When I say Slurpees, you say Murder!
...yeah, okay, so that never really works. But you've probably figured out where I'm going with this post, so let's get down to business.
I've been updating the ol' blog pretty infrequently at best, for the last little while, mainly because I'm quite deliberately out of town most of the time.
I'm sure you can understand how I'm in no particular hurry to get back into the city. Needless to say, it takes some particularly significant shenanigans and goings-on to drag me back into the fold and write stuff up.
But as you'd no doubt heard in the news (and read on Winnipeg Cat, of course!), our fair city has made headlines once again -- and, hoo boy, them headlines don't look too good.
Pardon me now as I pause for just a second to cover an obligatory bit of business, because you know I like to ambush you with these when you're least expecting them:
Uptown Magazine! You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!
My most recent column is radio-themed, and I had planned on doing a post here to talk a bit about every station, but of course that has to wait until I'm back within signal range for most of 'em. So we'll only touch on this briefly for now; did a column for Uptown, K-ROCK is pretty much doomed, okay now you're caught up.
There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Back to our city's magnificent, definitive accomplishments.
Yes, we're the Violent Crime Capital of Canada, we are. At double the national average, no less! We're also the Murder Capital among major cities, again, but that one's got the same asterisk on it that it had before. (Abbotsford-Mission was technically number one overall, the big winner with nine homicides across a population of fifty thousand -- but you need at least 200,000 people before anyone will take you seriously, and at least 500,000 to hit the big time. Sorry, Thunder Bay! We know you tried.)
Even with auto theft down twenty-five per cent, robberies are up twenty-six per cent to pick up the slack; it just so happens that we're also the Robbery Capital, now, after all that work to shake the Auto Theft title. Fewer car windows smashed for joyriding, more car windows smashed for looting. I'm not sure what rubric of progress our authorities are using, but this doesn't really sound like progress.
We're nothing if not consistent, though, aren't we? Most areas of the country are watching their violent crime rates decrease steadily, like the pack of quitters they are, and here we are in l'il old Winnipeg ratcheting up our violent crime another fifteen per cent over the year before. That's dedication to the craft, brother! That's the same sticktoitiveness that's made us the Slurpee Capital of the World (the World!) for eleven straight years now -- the dogged determination to be the best there is at what we do, even though what we do is entirely counterproductive and measurably harmful to ourselves.
When I named this blog Slurpees and Murder almost four years ag--four years? Oh, lord. When I named the blog way back when, I wasn't trying to be particularly clever about it or anything; I just threw together the two main things that our city was known for at the time, and it was entirely luck that the two words happen to kind of sound like each other. But, Winnipeg being Winnipeg, nothing much has changed since; we've stuck to our guns -- and our knives (we're the Capital, baby!) -- closely enough that the name just sort of automatically renews itself around this time every year. The rest of the province has been just as bloodthirsty -- leading the pack three years running, although it must be noted that those lawless Territories up North are in a class by themselves.
So! Violent Crime Capital and Homicide Capital (...and Robbery Capital), all in the same news release. Since it's safe to suggest that this is probably not the media attention a sitting Mayor wants to see three months before an election, our esteemed Grand Poobah took it upon himself to get ahead of the story and employ the potent combination of leadership and courage that defines his reign and shapes our City. That's right: he blamed the other levels of government, got called out by a local criminologist, and then just kind of rambled for a while. He wasn't defensive about it or anything, though!
"I think you have to look at what we are doing. Okay?"
...well, all right, maybe he was a little defensive. And it tells you everything you need to know about the state of the city when, six years into the job, he still hasn't figured out the critical difference between doing something and accomplishing something. But at least he showed up! That's the important thing.
Provincially, Gord Macintosh is being cited as the "Acting Justice Minister", so Andrew Swan must be on vacation. (Or pending replacement, but given the time of year, vacation sounds more reasonable.) It's not an election year for them, so they figure what the hell. And Vic Toews gave the most generic, noncommittal lipservice possible, but really -- when Prime Minister Harper held a special press conference in Winnipeg a couple of years back to announce auto theft legislation that wouldn't help Winnipeg at all, it telegraphed pretty efficiently that the Federal Government does not give a crap and a half about the concerns of Manitoba. We've got how many seats in the House of Commons? Fourteen? Yeah, they're in no hurry to help us out. It's not an election year for them, unless someone really mucks something up, so they figure what the hell.
No, with October looming large on the horizon and even the SUN starting to sour on him, it's Sam Katz that has to wear this story for the next little while. (And, seriously, it's been six years. Accomplish something, will you?) You can imagine what his reaction must have been when the headline hit; heck, I'll admit I was a little awestruck myself. I did my best to recreate the moment and commemorate our oh-so-glorious twin criminal accomplishments, so this plus this plus this plus this (and this) equals this:
Congratulations, Winnipeg! Slurpees and Murder -- you've done it again! It may seem slightly macabre, but hey, we need to celebrate something around here.