You know how when company is coming you shove everything into closets and close the door, pretending that the mess doesn’t exist? Well some busybodies have been opening up our closed doors instead of just enjoying the fruit punch:
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Five blocks away from the venue for Vancouver’s Olympic opening ceremonies, four grizzled addicts huddle in the rain, injecting themselves with heroin behind a trash bin.
Welcome to Downtown Eastside. Here, life is gritty, volatile and the slightest misstep can invite brutal retaliation.
“It’s a jungle,” said Glen, a 49-year-old heroin addict who goes by the street name Trouble. “You want to get out of here.”
That’s from an article over at MSNBC, and it doesn’t really improve after that:
As Vancouver prepares for the Olympics and the descent of the world’s media, the Downtown Eastside remains a huge problem — 15 square blocks of despair, squalid rooming houses and alleys populated by thousands of addicts, the homeless, the mentally ill and the drug dealers who prey on them.
This neighborhood is the most concentrated drug and poverty ghetto in North America, with high use of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to criminologist Benedikt Fischer of Simon Fraser University. It’s also the only place in North America where drug addicts can shoot heroin into their veins at an officially sanctioned injection site.
Now why would a US news outlet want to make our city look bad? I have a theory. MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC. I suspect that Bill Gates is jealous of our property values, particularly since the Seattle market has dropped so much, and he’s pulling some strings to make us look bad. Everyone who lives here knows you don’t go down to Main and Hastings unless you want to score some junk or catch a hot new disease, so what’s the big deal?
Well that theory explains the yanks anyways, but what’s with the British? They’re taking their potshots too, and we’re supposed to be on the same side! We’re part of the commonwealth! We’ve got the queen on our currency!
Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of $6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m. With more than 15,000 members, it’s the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards. With a police officer on every corner and military helicopters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like post-war Berlin than an Olympic wonderland.
That’s from the Guardian article Vancouver’s Olympics are heading for disaster. You know what I think? I think everybody is just jealous.
Thanks to G and jjss for the links!