(This column was published in the North Shore News on April 10, 2002)


Missing women not missed right away

 By Leo Knight

AS the police considered whether to add five more women to the 50-strong list of missing women from the Downtown Eastside last week, it is interesting to note when they were last seen.




Quite simple really. The families had not reported them missing for years since they were last seen. Years.


It is important to understand this to really understand why the police did not pull out all the stops back in '94 or '95, as the armchair quarterbacks like B.C. Liberal MLA Tony Bhullar would have you think they should.


It is all fine and dandy for family members to be shown, shedding crocodile tears on various television news shows, as if these were normal women with work-a-day lives. They weren't, and not by a long shot.


This is not to diminish the value of their lives. All life is precious.


Having said that, these were prostitutes engaged in one of the riskiest businesses in one of the riskiest neighbourhoods in the country.


Many were also intravenous drug users. An activity which, coupled with their other risky behaviour, gives them a life expectancy roughly equivalent to a house pet. Am I being outrageous in saying that? No. Between rough tricks, high-octane dope, dirty needles, despair-induced depression and Neanderthal pimps, how high might you rate their potential longevity?


Consider the cases of the five most recent additions: They were last seen by their families, on average, over five years ago. Their bodies have not turned up.


There is no recent evidence to indicate where, when, how or why they disappeared.


So, what exactly were the police supposed to do?


Especially if the families didn't even notice they were gone for years.


Without minimizing theirs, or any loss of life, especially at the hands of what can only be described as an animal disguised as a human being, these are not suburban housewives who are missed as soon as they are late returning from Safeway.


And, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, CBC and BCCTV should stop treating them as though they were saints and the police the devil incarnate.


On another topic, what is with Vancouver COPE Coun. Fred Bass and his call to reinstitute photo radar in the City of Vancouver to combat - are you ready for this - street racing.


How illogical, to say the least.


Photo radar is not an effective tool against street racing. I will see if I can explain this in a simple manner so that Coun. Bass and his supporters can understand.


Street racers have money. Photo radar is designed to be a tax on the road for those who choose to exceed the speed limit.


Racers driving $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 high-performance cars aren't all that concerned about a $150 fine.


Second, street racers drive performance cars. Photo radar cannot issue a charge (ticket) when there are two vehicles in the same photograph. High-performance cars in a race typically are mere inches from each other.


Finally, it would appear Coun. Bass hasn't got the faintest idea about the difference between a ticket weeks later and an "at the time" officer/violator contact.


Photo radar is nothing more than a toll on a highway.


Any police officer who buys into the BS from the politicians about photo radar is agreeing to be a tollbooth attendant, not a cop.


When the B.C. Liberals took power, it seemed this province had mercifully seen the end of the mechanical tax on our roads portrayed as a police enforcement tool. It seems the tax is really coveted by local politicians.


If they want to actually do something about street racing or high-speed chases, perhaps they should look at ways to fund a helicopter. Photo radar is nothing, and I mean nothing, but a mobile tollbooth. And the biggest problem is the toll is not even asked for until several weeks after the road has been travelled.






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