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A history of violence 

In concert with the mayor’s roundtable, we present your stories of violence in Halifax.

These stories represent a small sample of the submissions we received via email, messageboards and thecoast.ca. Some have been edited for publication. The Coast will submit these stories as part of the mayor’s roundtable on violence, now underway.

My 24-year-old nephew was confronted by a group of youths on the Common in September, going home from a party with his girlfriend and another couple. He was stabbed three times in the back. One stab punctured his lung. His girlfriend called 911 and they didn't get a response from the cops. He actually walked to the VG emergency. The police never got a statement from him until a week later, upon my sister's insistence, at which time my nephew picked his assailant out of a mug book.

An officer told my sister it was a pretty stupid thing for her son to do—walking across the Common at night. This was the same time that the son of Newfoundland's ex-premier, Brian Tobin, was stabbed in Halifax. That story made the front pages. With the police attitude towards these kinds of assaults, it's hard to see how this problem will be resolved.

—John Porter, via Facebook

I've been lucky insofar that nothing has happened to me directly but my friends— not so much. Last year, three of my friends, walking together by the Pavilion after a night at the bar, got a knife pulled on them but managed to run away. Also last year, on two separate occasions, people I know (one was my roommate at the time) had guns pulled on them while working: one, a man in a convenience store, the other, a woman at a children's clothing store.

Happily, none of these people sustained any lasting physical damage from these encounters, but it's still kind of frightening.

—Bonny Stormer, via Halifax Locals

My name is Andrew Gordon Macpherson, and I'm a local filmmaker and musician. I was attacked in front of Video Difference in 2005. I was walking home to our building (Quinpool Towers) and got jumped by two guys as they got out of a taxi. They hit me five times on the head with a lead pipe. I couldn't identify them (as they were giving me a facelift), but even if I could have, I probably wouldn't bother because the aftermath was far worse than being beaten with a pipe.

The ambulance showed up, examined my blood-drenched body and proclaimed that I badly needed stitches, but that I had "waived my right to ride in an ambulance" somehow.

The police said that they knew who did it, as they'd been dealing with the men earlier, and had in fact put them in the taxi they had gotten out of to attack me. They said that the only thing that would solve this case was "good old-fashioned street justice" and also wouldn't drive me to the hospital.

Anyhow, I've written a film that is a satirical look at the way we support the victims of violent crime, with the message that perpetuating violence only creates more violence and further affects our community. Based on this incident, it's appropriately titled PIPEFACE. I have just recently received funding from the National Film Board to produce it and am working on pre-production now.

—AGM, via email

One time I was leaving the Cafe Mokka and these two guys came around the corner from Sackville Street. One of them yelled "What the fuck are you looking at!" and slammed me into one of those doorways there and punched me right in the face.

I thought, "This is kind of pointless and dumb," so I slipped past the guy and just kept walking towards the corner.

One of them yelled, "Don't you walk away from me!" at the exact same time as the other one yelled, "Yeah, you better walk away," and when I glanced back over my shoulder, they were standing there looking at each other, slightly confused.

—Philip Clark, via Halifax Locals

A buddy of mine was jumped about two months ago going across the Common. He never reported it. It was about 8:30pm on a Sunday evening, not even dark. He is not that well, physically, and he was concerned because if he got hurt it might mean a major health problem, even life or death for him, so he curled into a ball and gave in. How many such cases are there?

The random nature of these attacks scares me. Peers in this age group know who the offenders are but protect them for their own safety, or benefit.

—Jeffery Hinchey, via Facebook

A few years ago, I was walking home around 10pm on a Wednesday (the corner of Gerrish and Creighton) and heard footsteps running behind me. Before I knew what was going on, six-plus guys were grabbing onto me and punching me in the head, over and over again. They knocked me down, kicked me in the head a few times, punched me in the face a lot more (15 to 20 solid hits) and smashed a few chunks of ice over my head. I couldn't think straight for a week and when I called some friends to come over, they said they hardly recognized me when I answered the door because my face and head were so swollen.

