I just saw my first scalped person.

Trigger warning: Not a story for the faint of heart.

Walking home through the DTES just now, hundreds of people high, or drunk, passed out, or racing to their next fix. This is all in a 4 block radius, 24 hours a day now. I noticed 3 firefighters talking someone through to standing up, I’m not sure if he was an overdose, or unconscious before I arrived, a standard occurrence, but as I approached he was yelling and swearing that he refused service, and started to walk, or rather stumble, away from them.

In B.C, if you’re conscious, not threatening harm to yourself or others, you can refuse medical treatment, and so the three firefighters stood there in amazement as he left and I didn’t know why.

But as I walked behind him, I quickly realized why they stood silently, watching him leave. He was freshly scalped. Imagine if you will, someone with long hair, except a reverse mohawk. The notable difference is that the top of his head wasn’t bald with skin as you might expect, it was blood and skull that was visible. I’m not sure if someone literally ripped the top of his head off moments before, or how it might have occurred, but I do know that someone needs to start doing something.

Vancouver’s DTES is in a crisis, and very little is being done, other than choosing to let the crisis persist.