Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Is crack addict a hero?

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Just when you think you've seen it all, heard it all, and the stories filtering through our court system can't get any worse...As you may have read in Wednesday's Free Press, I had the unfortunate task of covering a horrendous sentencing hearing this week for a 31-year-old woman who admitted to stashing drugs and a gun inside her North-end home.What really made this story so tragic was the fact two girls - aged five and eight - were living in the same home.Actually, they were more like suriving in the same home. Barely.As we heard in court, the girls were forced to sleep on the floor, right next to several cats and a litterbox overflowing with feces.They had not a single toy to play with in the home, or apparently a single morsel of food. That's because their aunt was using a cooler to store her sawed off shotgun and had no fridge.The children's beds had been stripped down for parts, the mattresses being used by junkies to shoot up and smoke up in other parts of the home.When police finally arrived to rescue them from this Hell on Earth, the girls burst into tears and were "begging" for food, court was told.As sick, twisted and depressing as this story is, there's another aspect to it that we shouldn't overlook and which at least offers a glimmer of hope in an otherwise tragic story.A crack-addict, who spent a couple days getting high inside the home, was apparently so disgusted by what he saw that he felt compelled to go to police.What does it tell you when a stranger desperate for his next fix apparently cares more about these children than their own aunt (or mother, for that matter - what was she thinking leaving her two kids alone with her sister, who clearly can't even take care of herself).A colleague at the Free Press had an interesting take on this story. She believes the addict is a "hero". It's hard to disagree, considering the children would have likely continued to suffer if not for his help.Now, the kids are in CFS care and hopefully surrounded by a loving, nurturing environment. Let's hope they haven't suffered irreperable damage as a result of exposure to such a horrendous upbringing.And let's hope there are other people out there, just like the crack addict, who despite their own personal struggles can still recognize a child in need of help and then do something about it.God knows there are far too many kids out there who could use a Guardian Angel.www.mikeoncrime.com

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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