It may have been sorrow that brought them out. It could have been fear for the safety of themselves and their loved ones. Or it might have been a simmering anger over the pain inflicted upon the community that prompted so many to take action.
The motive that inspired more than 100 people to take to the streets of Penticton last week is not as important as the message they delivered during Thursday’s Take Back the Night march.
The march helped provide some comfort to the family of Lynn Kalmring. “I feel like I’m not alone,” said Lynn’s daughter Brandy Cummings. Kalmring was shot to death in her Penticton home in August, allegedly at the hands of her common-law husband. The homicide left a gaping hole in the lives of the family and friends who had been touched by Lynn’s loving nature.
Many were prompted to take action by the fear and anger they felt over the late-July attack on a 22-year-old Penticton woman. The woman was tied up and brutally beaten inside an Ellis Street second-hand store, all before the eyes of her 22-month-old son. The community’s outrage over the vicious attack is only rivalled by the inspiration that can be found in the courage and resilience shown by the victim.
And those are only the most high-profile of the violent incidents the community is still coming to grips with. It is not surprising, then, that so many took to the streets on a sleepy autumn night. And each one was undoubtedly accompanied by the thoughts and prayers of countless others in living rooms and offices throughout the community.
There is little that can be done to keep the monsters of this world safely outside the city’s gates. But events like Thursday’s march show that their actions cannot diminish our sense of community, and only strengthen our resolve to be there in our neighbours’ time of need and do what we must to stem the tide of violence.
— Penticton Western News