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Selling Winnipeg. "The average citizen, they're not high on the city"

The CBC stumbled across a great story the other day, but didn't recognize what they found and didn't know what to do with it.

A perky reporter burbled on about how some group called Economic Development Winnipeg had created a series of videos  promoting the city's advantages to entice companies to start doing business in the city.

There was one problem, though, said the reporter.

"The average citizen, they're not high on the city — and I have no idea why" she was told by a rep for a CEO recruitment company.

Some group wants to lure businessmen to move to Winnipeg while the people who live in Winnipeg think the place is a dump.  Why, you ask?

Well, why don't you start with the joy of living in the murder capital of the country, the gang capital, the province with the lowest after-tax income in the country and the highest taxes west of Quebec, a city with the most incompetent city council in the country, a downtown overrun with panhandlers, drunks, drug dealers, and vagrants of all stripes.  Need we go on?

Nothing underlined the city's image better than this past weekend when we registered three murders.

Oh, it wasn't the number or the locations of the crimes.  We've become inured to those.

It was the stories behind the murders.

Take the stabbing death of 25-year-old John James Allen Lund on Pritchard Avenue early Saturday morning. The circumstances were pretty standard in Winnipeg.  A house party, a fight, a knife, two men taken to hospital, one dies.

By mid-week, Lund's relatives were being quoted in the press.                                                     
Lund was remembered as a good man who loved his family, according to the CBC.


Did they forget how a drunk-out-of-his-mind Lund started harassing three off-duty corrections officers at a West Kildonan restaurant, then attacked them along with 10 of his associates in the Bloodz street gang? How they beat and kicked the men, and stole their wallets, only to escalate the attack when they realized their victims were corrections officers?

Lund eventually pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, breach of probation and possession of a stolen vehicle.  Or, what's known in Winnipeg as "the usual."

But he was a good man, says his distraught family.

""His criminal past, his criminal history did not define who he was," said his aunt,Mary Burton.

Uh, ma'am. Yes it does.  He was a scumbag who wasn't so tough when he wasn't with his gang bro's.

Oh, wait. "Lund's family said before he died, he was trying to get out of a gang and turn his life around." reported the CBC.

Where have we heard that one before?  Uhh, in every court in the city just before the judge sentences a gang member to prison.

Let's look at the murder of 68-year-old Brian O'Donnell about sunrise Sunday morning.  The story is he had cashed his pension cheque on Friday, had gone to the local McDonald's to get a coffee Sunday, was followed home or was accosted as he approached his home on Langside Street.  He was stabbed in the back but managed to get into his apartment before he died.

Naomi Shianne Ross, 18, has been charged with second-degree murder. She's no stranger to police. Her name and picture have been flashed in police releases for years, as she's a chronic runaway and has been listed as "missing" at least four times starting when she was 15.

Ross has (had?) a boyfriend. His name is Byron Charlie Bushie, now about 20. Bushie and Ross have something in common.  He's also charged with second-degree murder.  His and Hers murder charges. Romantic, ain't it.

Bushie was one of two people charged with the 2011 axe murder of  Gerry Crawford, a Pizza Hotline delivery man working the night shift.

Before getting arrested, Bushie had a profile posted on an Internet social networking site:

Male,  97 from Murda Cap 2o4 , north$iide
Partyiinqq , Blaziinqq , drinkiinqq , qettinq hiqh, chillinq with my sister shaylynn, beinq with em sexii ladiies , killem em haters, fuckinq em hoes , chillinq with thabros, qettiinq that Cash, iiqht Ya Diiqq

Bushie hasn't gone to trial yet, so he's considered innocent under the law.  But his co-accused isn't.

Known only as D.V.J.S. in court documents (he was 15 when he killed Gerry Crawford), he pleaded guilty and last month received a life sentence. The judge took a dim view of some of the details of the crime:

"Later in the day D.V.J.S. and ...  were sitting around with some friends enjoying some marihuana. Using the stolen cell phones, they made videos of each other, holding up their loot and talking about the robbery. Still later D.V.J.S. visited a female friend and told her all about the robbery, acting it out and laughing as he described what happened. She testified that she asked him what it felt like to kill someone and he answered that “it felt cool”."

Think that's the worst? Read on...

"At some point before he was arrested, his sister, mother, grandmother and a friend helped D.V.J.S. hide the axe. It was recovered by police when the friend decided to notify them."
Yep, we're not talking about a hardened killer at 15 here. We're talking about an entire family of criminals.  No word if Manitoba Justice has charged anyone for being an accessory after the fact to the murder of Gerry Crawford.
Nor has the court determined yet how long D.V.J.S. has to wait to become eligible for parole. The Crown is asking for seven years, the defence want's five.  Or, in other words, given that he's been in custody since the murder and how the courts deduct that from any sentence, he'll be eligible to walk free almost immediately.  
That's how we roll in Winnipeg.

Do you think his story is an aberration?

In mid-June a 16-year old boy pleaded guilty to murder in the cold-blooded shooting of a young man he believed as a member of a rival gang.

David Vincett, 20, was shot in the back of the head with a .357 magnum handgun as he tried to run away from the shooter, who was only 14 at the time and a member of the Indian Posse street gang.

The boy, whose identity is protected by law, will be sentenced Sept. 9. He might get as much as seven years before being eligible for parole.  That's comforting, knowing that this isn't the first time he's used a gun to shoot at somebody.  When he was only 13 he tried to rob a mailman, and when he was refused, he fired a sawed-off shotgun at the man in an attempt to kill him.

Think that's the worst?  Again, no.

From the court documents:

"The boy ran to his home on Aberdeen Avenue, where he told his mother, two sisters and brother what he had done. One of his sisters took the handgun and bullets and hid them at her house and his mother told her other son to take his brother’s clothes and put them in the trash."

Touching, isn't it. A family that covers up a murder together is such an inspiration.

Welcome to Winnipeg.  A city overrun with murderous street gangs, where criminals can count on their families to hide their murder weapons and give them alibis, where the values of an entire underclass are the opposite of the values of the hardworking citizens simply trying to raise their families in good homes and in safety.

When Economic Development Winnipeg hands out videos of what a great place Winnipeg is to do business, maybe they should throw in some Crimestoppers videos to make potential takers know what they're getting into.

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