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Today I opened the newspaper (a sort of printed website) and was greeted with not one, but two LRT related news stories.
The first story, the headliner, was the news that the citizens of the west end turned out in droves at the public LRT hearings. Oddly, in spite of being subject to years of relentless happy talk from the city about these trains, the people did not seem happy. In fact, most showed up in order to berate the city over the cities plan to ruin their roads and parks and take their land and money under the guise of installing a train in their area.
This was most refreshing news indeed. Finally we have consensus. I already know that the people in the north and south of this city are effectively 100% opposed to these trains. But I was not sure about the west. It was possible that maybe only 99.9% of the people out there oppose the trains. But happily, its much closer to 100% than even I originally thought.
In any event, when it comes to making public policy decisions, clearly there is no need for us to consider the opinions of the 0.0000001% or so of the population that are trolls for the train company. So we can safely cancel the Valley line, shut down the Metro line and re-evaluate and either fix or shut down the old line.
The other LRT news in the paper was the revelation that LRT gangs are now preying on our transit system.
First, it is good to know our police have cracked down on the offenders as much as they are able to. But still, there is a reason you are not allowed to feed the bears in the parks. Everyone knows that when you set out valuables like food or money and you fail to properly secure it, you will attract predators.
And so, perhaps we should acknowledge the proven fact that LRT systems attract violent criminals.
Now, if managed carefully, I do realize that this can be worked to our benefit. I mean, it's much easier to catch crooks when you attract them to an insecure place that is full of mostly helpless prey. Hunting down crooks in the streets takes a lot of work and the lowlifes know very well how to use alleys and employ other tricks like running away to avoid capture.
But if you attract them to a train station, you have cameras, lights and action all in one place. No need to hunt at all. Just sit back, gather evidence then crack down at your leisure. Only problem I can see is that some may spin this the wrong way and it will repel the prey, er, I mean people from the trains if word gets out.
Plus, once the criminals catch wind of the trap, they will probably go back to the far more difficult work of finding victims one at a time instead of having them herded to them by the city for free. So probably best if we keep this particular side benefit of having trains to ourselves.
But on the whole, it looks like a bad day on the western LRT front to me. And regardless of the spin, violent criminals on the train are, well, violent criminals on the train. So a bad day all around for the train trolls too from the looks of it.
And despite my sarcastic and sometimes rude remarks, my sympathy does go out to anyone victimized by violent criminials, whether they are on the train or not. Violent crime is really bad news for any society. So, rather than waste our time and money on these trains, I'd much rather we hired more cops and went after the criminals instead.
So, here's the kicker: since the licence plate makers are now a for-profit business instead of being hard labor for inmates, this petty crime actually adds to GDP. Sick eh? So the city, province, registry operators and licence plate makers are effectively profiting off the proceeds of crime.
And they do it often enough that it's just another routine fee for people dumb enough to own property like licence plates that the law requires them to have.
And even worse, between violent and petty crime, usually it's the same people who engage in both. And when confronted directly by these crooks, everybody knows the usual advice is to call the cops and don't try to intervene. Well, that may be fine advice but the hard fact is once the crooks show up, they work fast and there is not much the cops can do.
And if you try to stop them yourself you get stuck with a knife. Or shot. And if you try to leave them alone, well maybe they stick you anyway just because they can. Because you saw them. Or maybe they do even worse. They're called violent criminals for reason.
Now, the city has no problem employing an army of construction workers, lawyers and train trolls in order to steal our roads, parks and money to hand over to a train company. So it actively helps the crooks in high places.
But it has no money at all for enough police to properly protect the rest of us from the petty and often violent criminals on our streets. I fail to see the justice in any of that.