Can we stop the killing?

It seems homicides are all the rage in River City in 2011. Just three quarters through the year, 33 homicides have been recorded. That’s the most in any Canadian city. River City has been crowned with various monikers, including Murder Capital of Canada and Deadmonton. And now the public is demanding someone Do something! about the problem.

Politicians are either looking for answers, looking to lay blame, or simply looking away. They’re looking to score political points or looking to look like they’re doing something about all these murders. Mayor Mandell has been working with police chief Rod Knecht to develop a plan and strategies to deal with the soaring numbers. Liberal opposition critic Hugh MacDonald cries “Horrifying!” and suggests the provincial government pour more money into police forces to put more cops on the streets. Frankly, it’s tough to be a politician with this kind of social issue on your plate, regardless what side of the political fence you sit. Because there’s nothing to be done that will have any immediate impact.

Still, the public always wants to find blame. Society always needs to tell someone to fix the problem.

But more money to build a stronger police presence on River City streets won’t stop any homicides. Solving more of the cases or doing so more speedily might happen but that’s about it. And River City’s new plan won’t slow the homicide rate; even the chief publicly admits that: “That’s something we actually have very little control over.”

So true. All of society’s ills and evils impact homicide rates, which (like everything else in this world) has peaks and valleys. This year, River City happens to be on top of the pile. There’s too much drugs, too much booze, too much money, too much aimlessness, and too much emptiness in so many lives.

This year, River City has people wringing their hands. But next year, it could be Vancouver, Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg, or Montreal.

Can we fix the problem? No. There’s just too much evil in this world. But every parent in every community can do his or her personal part by working toward a more peaceful future: we can all raise our children responsibly and — as the old folk song goes — teach your children well. That will have meaningful impact now and into the future.

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