A driving need for change

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I have a newfound respect for Hamilton's Police Service, but I sure wish I didn't have cause for it.

We were hit with a reality of life in "olde" Hamilton - our car was stolen last weekend. I know, join the club; almost all of our neighbours have had at least one car stolen. It's almost a rite of passage.

And we don't even live in a rough area. The people are friendly. So friendly, in fact, that we had several of them on our doorstep within a week of moving in, warning us to flee to the 'burbs before we had children of an impressionable age, and pointing out the local crack houses and brothels.

So it should come as no shock that on the first snowy night of the winter, our trusty car should go missing.

At least we could count on the police. They took a report, and we assumed that's where it would end. We've filed many, many police reports during our five years in Hamilton. Mostly stolen property, attempted thefts, vandalism galore. We file, knowing it's just for statistics, in the hopes of getting more police funding. But this time, we actually got our stuff back, and thanks to an inquisitive cop, we got it back that same night.

The car's a little worse for wear. It may look the same on the outside, but it's not the same car. It looks like it spent a night off-roading. If there's a farmer out there with donut tracks in his field, my apologies.

The brakes are failing. The steering is soft. The suspension is shot. It squeaks and creaks and moans. And the kicker, our key can be found in any kitchen drawer. They pried out our ignition switch and chucked it out the window. We now have to use a butter knife to start our car.

And what was it for? A few hours of warmth? A thrill? For a few laughs, I couldn't get to work on Saturday, which in turn ruined my manager's weekend plans. Because of them, we had to take on the added cost of buying a new baby seat. It seems a baby seat, like, cramped their style, so out it went, along with my baby's new snowsuit and winter gear. And because of them, we now have to go deeper into debt to buy another car. That was the first safe, reliable vehicle we've ever owned. Our first car shook uncontrollably. The next had no floor, and when you looked through the holes, you could see sparks flying from the axle, because the chassis was split in two. I often wonder about the mechanic who let that car pass its safety inspection.

This one was different. We bought it knowing our baby son, John, was on the way, so it was safe. It was reliable. Note the past tense.

So what's the answer? Is it more police? Nope. As much as I'd love to have an officer assigned to every property, that isn't realistic. They're clearly doing their job, and they're doing it well. They can't be every place at every time.

What needs to change is the woe-is-me attitude, which is so insanely pervasive in my neck of the woods. The majority of struggling parents raise fine, upstanding kids, who are kind and resilient because of the challenges they've faced.

But there are others who think that the world owes them a break, and they pass that attitude on to their children. They teach them that the world is cruel, and that, although many of them live off the charity and hard work of others, it's a dog eat dog world out there.

And I've seen the result. I've seen 9-year-olds steal cash right out of my wallet. These are the kids who grow into homies, prowling the streets after dark. It's hard to stay positive about a city core, where you catch 10-year-olds breaking into your car looking for cigarettes and pocket change, or where anything not tied down vanishes - even things as mundane as an ivy plant, or a trowel, left unwatched for 30 seconds.

On the bright side, at least our taxes are lower than most homes in Flamborough. Anyone want to trade?

A driving need for change

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I have a newfound respect for Hamilton's Police Service, but I sure wish I didn't have cause for it.

We were hit with a reality of life in "olde" Hamilton - our car was stolen last weekend. I know, join the club; almost all of our neighbours have had at least one car stolen. It's almost a rite of passage.

And we don't even live in a rough area. The people are friendly. So friendly, in fact, that we had several of them on our doorstep within a week of moving in, warning us to flee to the 'burbs before we had children of an impressionable age, and pointing out the local crack houses and brothels.

So it should come as no shock that on the first snowy night of the winter, our trusty car should go missing.

At least we could count on the police. They took a report, and we assumed that's where it would end. We've filed many, many police reports during our five years in Hamilton. Mostly stolen property, attempted thefts, vandalism galore. We file, knowing it's just for statistics, in the hopes of getting more police funding. But this time, we actually got our stuff back, and thanks to an inquisitive cop, we got it back that same night.

The car's a little worse for wear. It may look the same on the outside, but it's not the same car. It looks like it spent a night off-roading. If there's a farmer out there with donut tracks in his field, my apologies.

The brakes are failing. The steering is soft. The suspension is shot. It squeaks and creaks and moans. And the kicker, our key can be found in any kitchen drawer. They pried out our ignition switch and chucked it out the window. We now have to use a butter knife to start our car.

