Posted by: transcendingchaos | May 25, 2008

How I spent my Saturday night

From The Province:

Fights, stabbing on crowded English Bay beach bring in RCMP helicopter

Vancouver police were forced to call in the services of an RCMP helicopter as they struggled to control fights and deal with a stabbing at English Bay on Saturday night.

An estimated 1,500-2,000 people were on the beach when the mayhem began to unfold starting at about 9 p.m.

Two men got into an argument that escalated when one pulled a knife and slashed the other in the throat, police said. Both were 20-year-olds from Vancouver.

The victim was treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries. He didn’t cooperate with police, but a witness videotaped the entire incident which helped police make a quick arrest, VPD Insp. Ted Schinbein said. Investigators also recovered the knife used in the attack.

A suspect, known to police, is in custody and faces charges of assault causing bodily harm.

Later, at around 10:15 p.m., police used pepper spray to break up a brawl involving approximately 100 drunken youths.

The RCMP’s Air One helicopter used its high-powered spotlight to help the marine squad and patrol police move troublemakers off the beach and close it down for the night.

In total, officers dealt with at least seven disturbance and fight calls, four reports of mass pepper-sprayings and at least three gun calls, Schinbein said.

It was very strange.
Last night, Veronica, Jeremy, Chris and I were down at English Bay from about 6:00 to 10:30. After eating a nice dinner at Milestone’s, we found a bench just off the path at English Bay and sat and talked for a few hours.

It was subtle at first.
A police car drove up. Then another. And another.
By the time we started to leave the park around 10:00 or so, there were about four police cars and two ambulances waiting nearby. By the time we actually left, two police cars were combing the beach itself, herding hundreds of people onto the streets. The police helicopter was flying overhead, spotlight roving as it circled around the Bay. Once, twice, three times… again and again.
As Veronica and I waited for Chris and Jeremy to come back from the bank machine, we saw at least one person in handcuffs standing by a cluster of three police cars. Others were being questioned.

The strangest thing was having no idea what was going on. The air was abuzz with curiosity and a sense of danger, and yet the situation felt surprisingly under control.

The story in The Province today put the puzzle together for me, but I was still left with a sense of bewilderment. Why is this happening? Why is Vancouver becoming a hotbed for violence? And why are all the people involved so young? Those involved were barely twenty-somethings, “adults” for little more than a year.

I hate to say it–since such a recommendation may come back to bite me, a fun-loving twenty-something, in the butt–but I really think police should begin patroling places like English Bay on weekend evenings and cracking down on people who are making trouble and throwing people who have had too much to drink into the drunk tank for the evening. A few troublemakers should not be allowed to ruin the beach for the rest of us.

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