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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 27, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta Monday, January 27, 1975 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD S Crime said to be contagious as violence increases By TED WELCH The Canadian Press Thirteen persons died this week in what Montreal police said was a gangland slaying in a nightclub. The victims, two of them shot, were locked in a small storage room and the nightclub set afire. Two Moncton, N.B., police- men were gunned down in De- cember while working on a kidnapping case and a Calgary detective was shot to death Dec. 20. Richard Blass, nicknamed The Cat for his numerous es- capes from violent police con- frontations, was cut down Fri- day in a hail of police bullets during an early-morning raid on a hideaway in the Lauren- tian ski resort of Val David, Que. Suspected of five murders since his escape from max- imum-security St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary last Oc- tober, Blass, describ- ed by a Crown prosecutor as "one of Canada's most dangerous criminals." He was wanted in connec- tion with a double slaying last October at the Gargaiitua Bar, the same nightclub in which the "gangland" slayings took place. Police later discounted Blass as a suspect in the slayings. And more recently, a 21- year-old escaped prisoner kept police busy for 36 hours this week near London, Ont. The gunman, who demanded and got a ransom from police, released a 12 year old hostage before he was cap- tured in a townhouse. An Oshawa sniper blasted away at a shopping centre with a .303-calibre rifle for 90 minutes this week. The siege ended when the gunman ap- parently shot and wounded himself. Are. such violent acts increasing? Have social and economic conditions deteriorated? And do such acts spawn more bloodshed and death? Federal Justice Minister Otto Lang says he doesn't see any connection between the series of recent shootings. "There is a need for good police work, but no one is suggesting it (the violen.ce) is the fault of the Criminal Code." Bernard Robinson, ex- ecutive director of in- stitutional services in the British Columbia corrections branch, says violence is im- itative. "There's a-kind of contagion to certain types of he says. And W. W. Petersen, chief superintendent of the Ed- monton RCMP, says that when a violent act is com- mitted, "we expect one or two more to occur." "It almost seems as if peo- ple get the idea from the first crime." He also says there seems to be trends in violent crimes. "At one time there, were a lot of hijackings. Now there seems to be a spread of crimes involving hostages." But Dr. Tom Tombaugh, head of Carleton University's psychology department, says it is dangerous to draw parallels between widely separated incidents. One prison riot can ignite another. "But if I come home and beat my wife and the guy across the street smashes his car, you can't call it violence in the neighborhood. They are unrelated circumstances." Steve Campbell, an English professor at the University of Moncton and member Of city council, attempted this week to negotiate between Dorchester's prison officials and 221 prisoners who held a 24-hour occupation. He says that although vio- lence in books, movies and television may have dulled people's reactions somewhat, it has not generated any more violence. "I don't think any of the things that are-happening to- day are any worse than that of Jack the Ripper." Professor Ronald Sklar of McGill University's law facul- ty says distinction must be made between crimes com- mitted by organized groups, such as the Montreal nightclub incident, and those committed by persons frustrated by personal and economic conditions. "The increased killings from unsyndicated crime are related to frustration, economic recession, depriva- tion or anger with society." Dick Ramsay, president of the Alberta Association of So- cial Workers, offers the theory that advertising has made some people feel that others possess more than they do. The resulting envy, jealousy or depression may lead to violence. Dr. David Cornish, a psy- chiatrist and medical director at Alberta Hospital in Edmon- ton, blames a softening of de- terrents for an increase in vio- lence. "It's really not too much of a hassle to break the law he says. He adds that he does not ad- vocate a return to capital pun- ishment, although an increas- ed laxity in the correctional system means that lawbreakers no longer unders- tand why they are being punished. Prof. Jose Rico of the crimi- nology department of the Uni- versity of Montreal says the types of violence today "are undoubtedly a modern phenomenon." "Violence may be the result of a weakening of values, au- thority and family structures, creating a void in society's system of beliefs. Repression is not the answer to violence. The problems that created that violence have to be solved at the base." Derek Dempster of the John Howard Society in Montreal says violence creates more violence. "The people who hurt others most in our society are those who have been brutalized themselves." A provincial judge in British Columbia says Canadians get' a steady diet of violence with their dinner via television and says he wonders if new reports of violence have a cumulative affect. "You go out to the peniten- tiary and talk to some of the people there. Some of them carry their press clippings. It's a prestige thing with them." The judge says the news media handle incidents of vio- lence "almost like an enter- tainment production. Violence has to be presented in a cool way." In the London, kidnapping case, police efforts to commu- nicate with the gunman were hampered by reporters who telephoned the man for inter- views. One talk-show radio host asked the gunman on a live broadcast why he didn't ask for more than in ransom. What of the police who must face the guns and violence on the job? "Society is going says Joe Ross, executive director of the Nova Scotia Police Association. He says Parliament should "stop mak- ing a mockery of justice" and take capital punishment off the books unless it is going to be enforced. He blames increased crime on ineffective gun-control laws, liberal parole policies and correctional facilities geared to rehabilitate con- victed murderers. Sgt. J. A. Poss of the Edmonton police force says there was an increase in almost every type of violent crime in 1974. The number of murders in Edmonton rose to 13 from seven in 1973, wounding with intent increased to 85 from rapes to 129 from 98, and manslaughter to three from one. The number of assaults in- creased to from and robberies to 809 from 757 in 1973 WOMEN GRADUATES DONTEARNAS MUCH AS MEN GRADUATES. WHY NOT? Canada has one of the finest educa- tional systems in the world. But many Canadian employers unjustifiably under- pay some very well-educated graduates of that system. Women. A 24-year-old male, leaving univer- sity with a degree, earns on the average 19 per cent more in his first job than a woman of the same age with the same degree. A male high-school graduate can expect an average 34.2 per cent more than the equivalent female graduate. It just isn't right. It just isn't right, either, that long before graduation, some schools still in- sist on channelling girls into home economics classes and boys into indus- trial arts. Some girls make excellent mechanics and engineers. Some boys make excel- lent designers and chefs. Why curb their natural talents? There is no logical reason why we should. Equal educational opportunities are guaranteed us under law, but there are prejudices and precedents. Society expects women to cook and sew because it expects them to get married one day. Don't men get married too? Maybe they should learn household skills as well. When it comes to employment, the same kind of archaic thinking brings us less pay and rec- ognition. Certainly women get married, but many keep on working. Of some three million women working in Canada today, more than 50 per cent are married. Why are they being paid less than We have to teach our children to think differently. Because they are the next generation of educators and homemakers, employers and employees. We must break down the barriers of prejudice for ourselves and remove them entirely for our children. If you would like more Information on International Women's Year and the status of women in Canada, all you have to do is write us or fill in and mail the coupon below. If you'd like a "WHY NOTrbutton, and a set of posters, just check the ap- propriate squares. We're here to help. their husbands? Because they are married? How about a single working woman? It costs her as much, to live as a single working man. So why is she also being forced to live on less? Particu- larly when 50.0 per cent of all Canadian women in the labour force, having completed their high-school education, have gone on to take post- secondary training, compared to 39.3 per cent of the men. So no one can use the excuse that working women are less qualified. The entire situation must change. But if it is to change, we have to start thinking of ourselves as equals. And demanding that others do, too. FWHY OTTAWA, ONT., KIA ID Please send me your information on IWY and the status of I women in Canada. D Please send me a "WHY N9ir button. O Please send me a set of posters. (Available in March.) NAME ADDRESS_ CITY_ PROVINCE_________________POSTAL Minister Responsible for the Status of Women WHY NOT Jjfc bmen International Women's Year JJ7 1 ;