On Tuesday, went out with 27 other people and was part of the first North Shore Community Patrol in Kamloops. We went out from 7pm to 9pm. We witnessed a few questionable things going on and, for the most part, the people involved dispersed very quickly once they saw us watching them. I spent much of the time walking with some wonderful ladies who live on the North Shore and they pointed out a lot of things I was not aware of - good and bad. They have an abiding love of their neighborhood and they are deeply concerned about the drug houses that have been started amongst them. They pointed a drug house out as we walked on a quiet, otherwise very beautiful street. It was very quiet when we went by (perhaps it wasn't open yet), but I drove by later in the evening and saw it open. It made me very angry. One of my new friends told the group that one elderly couple who have lived in the same house for almost 50 years had felt the need to finally lock their doors two years ago.
As angry as I feel about drug dealers, I feel very bad for people with addictions and/or who are selling their bodies on the streets. It must be, in fact Im damn sure it is, horrible. And I don't believe the solution is to drive them somewhere else. I think we have to try as hard as we can to help these people get clean and live of life of life of dignity and happiness. Whatever success we have, however small, is worth the effort.
The Community Patrol had another training this evening and I invited a friend of mine who is a street outreach worker to attend. She brought two of her colleagues with her. It was a little tense because the outreach workers don't currently seem to think much of the patrol. But, I wanted to try to create a working relationship so that the patrol can be seen as a friendly thing, not a hostile thing to people who already down and out.
If I had thought it through better, I might have invited the outreach workers to a smaller meeting first, so that we could have ironed out some of the differences. Unfortunately, I had to leave the meeting early. I spent much time after fretting about how the meeting would go. I will try to find out tomorrow.