surrey will become the hot place to hang out, er, stay on Victoria Day.