Five Stabbings, No Tomorrow

November 22, 2006

If recent headlines are any indication, violent crime by young E-Towners is out of control. Five stabbings this past weekend. I’m sure that on the mean streets of Detroit that figure is closer to an hourly total, but here in Edmonton it’s more than a little unsettling. A 17-year-old, Evan Grykuliak, knifed down on his birthday, DOA at the hospital; 17 years and an untold future down the drain simply for trying to get some undesirables to leave his party. Three men stabbed on Whyte and 105th street as several witnesses watched and later failed to come forward; one 20 year-old man, Dylan McGillis, dead, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend. Man pulled out of a truck and stabbed in the leg minutes later in the same area, probably by the same perpetrator. A 23 year-old man stabbed and beaten outside a Jasper Avenue club; two teenagers charged. That’s quite the weekend for the EPS. All of those killings are boggling. Why is the big question. Have a look at The Deadmonton Site (somewhat morbid but fascinating) for an interesting look at the rest of this year’s murders to date.

These recent murders are distressing and, in light of other recent brutal killings (Shane Rolston, Wil Conely) should cause concern. Mayor Mandel’s comments (Summarized Here) on the importance of increased policing may have sounded like mere placation, but they were necessary. And heartfeft, I believe. Edmonton now has the unwelcome distinction of the highest murder rate of any major city in Canada. We lost the Cup AND we’re going to top last year’s record kill total. A banner year, no?

Are the headlines truly cause for alarm? Does every young male pack a blade these days? Can’t we settle our differences with a punch to the jaw instead of a shank to the kidney? It’s a sad day when good ‘ol fashioned fist fighting doesn’t solve anything (not that it ever did, really, but at least nobody got killed); when it seems antiquated and trite. There are common threads to all the murders that I listed above: Young men, booze, and knives. Some city officials have forwarded the hypothesis that this recent spate of violence is, at least in part, caused by the influx of young males to our fair city. The fact that young men from across the country are flocking to our province is well-established, but whether that fact equates to more murders remains undemonstrated. It sounds true and reasonable, but is it? The violence by minors has a more obvious cause: light sentencing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Shayne Rolston’s murderers received little more than a slap on the wrist for their savagery. If a young, testosterone-heavy man knows that he’ll get no more than a few years for rubbing someone out, why wouldn’t he do it if a situation came down to it? When the liquor is smacking high and the ego is raging even higher, things can escalate to homicide very quickly.

We can’t ban knives and we can’t stop young men from drinking and doing dope. We can’t stop random and unpredictable violence of the type that took the lives of two young Edmontonians this past weekend. We can’t throw young people in jail forever with absolutely no hope of redeeming themselves. We can crack down on a few problem beerhalls. We can get more cops on the streets in high-risk areas during high-risk times. We can lobby for much stiffer youth sentences. What else can we do?

Vignette #134

4 reader comments (closed)

1

Nicole Pakan

There is an addition to your list of things that we can do to counteract the violence that is so disturbingly prevalent in Edmonton (and anywhere else for that matter).

I work for a non-profit that develops violence prevention programming for schools and communities. Although character education is traditionally the role of the family, this programming is a way to ensure that the kids that don’t have a support system at home still learn something about becoming good people.

For more info, see this website: www.sacsc.ca.

Nov 22, 2006 • 12:19

2

Gravel

Thanks for that link, Nicole. It’s good to know that things like that exist and that they make a difference. Leading our children by example is probably the best prevention technique of all.

Nov 22, 2006 • 12:46

3

Grant McGillis

Hello, my name is Grant McGillis. My son, Dylan Cole McGillis was the young man murdered on Whyte Ave in the early morning hours of Sunday Nov. 19/06. I don’t know what this country is coming to when a person can’t walk down the street without being attacked. A totally unprovoked and senseless act that has left his unborn child without a father. Things must be changed and I believe that it must start with the Young Offenders Act. Kids need to know that there will be consequences for their actions. I don’t know if Dylan’s assailants were young offenders, however, anyone that could take a life like Dylan’s, or any life for that matter, just didn’t “TURN BAD” over night. If you are tired of this senseless violence, visit our website at www.dylanmcgillis.ca. It is everyone’s responsibility to make our streets safe because next time it could be you or one of your loved ones.

Nov 27, 2006 • 01:55

4

Gravel

Grant,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through over the past week.

Like most other Edmontonians, I’ve watched Whyte Avenue decline over the years. It’s gone from worse to worse and it’s high time something was done. Thanks for posting that link.

Nov 27, 2006 • 07:39

Aggressive man, stock photo

Aggressive man, stock photo

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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