EDITORIAL: Staying — and feeling — safe after horrible things happen

In recent weeks, two news stories have been particularly troubling.

In New Westminster just a week before Christmas, 19-year-old Karim Meskine was beaten with a baseball bat near 22nd Street SkyTrain station so brutally that he later died.

Across the bridge in Surrey, just a few days after Christmas, 53-year-old Julie Paskall was about to pick up her son from hockey outside Newton Arena when she was beaten. Like Meskine, it was such a vicious attack she did not survive her injuries.

Both left behind grieving friends and family. Meskine was described by friends as a gentle soul who was helping support his family as his father looked for work.

And Paskall was a volunteer timekeeper with the local hockey league waiting to pick up her 14-year-old son from refereeing.

Most chilling for many people who heard of these tragedies was the fact both victims were killed as part of opportunistic robberies, and both incidents appear entirely random. For the families touched by these tragedies, it must be horrific to lose a loved one for something as trifling as a purse, an iPhone or a pocketful of cash.

For those who do not know the victims, these two stories spark fear due to the random nature of the crimes. Many of us have walked near the scenes of these crimes. Many of us walk alone at night. Should we worry?

Some caution in Newton is warranted. The culprit (at press time) is still at large, and may have been involved in earlier attack Dec. 16.

At times like this, though, it’s important to keep perspective.

We should always use common sense, and avoid putting ourselves in situations where we are vulnerable.

But by and large, our neighbourhoods and our streets are safe places.

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