2015-01-03 22:13:46 UTC
Right wing voters who don't recognize their own destructive acts as they impact
others - money is the single most important goal.
Add their penchant for guns, and . . . .
January 2, 2015 - www.theglobeandmail.com/
Mass murders stun Alberta's experts
Multiple killings were surprisingly frequent in 2014, especially with overall
homicide rates in decline
Broken-hearted Albertans and seasoned police officials have been left shaking
their heads and acknowledging they have never seen anything like this before.
Murder after murder. Victim after victim. Six people were wounded and one
killed in a house-party shooting in Southwest Calgary. It happened just five
hours into 2015, mere days after a man gunned down seven family members in
their Edmonton home. The shooter in the latter case, Phu Lam, who had also
killed a woman at a different location, eventually turned the gun on himself,
pushing the death count to nine. That made it the worst mass murder in
Edmonton's history – in Alberta's history, too.
And that has left both the public and law-enforcement workers wondering why –
why the rash of multiple murders when Canada's crime rate, including homicides,
has been on the decline?
"It reminds me of Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, but it's in our
backyard," said Bill Pitt, an Edmonton-based criminologist who teaches at Grant
Last April, five people, some of them University of Calgary students, were
stabbed to death at a house party – the worst mass murder in the city's
history. The killer, Matthew de Grood, had never been a problem at school or
work. His father, Doug de Grood, is an inspector with the Calgary police.
Still reeling from those deaths, Calgarians were stunned two months later by
the disappearance of eight-year-old Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents, Alvin
and Kathy Liknes. All three remain missing despite Douglas Garland being
charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree
Mr. Garland's next court appearance is set for May 19; Mr. de Grood's will be
on March 2.
The irony in all this bloodletting is that the national crime rate has been on
a continuous downturn. Statistics Canada has stated the country's homicide
rate in 2013 fell to 1.44 victims for every 100,000 people, the lowest level
since 1966. The overall number of homicides has gone from 610 in 2009 to 505
In Alberta, Edmonton's crime rate was up slightly last year – 1.4 per cent –
due mostly to auto thefts and property crime. Its homicide count for 2014 was
30. That was a sizeable reduction from the 48 murders recorded in 2011, the
record highest count in the provincial capital.
Calgary's worst total was 34 homicides in 2008, a year marked by an upsurge in
gang-related attacks. The city had 30 murders in 2014, but police officials
say the number of incidents is virtually the same as the year before. Police
admit it is difficult for Calgarians to understand how safe their city is when
they're witness to such horrific crimes involving multiple victims.
"Gun violence is on the decline," Calgary Duty Inspector Quinn Jacques said
during his New Year's Day media briefing. He quickly added, "I know it sounds
difficult to appreciate that."
Why Alberta's two largest cities were hit by mass murders last year is a
subject open for debate. Possible motives have ranged from mental illness to
unquenchable rage to domestic violence taken to the extreme. In police
profiling, the killers are most often male and 80 per cent of the time known to
Prof. Pitt is convinced there are similar personality traits as well.
"It's like there's Act 1, 2, 3, and the finale act is suicide. I think he goes
out with a smile," Prof. Pitt said of such perpetrators. "It was, 'I've lost
her [the wife], the house, the kids. I'm not getting any of this.' It is
narcissism and psychopathy [a personality disorder that brings out anti-social
behaviour and a lack of remorse]. They're aggrieved and they believe they have
to do something about this. They blame everything on everybody else. They
feel justified in what they're doing."
Calgary Police Service has various programs dealing with prevention and
education, early intervention and treatment and enforcement. The idea is to
work with kids and keep troubled youth from making the wrong decisions.
Edmonton has community action teams consisting of police officers and social
workers who spend time in neighbourhoods trying to keep good kids from going bad.
"What is going on is concerning," said Kelly Sundberg, the former chair of the
Department of Justice Studies at Mount Royal University. "They may be freak
occurrences, but we can't have two mass murders in the same year. There needs
to be attention brought to this."