I had $20 in my wallet, but they never even tried to steal it. My last clear memory is of hysterical laughter as I was being punched in the face, over and over again.

I called the police to file a report...no police ever showed up to take a statement and it was never listed on the police website that supposedly reports "incidents."

—Rory, via Halifax Locals

I'm a university student here in Halifax. I've been here four years and I've been jumped three times—once for a case of beer on Quinpool Road, once while leaving a bar with some friends in the north end and once with a knife, just near Tony's Pizza on Robie. I love the north end but I don't live there anymore.

—Adam, via email

On August 29, 2007, two friends and I were jumped by six young females. The story has been covered a couple times in the paper, blah, blah, blah. It sucked.

—Jillian Q Smith, via Facebook

A year ago, outside of KOD on pizza corner, after a show at the Attic, I was standingoutside enjoying a slice with three pals when I noticed three guys across the street walking quickly. They suddenly jumped a guy, walking by himself, right in front of the Black Market. They had him on the ground in a second and were stomping on him hard. I was in shock: couldn't believe what I was seeing. They stopped as quickly as they began and ran directly into KOD.

Seconds afterward, a police cruiser shows up and stops at the fellow on the ground. I run over to notify the officer that the three guys who did this are in KOD. The officer won't even listen to me. He only wants to question the guy who got jumped, who was in shock and barely able to talk. I yelled at the officer, "The three guys are right over there! I can identify them to you right now!" He turns to me and says, "Mind your own business and let me do my job! Get out of here or spend a night in the tank. It's your choice" I, again, was shocked.

—Roxwell, via Halifax Locals

I just wanted to say that I have lived in Halifax for 15 years on some of the worst streets and worked in some of the worst areas. As a lone female, I have walked home through the Common, north end, Uniacke Square at midnight, 2am, 4am, etc., by myself on a regular basis. I have never even had a scare. I don't personally know anyone who has ever been attacked. One friend had her purse snatched. That's all in 15 years. I love Halifax and think it's getting a bad rap these days. I don't deny there are problems but why make a group to focus on the negative incidents?

—Kelsey Bennett, via Facebook

I've been assaulted three times here in the last 10 years. Once in Dartmouth, and twice in Halifax.

In Dartmouth I was picked up off the side of the road—my face bloody after being struck with a pipe (?) and knocked out—by some helpful stranger. The concussion was so severe that I couldn't remember the name of the guy who helped me, nor anything else about him, but I have stitches and scars to remind me how the curb must have felt after I collapsed.

In Halifax I was pepper-sprayed by some punk kids near pizza corner (yes, they actually dressed like The Misfits, though I know better then to judge all punks by that). They decided to steal my backpack.

—notarobot, via Halifax Locals

My brother was brutally attacked by a bunch of assholes while walking home from work almost two years ago. For them it was fun, I guess. They left him unconscious on the ground, took his wallet, keys and belt.

Somehow, by the grace of god, he woke up and got himself into his apartment building. But he did not realize he had been hit in the head with a huge rock. Long story short, he ended up going through neurosurgery because the rock they hit him with caused bleeding in his brain. We almost lost him...luckily he survived without any paralysis, memory loss, etc., but he is not the same person because of it. It's absolutely insane. It appears that people are getting a big kick out of going around and hurting people, which is absolutely sick. What can be done about it? I have no idea as it seems to be a lack of respect for human life that these people have. They don't care who they hurt. It's scary. Very, very scary.

—Marnie Patricia Bienias, via Facebook

Share your personal experiences of violence on the streets of Halifax - where and when, who and how. We all know friends who have been been jumped downtown, or we've been through it ourselves. Help The Coast give the city an accurate picture of what's actually going on.

And while we're on the subject, check out our new Halifax violence map.

Email your stories to mikef@thecoast.ca or post them here, by logging in to comment, below.

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