And what was it for? A few hours of warmth? A thrill? For a few laughs, I couldn't get to work on Saturday, which in turn ruined my manager's weekend plans. Because of them, we had to take on the added cost of buying a new baby seat. It seems a baby seat, like, cramped their style, so out it went, along with my baby's new snowsuit and winter gear. And because of them, we now have to go deeper into debt to buy another car. That was the first safe, reliable vehicle we've ever owned. Our first car shook uncontrollably. The next had no floor, and when you looked through the holes, you could see sparks flying from the axle, because the chassis was split in two. I often wonder about the mechanic who let that car pass its safety inspection.

This one was different. We bought it knowing our baby son, John, was on the way, so it was safe. It was reliable. Note the past tense.

So what's the answer? Is it more police? Nope. As much as I'd love to have an officer assigned to every property, that isn't realistic. They're clearly doing their job, and they're doing it well. They can't be every place at every time.

What needs to change is the woe-is-me attitude, which is so insanely pervasive in my neck of the woods. The majority of struggling parents raise fine, upstanding kids, who are kind and resilient because of the challenges they've faced.

But there are others who think that the world owes them a break, and they pass that attitude on to their children. They teach them that the world is cruel, and that, although many of them live off the charity and hard work of others, it's a dog eat dog world out there.

And I've seen the result. I've seen 9-year-olds steal cash right out of my wallet. These are the kids who grow into homies, prowling the streets after dark. It's hard to stay positive about a city core, where you catch 10-year-olds breaking into your car looking for cigarettes and pocket change, or where anything not tied down vanishes - even things as mundane as an ivy plant, or a trowel, left unwatched for 30 seconds.

On the bright side, at least our taxes are lower than most homes in Flamborough. Anyone want to trade?

A driving need for change

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I have a newfound respect for Hamilton's Police Service, but I sure wish I didn't have cause for it.

We were hit with a reality of life in "olde" Hamilton - our car was stolen last weekend. I know, join the club; almost all of our neighbours have had at least one car stolen. It's almost a rite of passage.

And we don't even live in a rough area. The people are friendly. So friendly, in fact, that we had several of them on our doorstep within a week of moving in, warning us to flee to the 'burbs before we had children of an impressionable age, and pointing out the local crack houses and brothels.

So it should come as no shock that on the first snowy night of the winter, our trusty car should go missing.

At least we could count on the police. They took a report, and we assumed that's where it would end. We've filed many, many police reports during our five years in Hamilton. Mostly stolen property, attempted thefts, vandalism galore. We file, knowing it's just for statistics, in the hopes of getting more police funding. But this time, we actually got our stuff back, and thanks to an inquisitive cop, we got it back that same night.

The car's a little worse for wear. It may look the same on the outside, but it's not the same car. It looks like it spent a night off-roading. If there's a farmer out there with donut tracks in his field, my apologies.

The brakes are failing. The steering is soft. The suspension is shot. It squeaks and creaks and moans. And the kicker, our key can be found in any kitchen drawer. They pried out our ignition switch and chucked it out the window. We now have to use a butter knife to start our car.

And what was it for? A few hours of warmth? A thrill? For a few laughs, I couldn't get to work on Saturday, which in turn ruined my manager's weekend plans. Because of them, we had to take on the added cost of buying a new baby seat. It seems a baby seat, like, cramped their style, so out it went, along with my baby's new snowsuit and winter gear. And because of them, we now have to go deeper into debt to buy another car. That was the first safe, reliable vehicle we've ever owned. Our first car shook uncontrollably. The next had no floor, and when you looked through the holes, you could see sparks flying from the axle, because the chassis was split in two. I often wonder about the mechanic who let that car pass its safety inspection.

This one was different. We bought it knowing our baby son, John, was on the way, so it was safe. It was reliable. Note the past tense.

So what's the answer? Is it more police? Nope. As much as I'd love to have an officer assigned to every property, that isn't realistic. They're clearly doing their job, and they're doing it well. They can't be every place at every time.

What needs to change is the woe-is-me attitude, which is so insanely pervasive in my neck of the woods. The majority of struggling parents raise fine, upstanding kids, who are kind and resilient because of the challenges they've faced.

But there are others who think that the world owes them a break, and they pass that attitude on to their children. They teach them that the world is cruel, and that, although many of them live off the charity and hard work of others, it's a dog eat dog world out there.

And I've seen the result. I've seen 9-year-olds steal cash right out of my wallet. These are the kids who grow into homies, prowling the streets after dark. It's hard to stay positive about a city core, where you catch 10-year-olds breaking into your car looking for cigarettes and pocket change, or where anything not tied down vanishes - even things as mundane as an ivy plant, or a trowel, left unwatched for 30 seconds.

On the bright side, at least our taxes are lower than most homes in Flamborough. Anyone want to trade?