Monday, April 30, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The DTES is a dirty, dangerous ghetto which has destroyed many lives and broken many dreams.

Sexual and criminal predators routinely roam this derelict area looking for victims. Is it any wonder that a young aboriginal female, Pilasi Kingfisher, also known as 'Jamie' disappeared after arriving at Pacific (Greyhound) Central station on April 20, 2007.

Ms Kingfisher most likely had a somewhat sheltered growing up in the rural Pemberton, BC, region. Most likely she is trusting and as a 19 year old, like others from rural areas , was drawn to the big city lights. Of course nothing would have prepared her for the gritty inner city neighborhood where notorious criminals troll.

Last Friday, I attended the Re-Framing risk conference put on by the McCreary Youth Foundation. This conference was held at the Morris J Wosk centre which also borders the DTES. At this symposium, I heard young adults sharing their stories and speaking out about the 3 R's. They are at-risk, risk-taking and reducing-risk. These young adults shared that risk-taking can be positive experiences. Examples included a young disabled man, Steve Schoeller, who climbed Mount Kilminajaro. Other aspects which the younger adults articulated is that taking risks can be a positive experience as it builds maturity, courage and at times allows for spiritual journey's.

I am certain that Pilasi "Jamie" Kingfisher like the re-framing risk participants chose to engage in risk-taking. Most likely, Pilasi wanted to experience big city life. As a 19 year old, her travel was an opportunity of boldly declaring her emerging independence. Her parents should not blame themselves for allowing 'Jamie' to travel here. While most parents desire nothing but to shelter and protect their children, these children often have other ideas and engage in risk-taking as a part of their growing up process.

Pilasi travelling to Vancouver on her own was an act of risk-taking. When youth and younger adults arrive in the DTES, without their parents or loved ones, which happens frequently, its up to the community and policy makers to ensure these arrivals will not be targeted and preyed upon. Policy makers owes it to reduce their risk.

I hope with all my heart that Pilasi is safe and is experiencing another side of life, even is that part of life is extremely dangerous. If this is the case Pilasi, please contact your family as fear and sadness is not something any parent should unnecessarily endure. Responsibility to others is also part of the growing process and your parents and family deserve this courageous adult act of you.

If on the other hand, Pilasi is missing, its important that all steps be taken to find her whereabouts. The DTES predators, of which there are many, would view young Pilasi as fresh meat. Its terribly troubling to think people would think this way but sadly this depraved and distorted thinking is a common trait among the many deranged and dangerous criminals living among us.

Mayor Sam Sullivan, I've said this a hundred times before--these streets are not safe for our vulnerable and poor--something needs to be done and done now.

Pilasi was a visitor and guest to this city and all visitors should be kept out of the hands of the filthy predators who live among us. While you may see drug users as victims, you are sorely mis-informed. Drug users regularly prey on our children, the vulnerable and weak. And, not only to get that next fix but to exploit or sell others for their economic gain. Sad but disgustingly true.

We witnessed this with the 'missing women' cases and I sure hope we are not going to blow it again. Already in the past six months, we have had a series of high profile disappearances. I must therefore pose, will our young be the next wave to go missing?

If our dangerous streets have abducted Pilasi, you need to immediately find her. Implement every single resource at your disposal to find her. Just as you did for Graham McMynn.

Our streets are the mean streets and its long overdue to clean them up. And I don't care if the political left and all the DTES charities scream that your embarking on a cleansing. These do-gooders have never had to survive on these mean streets and its time to take them on. I'm equally tired of the parasitic poverty industry who feed off the vulnerable and weak. They too are part of the problem.

Sure, go ahead Mr. Mayor and announce that you have compassion for drug addicts, however, you must equally articulate that the DTES is a community your not willing to allow to be ruled by thugs, goons and criminals.

I sure hope young Pilasi has not encountered harm Mr. Mayor, but if she has, the white towel that your fondly waving in support of the Canucks will also be blood soaked with the reminders of young Pilasi's life.

Jamie Lee Hamilton