Pickton’s Found Guilty: Vancouver Sighs in Relief


It was a big day in my town yesterday. Robert “Willie” Pickton was found guilty for all six counts of murder. Second degree, but each comes with mandatory life, parole in 15-25, I think it is.

Pickton’s the infamous Pig Farmer you might’ve heard about. Jokes have been made. It was funny in Snatch. It’s not funny in Vancouver.

Pickton’s being called Canada’s worst serial killer. New evidence is coming out even now, just a day after the verdict, of the never-disclosed motive (as if to suggest killing prostitutes for kicks is enough of a motive) that Pickton somehow saw himself as a moral arbiter when it came to purging Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside…

If you don’t know about Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, in a nutshell: 30 square blocks. Begins just one block east of one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist areas, then ends one block west of the city’s largest police station, and just a few blocks southwest of the ports of Vancouver, where all the heroin arrives in freights and gets distributed from there across North America. 30 square blocks of the highest rate of HIV infection in the western world, and an incredibly prolific meth and heroin addiction scene– your city ain’t seen nothing like this. It is, in fact, the poorest, most crime-riddled, disease-infected, drug-addicted neighbourhood in North America. Streetworkers in the DES have been disappearing here for three decades, at least, with done. No inquiry ever got launched. Pickton, now guilty of six of the 26 murders with which he’s been charged, was only arrested 2 years ago. Demands for inquiries into the disappearance of these underprivileged, addicted, forgotten streetworkers have been made since 1991, and there have been several dozen women officially listed as missing, way more than Pickton’s charged with. Women are still disappearing off our streets. They go unnoticed because there’s no body. But they’re gone.

…Pickton apparently saw himself as the guy who got to rid our streets of filth. He’d pick ’em up, give them money, take them to his farm outside the city. There’d be parties. Cocaine. Every now and then someone got to die, for whatever twisted fucking reason that demented little man (and his friends, some believe) could conjure. One woman testified she saw him gutting a woman strung and kicking from chain in the slaughterhouse. Their corpses were fed to the pigs. The pigs were slaughtered for market. Hands and feet were found in buckets when the cops arrested Pickton and searched the grounds. The forensic search of his proprerty took

Some fucked up stuff has happened here. Horrible crimes. Pickton will probably never see the light of day again. The sentence comes down later this week, I think.

Three others were arrested but never charged. The creepiest thing about this saviour complex Pickton claims he has is that he refers to his “father before him” being faced with the same terrible task of the avenging angel.

Anyhow. I really don’t know what to say about Pickton. Hell’s too good a place for someone like that, I guess.

My worry, though, is, that many residents of this city will go to sleep thinking we got the bad guy, when Pickton may just be the tip of the iceberg. Women still go missing on the DES. We’re talking an area riddled with the kind of addiction that would have its addicts literally selling their child for the money to buy drugs. (Vancouver’s personal theft crime rate is higher than that of New York precisely because of our drug problems.) These streetworkers are so hooked, they’ll do anything for a drug fix.

I know $10 hookers are a punchline in movies. Here in Vancouver, they’re women who keep going missing and are beaten or killed because someone, somewhere seems to think society just doesn’t care about those women.

And most days, they’re right. Yesterday, though, for once society did care.

How about tomorrow?

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