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Former B.C. mayor calls for return of public executions for certain crimes in op-ed

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 6:58 pm MDT

A former mayor of Chetwynd has written an op-ed in which he suggests public executions like stonings "might help" when punishing certain criminals. (Alaska Highway News

A former B.C. mayor has put out a call for true frontier justice when it comes to those who commit heinous crimes

In op-ed, former Chetwynd mayor calls for return of public executions for mass shooters, police killers

Evan Saugstad admits the idea may be archaic, but says stonings could work to deter some from carrying out these crimes

CHETWYND (NEWS 1130) – It’s been quite the month so far for opinion pieces around B.C.

On Thursday, a former mayor of Chetwynd penned an editorial suggesting public executions like stonings “might help” when it comes to punishing criminals for certain crimes.

“And when I mean public, I mean done in full view of the public, with the public doing the job,” writes Evan Saugstad in the op-ed, which was published in the Alaska Highway News.

Saugstad admits the idea may be archaic, but suggests stonings could work for those who carry out “mass shootings, killing of law enforcement personnel, etc.”

“Remember the movies that had stockades in the town square? Remember the people lining up to throw stones while the criminal sat with hands and feat bound? It may have taken a lot of squealing, but never took too long,” the op-ed, which starts off talking about gun laws in Canada, reads.

In the article, Saugstad says criminals would be much less likely to commit offences if they ended up being stoned by townspeople in public view, and writes that we’re too civilized now.

He believes if wanna-be mass shooters could watch how horrible a slow death can be, they might not want to be subjected to the same.

In an interview with NEWS 1130, Saugstad said if punishment were returned to the public realm, it would be a deterrent.

“It is honest and it’s not pretty, and sure, that might upset people, but if your child died in school being shot by somebody else, you’d be upset.”

Saugstad is a provincially appointed board member and former long-time chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

According to its website, the Northern Development Initiative Trust says Saugstad retired as the mayor of the northeastern B.C. district in 2011 after several years on the job.

The op-ed has since been pulled from the Alaska Highway News website, which Saugstad told NEWS 1130 he plans to speak with the editor about.

“That was their choice. I’m a little bit surprised. Nobody pulls down the stories about somebody shooting up a synagogue, a mosque, or a church, or a school,” he said. “The Americans have executions. They just don’t do it in public.”

Over the weekend, the Vancouver Sun pulled a controversial editorial which had been condemned as racist by many after a firestorm of criticism on Twitter.