The escalating gang and gun violence in the Lower Mainland is something that can’t be ignored. Last week, from twenty nine incidents of gun shootings to thirty two in a span of two days, Surrey RCMP were on their feet scouring the neighbourhoods for evidence of the culprits who managed to escape. And while Surrey is in the limelight because of the growing populations in the suburban city, the police say it is happening all over the Lower Mainland. More and more gangs are getting braver and braver as laws are no longer respected, and gangs are attracting more young people to join them.
Well, who wouldn’t be brave? Gangs and gang members have been identified, but since the 2009 gang violence in Vancouver, there have been no serious arrests of drug traffickers, or gang leaders and members. Pushers are freely roaming the streets and schools, peddling their wares to young people, and recruiting them as well, promising them a financially lucrative “careers”, with little or no chance of arrest, just a simple slap on the wrist.
Gun ownership is also wishy-washy. In order to have a permit to buy a gun, all you need to do is to go to a Canadian Firearms Safety Course for a day, just like the St. John Ambulance Babysitting course for Grade 7 students, take the test at the end of the day, mail in your application, wait a week and voila! You can now go on a shopping spree for a gun! No psychological tests, and no checking if you are actually a member of an existing gang.
The Liberal government’s push to legalize marijuana in Canada is not helping either. While a number of organizations are trying to stop the spread of drugs in schools and in public places, the Trudeau government is fulfilling a harebrained campaign promise. While the drug-using populace sings praise to the move, communities, especially those with young families, are left without a voice on the issue.
Thirty two incidents of gun shooting in the first quarter of the year in one city is alarming. MP Diane Watts called for an amnesty for the return of unwanted and unregistered and illegally-acquired firearms in Surrey in the wake of the shootings. So far, 100 guns have been turned in. Where the other thousands are, no one will ever know until one of them kills an innocent person in a otherwise peaceful Surrey neighbourhood.