EDITORIAL: Assuaging our stress

There has been a lack of leadership following the tragic deaths of two young people in South Surrey last week.

It should come as news to no one that the tragic, untimely deaths of two young people in South Surrey in the space of a few days last week have sent the anxiety level of Semiahmoo Peninsula residents through the roof.

It doesn’t matter what the facts of each incident are, or what stage the investigations have reached, or what may yet be discovered. People, right here and right now, are feeling worried and disturbed.

They are also feeling a want of leadership and imagination – on any political or social level – to help them come to terms with these tragedies.

White Rock Baptist Church, where young Teagan Batstone was a junior member of the congregation, deserves credit for taking the initiative to organize a public memorial service Wednesday night to provide both a focus and a release for the feelings of the community.

Dario Bartoli’s memory, too, is being honoured this Saturday at Peace Portal Alliance Church. As well, some of his many friends have left graffiti messages at the South Surrey skate park he frequented.

The school board has provided grief counsellors and school administrations have sent out notices to parents.

The rest, as they say, is silence.

Police are typically tight-lipped during the course of an investigation. Nobody wants them to compromise their search for information, but over the past week officers have yet to address the issue of whether public safety should be a continuing concern in the wake of these incidents.

Civic politicians, many of whom were not short of comments during their most recent election campaigns, have said even less. Other community leaders, including provincial and federal politicians and social service organizations, have also offered nothing – at least en masse – to the people they serve. No doubt they, too, are hampered by a shortage of information, but that should not be an impairment to following basic principles of leadership.

Perhaps they don’t want to be seen to be voicing platitudes, but they are forgetting that it behooves true leaders to offer words of comfort at a time like this, and a reiteration of basic community values in a general sense. What are their reactions? What do they feel about such tragedies? What can they say to us to recognize – yet assuage – our fears and anxiety?

We don’t know because, so far, they aren’t telling us.

The people of the Semiahmoo Peninsula are listening.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

A sign posted to a tree in Maccaud Park urges people to email White Rock City Council and oppose the construction of pickleball courts in the park. (Contributed photo)
White Rock council deems Maccaud Park pickleball courts out of bounds

Unanimous vote against constructing courts follows public feedback

Surrey city council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey drugstores seeking relaxation of spacing rules ‘a challenge,’ councillor says

‘Obviously we need pharmacies but it seems to me that we are getting an awful lot of applications,’ Brenda Locke says

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Most Read