The woman was walking metres away from her office around 8:30 a.m. when she was allegedly approached by a group of young women, including one youth with a hatchet.
Bystanders quickly intervened and the woman fought off her attackers but sustained injuries to her head.
I was one of those bystanders, though only the third on the scene. The first person to respond did an incredible job of taking control and she should be commended. I have to embarrassingly say that I didn’t even realize what was happening just down the street from me until I saw the other two get involved. The second person to jump in should be commended as well. He jumped in even though he was only driving by – many many cars passed by without stopping.
I’m sitting in my apartment office and looking out the window at the scene of the attempted armed robbery after spending the day at Educational PD sessions during which I heard from the incredible Strini Reddy who spoke about these kind of youths, the responsibility of the community, and the responsibility of the Education system – and how we can work to break the cycle of violence, poverty, and crime.
I’ll have to process things a bit more and then comment later. Maybe I’ll go make dinner for now.
PS: This puts Jamie’s comments on Walk-Score into perspective.
UPDATE: I will try in the next few days to give you all a full account of what I saw and did. But, for now, there is little time tonight as I’m creating a Logarithm and Exponent Test. So, I haven’t been able to write a complete piece about the incident. For the moment, I’m thinking about Sir/Saint Thomas More’s book Utopia in which he describes the effects of the death penalty for theft – noting that England killed tons of thieves and yet they continued to exist in bigger numbers. How can this be? As it turns out, More postulates, if society is structured in such a way as to produce thieves then it produces them regardless of deterrents. So, the answer is to analyse and address root causes instead of proximal causes. Since More, we have made some progress. The correlaries of violent robberies committed by young offenders are now known – violence at home, broken homes, alcoholism, FAS, FAE, drug abuse, abusive parents, poverty, and any many more. While we know this, we have not done enough to fix the problems and have (acidentally or not) done some things to extend them (such as residential schools).
At the same time, none of the above justifies the actions of the girls involved. They deserve consequences which fit their crimes. But, we also need to invest in preventing the creation of future hatchet-wielding teens. And, we need to invest – for now – in police presence in the communities and on the streets. There is no panacea. But, long-term investment in OUR children, Winnipeg’s children, will reduce violence and crime.
Finally, we need to honor the victim who courageously resisted the assault and the two bystanders who jumped in to help save her.