Thursday, May 11, 2006

The better Angels of our nature?

I live a block away from Calgary's biggest outdoor drug market. Useful I suppose, if you're looking to score a dime bag of cheap skunk from a scruffy teenage entrepreneur, less so if you're stepping over dead-eyed crack heads on the way to the train.

But now a new gang has hit town, with the support of our mayor and apparently our police.

Curtis Sliwa, far right radio commentator (he once described Richard Nixon as a socialist) and founder of vigilante gang the Guardian Angels visited Calgary recently. Sliwa's come a long way since the days when he was making up stories of Guardian Angels crime-fighting heroics. A formal alliance with Rudy Giulliani as the Mayor of New York turned the city into a police state, and now a popular Fox radio show, and Sliwa is a 'respected figure' these days.

I admit to being less than thrilled at the thought of swaggering thugs in red berets 'patrolling' my neighborhood. I'd much rather see more police, you know, the crimefighters paid for and accountable to the public.


Crystal said...

As a Calgary resident, and someone who works in the downtown core, I couldn't agree with you more. In my opinion, the Guardian Angels cross that fine line between being an active community member and into vigilantism.

Yes, I agree that something needs to be done to "clean up the streets", however, I would prefer that enforcement and policing be left in the hands of the men and women who are both paid to do that job, and have the extensive training to do it properly.

If the Guardian Angels potential Calgary members wish to make a difference in this city, their time would be much better spent volunteering for one of the many excellent organzations that help those that fall between the cracks in society.

Sheena said...

Raspberry Berets are so '80s anyways.

Cliff said...

"...and when it was warm she wouldn't wear much more..."

Rebecca said...

I don't really have an opinion on the Guardian Angels - but on the other hand, the crime rate in NYC is now at its lowest ebb since the early 1960s. Giuliani took too much of the credit - some was due to the new policing practices started under his predecessor, and the decline has continued under Bloomberg. I was living in NYC from 1996-98 and I can say that it was not a police state, nor is it now - despite Giuliani's rather authoritarian tendencies.

Cliff said...

Fair enough. I'd call his methods Police State though - and you never know, a New Yorker who lived there at the same time you did who was say, a young black male, might have a slightly different perspective.

Rebecca said...

Very true - and this was the biggest criticism made of Giuliani at the time. Bloomberg's style as mayor is very different - unlike Giuliani, he runs a much more open administration, and tensions between the mayor's office and the Black and Hispanic communities seem to have largely dissipated. That said, it was still under Bloomberg's watch that hundreds of people were arrested for no cause during the Republican convention in 2004, so the authoritarian tendencies have not entirely disappeared.

calgal said...

The last thing Calgary needs is the presence of the Guardian Angels. If the mayor really wants to address street issues and crime in the downtown core, perhaps he could rethink social spending instead of considering falling into the American mindset of more quasi-military types whose main purpose is intimidation, no matter what line Curtis is currently spewing.

Thankfully, there seems to be a lack of interest in funding this bunch, hopefully it will stay that way.

No Name said...

Listen,when Calgary Police show up at a woman's door to arrest her for unpaid dog fines, which is a true story by the way, what the hell makes you think they can keep our city streets safe and serve the public's best interest. They're just part of the process that makes Calgary the dumbest city in Canada. No one here including the mayor knows his ass from a hole in a ground. Besides being the youngest police force in Canada, which is pretty obvious when you look at their track record, there's not even nearly enough of these redneck wannabe's to police our streets because, Calgary is an old boys club and will always be an old boys club, the rich oil assholes with their fancy digs downtown while whole families sleep out in the cold because Calgary is too bloody stupid to figure it out and implement rent control and build more affordable housing for the working class and marginalized groups, and they don't want to admit they have no idea how to run a flippin city that Klein left in a mess because they just might have to lose their stupid redneck attitude and turn to cities like Toronto for advise.The city's infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, there's no flippin money to hire the police force they should have because the city's wasting your good tax dollars, look around you and you'll see where your hard earned tax dollars are going.

I hope the new police chief has got his head on straight and not only fires,cleans house and gets rid of some of these weekend warriors and hires some decent people.Instead of wasting tax payer's money on arresting people for unpaid dog fines and harassing people for something so stupid as jay walking which is not illegal in other cities because they have more important things to worry about like the murder rate hello? why don't they clean up crack corner and other areas of the shithole they call Calgary where no one can afford to live .
So to the person who thinks that a group that's done incredible things for New York City and have a great relationship with the police,next time you're alone on the C train and getting the crap kicked out of you cuz you looked at a bunch of kids the wrong way, maybe you'll wish the Guardian Angels were around,because Calgary's finest will not be there, they will either be arresting someone for outstanding dog fines or hangin out at some coffee shop talking about the next upcoming pay increase. And to the last person that referred to the angels as "the bunch" No! why would they(the city) want to fund a group that can help prevent some of the horrible crimes (just by their mere presence) that take place on Calgary streets like the woman who was so badly beaten for no reason she was unrecognizable, then her son committed suicide(where were the police then?) no we'll just take the funding and build a shiny new state of the art outhouse for the crack addicts etc... Get your head out of the clouds.

Cliff said...

You know the original post is 2 years old right?

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