A bulletproof future

Bylaw officers in Colwood will soon be sporting a new garment under their uniforms

Bylaw officers in Colwood will soon be sporting a new garment under their uniforms — an extra layer that their fellow municipal regulators already wear in Victoria and Langford: a bulletproof vest.

After a recent review of the threat level faced by the officers, Colwood council decided the $1,000+ vests would be a wise purchase. Bylaw officer Kevin Atkinson told council that while most of the time people are compliant, “sometimes they do get excited or agitated when we’re doing our job. . . . We’ve encountered kids with hammers, with knives . . . and we do support the RCMP in regards to loud parties and mischief.”

Just in case you missed that, let me repeat. Bylaw officers: the city employees whose main job is to follow up on nuisance complaints, such as building permits, noisy parties, burning bans, littering, drinking alcohol in public, etc., need to wear bulletproof vests. Where the hell are we living?

Now, I have nothing against our bylaw officers taking every precaution to protect themselves while doing their job — I’m just appalled that the risk of reminding people to use common sense in their day-to-day lives requires the donning of a vest designed specifically to stop bullets.

The very idea that people have lost this much respect for each other, where the idea of someone asking you to turn down your music could be a life-or-death situation, sends a chill of fear through me.

I’ve been around long enough that my rose-coloured glasses have been rubbed clear, and I’ve been fortunate to find that the majority of people are still decent and kind. But there is a dark underbelly on this Island that seems disproportionate to the population.

It reminds me of a zombie movie where the brain-eating monsters are always attracted to the one beacon of light where uninfected people are attempting to live in harmony. And the brighter the light, the more monsters it attracts.

If our bylaw officers need bulletproof vests, then they should have them, but we should all feel a little sad inside the first time they slip them on. M

Song stuck in my head

The quality of our local musicians always amazes me, and two of our best have new CDs being released this month. Aidan Knight is only 26 years old, but his songs have a depth of emotion and understanding of someone much, much older. My favourite track from the band’s Small Reveal is the heartbreaking closing track “Margaret Downe.” Also, for a more sweet fiddle feel combined with incredibly beautiful harmonies, check out The Sweet Lowdown’s new release, May.

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