If the shoe was on the other foot…

We all have the right to safe communities. Perhaps we need two separate ones.

If the shoe was on the other foot…

There are so many people in our community with open hearts and compassion.

Yet why do so many feel as though their good hearts have been trampled on?

I suppose this: we want our children to be safe, healthy and prosperous.

We want them to learn independence and transition successfully into adulthood.

Some members of this family are adults who continue to require our care and guidance.

And many members of our Valley are doing just that.

I know of people who routinely scoop human poop and needles around buildings.

They pick up clothing scattered about, discarded because meth and shirts are not always compatible.

Countless others provide meals, funded by no one else.

I was first on the scene as a gentleman stumbled off the sidewalk and into the bus lane on Canada Avenue.

As he lay there, I redirected vehicles while others rushed to assist.

Small acts of kindness by each of us? You could say that. Yet, how do our hearts feel?

In my case, once the ambulance came and left, I was followed incessantly by this man’s friend.

Through the park and into the streets of Duncan she falsely accused me of stealing his money.

Downtown for the music, I was harassed and left.

Still, I, like most everyone, have compassion.

I would not want my mom, dad, sister or brother begging for money and food.

I would not want my son or daughter sleeping under shrubs and in doorways.

I would not want my cousin stripping off his clothes while the public watches.

I would not want my aunt flailing about, screaming incoherently as she weaves through traffic.

Nor would I expect my friends to pitch in and care for them.

And that is what is being asked of the community at large.

Warmland Shelter asks overnight guests to leave before 2 p.m. The library often houses them until closing.

Restaurants and convenience stores take over after that.

Parks staff, motel clerks landlords and business owners provide night coverage.

Daylight brings out the clean up crews.

We all are involved and affected in no small way.

Human rights — what are they?

Is it the right to defecate in alleyways and have others clean it up?

To run naked down the railway track?

To demand acceptance and tolerance of this behaviour?

What about the right to keep children away from drug use and its aftermath?

To live in an apartment building and be able to sit on your balcony in peace?

To leave your shed unlocked and not have the contents stolen?

To sit in the park and listen to music?

Some have reached their limit and are protesting in the street.

We need to think about why that is and perhaps offer a compromise.

I propose, for consideration, a community within a community.

Not a jail with cells, life sentences and prison records.

A closed community with people and resources focused on helping our family members be safe.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. A safe place that offers more dignity to our people than what we can ever do now.

That is what I would want for my loved one. Heck, that is what I would want for myself if I were in similar circumstances.

Don’t leave me to fend for myself, not even for one minute. Don’t force other family members to take care of me.

They will find it very difficult and disruptive. When I’ve lost my mind, please take care of me when I no longer can.

I don’t want the right to live on the street and conduct myself however I choose. That is not the freedom I seek, nor would it be fun.

Neither is it fair to others who are not similarly afflicted.

It is not that I am without empathy. Quite the opposite. I want the best for the addicted soul. I want the best for me, for everyone.

We essentially are of two different worlds — with different rules and laws. And with different needs.

We all have the right to safe communities. Perhaps we need two separate ones.

I admit: it is just a thought. It is not written in stone, nor written while stoned.

What do you think?

Cheryl Trudell

Cowichan Valley


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, left, joined Rob Douglas, right, NDP candidate for the Cowichan Valley in the upcoming provincial election, on a tour to meet people in Lake Cowichan on Oct. 16 and discuss local issues. (Robert Barron/Citizen) Douglas’s campaign continued to pull out all the stops with a visit on Sunday from Premier John Horgan for some spearfishing in Duncan. (Submitted)
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits Lake Cowichan

Rob Douglas, NDP’s candidate for Cowichan Valley, joins him

Duncan-based author Jennifer Manuel took home the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Heaviness of Things that Float, at the 33rd Annual BC Book Prizes. She will be part of an online reading session on Oct. 22, 2020, featuring Cowichan Valley writers. (Submitted photo)
Cowichan Valley authors to be featured in online readings Oct. 22

The Cowichan Valley Writers Spotlight will feature readings by eight area writers

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Fuller Lake Arena change rooms only opened up again on Monday, but only for putting on skates and not shower use. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Fuller Lake Arena change rooms only opened up again on Monday, but only for putting on skates and not shower use. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Unusual season of minor hockey slowly taking shape in Cowichan

Teams doing a lot of practicing right now while awaiting the possibility of games

Lee Porteous will be one of the performers at the Duncan Showroom’s storytelling event later this month. (Photo Submitted)
Duncan Showroom hosts storytellers series

Monthly shows will be broadcast live on YouTube

Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals say Tory effort to set up COVID-19 committee will be a confidence matter

The Tories were originally proposing an ‘anticorruption’ committee

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Investigators work at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek. - Image credit: Observer file photo.
Sex workers allegedly called to farm of Okanagan man convicted of assault, RCMP investigating

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Early voters more likely to favour NDP, but overall B.C. election is tightening: poll

According to Elections BC, 383,477 people cast a ballot during advanced voting days

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

The team has received close to 600 calls and emails since the investigation started in July

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Most Read