The triple stabbing in Vancouver’s Chinatown by a psychiatric patient on a day pass is another example of a detached, unaccountable release system that needs a serious review.
It’s the first time that voters ever heard Premier Paul Eby say he was “white hot angry” over the attack that left a married couple and a young woman with serious injuries.
The situation deserves an in-depth inquiry on why the hospital’s review board chose to release the 64-year-old man who murdered his daughter in 2008, a crime in which he was found not criminally responsible (due to mental disorder). Media was told the patient was subsequently released in 2009, only to stab somebody else.
Why any board of review would release a psychiatric patient with such a violent history is beyond comprehension. At the very least have the patient strictly monitored or escorted during the release period.
Until we learn more, it’s difficult to pass judgment on the review board, which lawyers have defended, saying these incidents are quite rare. But one has to wonder, given the offender’s history, why letting this patient have free reign for a day was a good idea. One thing is certain: it was not in the society’s or the patient’s best interests.
This debacle is just one of many that plague our judicial system where the public ends up being the victim of poor decisions made by people sitting behind bureaucracy. How many times have we read about someone on bail re-committing a crime or a mental health sufferer attacking an innocent bystander? The violence on our streets and the unpredictable nature of people committing these horrific acts are no longer just creative movie plots; they are real, everyday occurrences, par for the course . . . the new normal.
Last week a woman wearing a helmet and army fatigues in Kelowna reportedly attacked vehicles and their drivers with a baton-like weapon. A few days after that a young Indo-Canadian teen was beaten and bear-sprayed at a bus stop in the same city.
Sadly, hate crimes are consuming our society. Rainbow crosswalks must often be re-painted because of tire burnouts, and recently a “welcome back” sign at a Summerland school had to be re-worded because of a racial slur against black people.
In Kamloops, a man who beat up a six-year-old boy surpisingly avoided jail. The Crown wanted six-months incarceration but the judge opted for a conditional sentence with probation, a seemingly common consequence these days for serious crimes.
If only we could put everyone’s hate inside an atom. Until then, we must continue to educate people that hate is not the answer.
Lyonel Doherty, editor