Home Sweet Home
The obligatory bio
Charites & Organizations
My Calgary Sun Column & More
Law Stuff
Gary Lautens
E-mail me!

How Not To Get Shot

by Stephen Lautens


November 22, 2002

Even though Statistics Canada says that Canada's murder rate has actually gone down in the last five years, we are hearing about a lot of people getting shot lately. These always seem to be a stupid shooting over nothing.

As a public service (and speaking as someone who hasn't been shot at), I thought I might give a few helpful pointers that could help keep people from becoming statistics:

Don't have a street name. A lot of the people on the receiving end of violent crime seem to have street names. A street name seems to attract trouble, especially if it's "Banger", "Mac10", or "KopKilla".

Don't be "known to the police". This is how the police and media describe people who are constantly in trouble. The only good way to be known to the police is if you have an officer for a neighbour.

Don't hang out with people who have street names or are "known to the police". It seems like one of the best ways to get shot is by standing next to them. The people who come after them looking for trouble are notoriously bad shots.

Don't say anything unpleasant to any stranger about their mother, sister, girlfriend, car or the way their momma dresses them. There's no need to get personal with someone who could express his polite disagreement with a sawed off shotgun.

Don't go to nightclubs that have metal detectors or frisk people at the door. It doesn't take a genius to figure this one out. They have them because they know there's a good chance some of their distinguished clientele are going to arrive packing serious heat.

Don't let your testosterone do the thinking for you. As the books say, don't sweat the small stuff. There are few things worth getting into a fight over, especially with a crazy stranger who may have a razor in his boot.

Don't be out at 4 am on Saturday night. Nothing good ever happens out on the street at 4 am.

Don't be part of a gang. Total strangers will want to use you to send a message to other less charming members of your gang. And I don't mean asking you to deliver flowers.

Don't borrow money from people who do business out of alleyways and wear a lot of jewelry. They tend to have very unreasonable repayment policies. Interest will involve the paying back principal, interest and the occasional thumb. And there are substantial penalties - mostly lead - for missing an installment.

Don't run from the police. If the TV show COPS has taught us anything (aside from the fact that the person not wearing a shirt is going to get arrested), it's that police car chases frequently end badly for you. A ticket or even getting arrested is far better than needing to have a hydro pole removed from your forehead.

Don't sleep all day just to come out at night. Have a job. It's amazing how working nine to five keeps you out of trouble. When you have to get up for work the next day, staying out all night loses a lot of its appeal.

And if you find you can't follow these helpful hints, I hope you remember to duck.

© Stephen Lautens 2002

Back to column archive index