The news of the Halloween night murder of 18-year-old Taylor Van Diest in Armstrong, just a few kilometres down the highway from us, was shocking, horrific and downright scary.
Even scarier is the letter received by the RCMP by someone claiming to be the perpetrator (although this has not been confirmed by police) which threatens further violence against women.
This has sparked police and the school district to issue safety warnings as a precautionary measure.
While some say this heightens fear, the RCMP clearly believe the safety of the public should come first and are sticking with the adage, “better safe than sorry.”
That is as it should be. No one likes to think about these things, indeed the very thought that the attack on Taylor could happen to another young person is enough to turn your stomach.
The RCMP have some specific things we can all do to protect ourselves and our kids:
Travel in groups, rather than walking alone; keep people advised of where you are going and when you expect to arrive at your destination; carry a cell phone; get rides from family and friends and keep to areas with good visibility.
The school district also makes a good point when it encourages students not to rely on cell phones for sole safety purposes. Best to use most, if not all, of the recommendations together.
No one likes to feel fear or that their communities, especially small-town centres like we live in, are unsafe or have predators lurking. But there is power in fear. It motivates us to action.