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BEPPLE: Helping people before it becomes a homicide

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
January 29, 2016 - 7:43 AM

After no homicides in 2015, Kamloops has already seen two within a week. First, on Jan. 22, a stabbing death of a 30-year-old man in front of a restaurant on Tranquille. Then on Tuesday, a homicide of a 49-year-old man in a motel room in Valleyview.

A 32-year-old suspect of the first death was arrested on Tuesday for breach of probation. He has yet to be charged for the stabbing death.

For now, police resources will be focused on the two events to try and make some sense of them. It will be weeks, or more likely months, before the public knows more about what happened.

While the police reported each death as isolated incidents, the paths which led up to both deaths are likely long and troubled. The suspect of the stabbing was on probation, so he has a previous conviction. And likely he has had many more run-ins with police and the justice system as well.

Which is why programs to help people stay off a troubled path are so important. And very often, education is key.

Take for instance, Kamloops Boys and Girls Club breakfast program called Power Start. About 100 kids get picked up and taken to school. There they share a breakfast and do activities before school. Rather than miss school or be late, the kids are focused and on time. The adult volunteers are role models. The children start the school day ready to learn. The kids have a better chance of success.

Even for adults, there are options.

One of the best programs in Kamloops is Bladerunners. It is aimed at young people who are unemployed or underemployed. Some have criminal records, while other have other reasons they can’t connect with jobs. For the last four years in Kamloops, it has provided employment skills to young people from 18 to 30 years old. They get training in things like Food Safe and work safety. They may end up working in a hotel laundry, restaurants and construction, and some go on to TRU. The young people go from unemployed to wage earners.

The recent announcement of a partnership between TRU Trades and the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre provides another pathway away trouble and towards a better life. The number of recently released inmates at homeless shelters in Kamloops is testament of how difficult it is for many to land on their feet when their sentences are complete. Giving them a trade gives them a path away from a problem life towards a productive life.

The stabbing death on Tranquille is the worst possible outcome. A family is left to mourn the death of a far too young man. His path is ended. Another man possibly faces a long prison term. His path ahead is rocky.

It’s too late to reverse the violence of last Friday, but there’s time to invest in more education initiatives that give people pathways towards more productive lives.

Supporting educational initiatives gives children and youth paths towards a productive life. It gives them tools for tackling the difficulties of life and becoming productive members of our community.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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