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
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
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
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.