Friday, September 16, 2011

Clark Stevenson and the "Where are the Parents?!" Question

It’s a pretty normal after something goes wrong in the world of kids and young adults to ask “Where are the parents!?” Is it a fair question to ask in the case of Clark “Clarky” Stevenson, the 15 year old boy who was stabbed so severely at 2:30am out in the streets of Winnipeg that he later died? Is it fair to ask why a 15 year old kid, and his young attackers were out roaming the streets of Winnipeg at such an ungodly hour? Where exactly were the parents? Did the parents know these kids were out, and what kind of mischief they were up to? Something has gone terribly wrong here, but what is it?
 According to an interview with the CBC “Jenna Wirch, a friend of Clark Stevenson's, said she believes a lack of funding for youth programs has failed him and other troubled young people.”? Sniff, sniff. Do you smell that? You’re right. It does appear to be the smell of a scape goat! It is fair to say that Clarke lived in a rough ‘hood. Are community programs important? Yes. Is a 15 year old kid not being out on the streets at night important? Yes! Can a program keep a kid at home late at night so he isn’t roaming the streets getting stabbed? Good question, no? So, how much responsibility should be on the parent’s shoulders and how much goes to the community? It seems that the job of keeping a kid at home falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents. If they don’t take responsibility, what can be done? Does the city have to step in with curfews for young kids to prevent them being out on the streets stabbing one another at 2:30am? If so, won’t that further move funds away from programs and into policing? And, then does it not, by default, put the responsibility of parenting on to the shoulders of the city?
Now, let’s rewind for a moment to earlier in the summer when riots broke out in London. Although initially being sparked by the shooting of young man by police, before long areas of that city were torn apart by what appeared to be absolute senseless violence, looting and vandalism. The same story was used to explain what had happened there as in the Clarke case, when some said that the riots are the result of drastic cutbacks to community programing in low income areas which have left a generation disenfranchised, living without direction and, in many cases, bored. But, the question was raised over and over again, by the media, police and the community, “Where were the parents?” Why were kids, some of them very young, able to be out on the streets at late hours taking part in such serious crimes? Who is in charge of keeping kids in, where they will be safe? Were there no parents wondering “Where is my son tonight, and why does he suddenly have a large screen TV in his room?”? Police took to the airwaves, asking parents to step in and keep their kids at home. And it seemed like a reasonable request.
So, here we have what seems to be senseless violence happening in two parts of the world with the same reasoning given for both. Lack of community programming is being blamed and the “Where are the parents?” question is being asked. Is it fair to say that both have validity? Yes. The community as a whole does have to look at what it can do to help areas of the city where there are issues with poverty, gangs, violence and drugs. But, ultimately, a community and community programs can only do so much. Family and friends are in mourning, and it’s a tough time to be asking questions, but, it really does have to be asked. Could this tragedy have been prevented simply by someone, a parent, a guardian, an aunt and uncle, or whoever, making sure that 15 year old Clarke Stevenson was in his bed at 2:30am instead of out in the streets fighting?

UPDATE: So, today, it appears that an arrest has been made. They have charged a 14 year old boy with the 2nd degree murder of Clark Stevenson. How on earth does this happen? Where the heck are the parents of THIS kid?! How is a 14 year old kid able to be out on the streets of Winnipeg at 2:30 in the morning, with a knife, stabbing another kid?? It makes no sense to me. Something needs to change. But what?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Our main man in Ottawa, crack criminal expert, PM Stephen Harper has come out in an interview stating that "Islamicism" is the biggest security threat to Canada.

First off, what is Islamicism? Is Harper starting to make up his own words, possibly inspired by legendary orator Sarah Palin? Unfortunately, it almost sounds like the problem is Islam by looking at this odd word. Did Harper mean Islamification? It almost seems like it, but who knows. I guess that is the beauty of being able to make up your own words when you are the leader of a country. It keeps people guessing. Is Harper afraid of Muslims? This word, which seems to encompass all of Islam without distinguishing between radical Islam and Islam, seems to imply that this is the case. I'm sure Harper realizes the difference, right?

Regardless, I would like to take a moment to call BS on this. Islamic extremism is a threat. Yes. However, as I sit here in Winnipeg, I have seen in the papers a daily barrage of news stories about murders, stabbings and shootings. There is a biker war going on in the city, gangs are very active and there appears to be a arsonist or several on the loose who seem intent on burning down Winnipeg. Thus far, I have not seen or heard about ANY problems from Muslims. So, organized and unorganized crime is tearing apart this city, just as it is other cities across Canada, but the major threat is Islam? I'm thinking not. Remember the riots in Vancouver, which was essentially a large act of terrorism? Who was responsible for that? Moronic, rampaging hockey fans. So far, it appears that radical hockey fans cause much more harm and damage to Canada than Islamic extremism. I think it's time we start targeting hockey fans, doing more security checks on them, putting them on no fly lists and sending them off to Syria to be pummeled. It seems to make far more sense than targeting Muslims, no?

I am saddened to see that once again Stephen Harper appears to have no grasp on reality. Is Islamic extremism an issue? Yes. Always. Extremism of any kind is an issue. Thus far, Canada has had little issue with Islamic extremism, while it has had more than it's fair share of issue with extremist criminals in the biker and non-biker classes of gangs. We've had more damage and fear caused by hockey hooligans than Islamic extremists. No, Harper, it would appear that there are far greater issues that threaten national security than Islamicism, whatever that is.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Inspired by Fluid Hair Salon, Edmonton, Canada!

Last night, I wrote a blog post about Edmonton, Alberta's Fluid Hair Salon and an ad campaign that they had run showing a woman who appeared to have been beaten and a man who appeared to have beaten her. I was harsh. I didn't like the ad. But, then I thought about it, and I realized that Sarah Cameron, the owner of the salon, had a point when she said:
"Is it cutting edge advertising? Yes. Is it intended to be a satirical look at real-life situations that ignites conversation and debate? Of course. Is it to everyone’s taste? Probably not."
So, I did a little cutting edge, satirical art of my own! Thanks for the inspiration Sarah Cameron! I owe you one! It may be a little crude, and there are some kinks to work out, but it's a start. I hope you like my creations.