Armed with bear spray

Re. Big cat is Coldstream (Castanet, April 20)

So, a 100-plus pound carnivore was spotted in a lady’s backyard recently, a cat large enough to take down a deer, drag it up a tree and eat it there.

I like to think I am strong, but I could not tackle a deer. Moving it five feet might be a struggle.

At the same time, the public safety minister is considering the (partial) ban of bear spray because criminals are using it as a weapon. (The minister) wants to restrict its purchase to those over 19 years of age and store it in publicly inaccessible areas.

How many lives will this save each year? Zero. How many of those who get sprayed were innocent bystanders and how many were involved in a life of crime?

Meanwhile, the B.C. government loves to release known, dangerous career criminals back into the public, regardless of their history of re-offending, skipping court dates and cutting off their GPS monitors. Sixty-one per cent of released inmates end up back in custody within three years.

Kelowna’s top cop believes in some cases, a single offender can generate hundreds of police files.

“In the absence of a criminal justice response, we need an adequate health response.” she said.

(Kelowna’s) mayor gave an example of a single offender generating 346 files and receiving 29 convictions for property crime and assault offences, yet the “catch-and-release-style” justice system just kept releasing him with conditions. No surprise, he always re-offends.

My point is, if the minister is trying to keep us safe, he is not doing a very good job by (the courts) releasing these criminals back into our communities, allowing child killers to change their names and escape their past, allowing child predators to be released without warning the community and so poorly monitored (a criminal) gets a position working with children and the business owner, nor the parents, is given a warning.

Maybe a 7-11 store on (Vancouver’s) Hastings Street shouldn’t be selling bear spray, but don’t make it illegal for the rest of us to carry.

I keep a can near whenever I am out at work—for bears, aggressive dogs and “freaks” who chase me with a baseball bat.

Females in my family have been given small sprays that fit nicely in their purses. They need something to protect themselves from recently released career criminals.

Troy J. Gangl

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