Straight Outta Squampton
Squamish has always had a bad-ass reputation. Being so close to the two richest communities in Canada, the press is all to eager to pounce on any and all tabloid worthy stories. Not that we haven’t given them some doozies. The Elaho beat down saw Squamish’s government wanting to implement a long haired tourist boycott while local boys dealt with the problem by nearly beating the protesters to death.
Of course this story was followed by the group of boys and girls who got away with murdering a prominent local lawyer (Bob MaCintosh). And who can forget the Canada day brawl where several well connected American climbers got pummeled for mouthing off local kids. Any lull in the action was filled with the numerous weekend / grad / commuter deaths on the 99, appropriately nicknamed the ‘Sea them die’ highway. And these are just the stories that made it to the media. The stories told when the camera was off were equally adept in maintaining our image.
Now we’re back in black and white with our top ten crime ranking. Larry Murray of Crime Stoppers was quoted as saying “…Downtown I pass the pipe smokers and potheads and people sitting on stolen bicycles…” First of all the guy with the pipe may be eccentric but tobacco is still legal. Secondly, why are you just passing people on what you know as a fact to be stolen bikes? And last but not least, the potheads. This completely ignorant comment shows just how removed from the problem so-called professionals are. Pot is not the problem. The meth, crack and junk heads get a hit and their brain is so scrambled they will do anything for another. Up to and including stealing bikes, robbing stores, or killing their mother. Potheads at worst grab your last jelly timbit.
Marijuana is no worse than caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or any of the countless other drugs with large PR firms convincing you they’re acceptable. The longer we divert valuable resources away from the real problem the more damage it does to our society as a whole.
In the end, major societal shifts in education and attitudes are the only thing that will truly put an end to our crime problem but realistically that will never happen. Thus leaving us continually relying on bandaid solutions.
The watch groups are great, but I question our councils recent decision to make landlords responsible for sniffing out meth labs and grow operations. Here you have criminals who are smart enough to elude trained professionals and landlords are on the hook for not catching them? Sure it’s always been quietly encouraged, but I’m more than a little suprised that we would officially embrace our communities tradition of vigilante justice.
Of course there is a silver lining to all this bad publicity. The word is getting out that Squamish is actually a cool little town with an incredible community and our reputation as a bunch of violent hoopleheads kept our paradise an affordable secret for far longer than anyone living here would have guessed.