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Welcome to Surrey, BC

Another death in Surrey today. Another fear that all out war is on the way.

I woke and missed an appointment that I very much wanted to attend for personal reasons, and then as often as possible, I wrote some new love letters to hand out in a few weeks.

Today is the day that I woke to find another person I have never met is dead. A man who had a family, a wife and probably some children. Another day that Death has made his prescence known. Or hers.

I have no words of wisdom, I have only ever lived in a world that reminds me every day of my life, death is near. People die every day, sometimes by the hundreds. Every day thousands of people are touched by death and all I can think is “what makes me so special?”

During this last weekends Pride event I got to meet Jagmeet Singh, and while he might never remember meeting me, (he was so busy I didn’t even get to introduce myself) it was a moment for me, that in a million years I never saw coming.

Several years ago I went through something that by now should have given me at least a massive drinking or drug addiction. After what I went through noone would blame me if I tried to kill myself and yet here I am.

Yesterday, the President of the United States of America, said that mental health and video games were to blame for the recent shootings in El Passo and Daton. The argument that mental health is to blame for white men picking up guns and murdering people of color is a fascinating pile of horse shit.

As excited as I was to meet Mr. Singh, I was terrified at Pride, all the way to Vancouver the words “it won’t happen here” resonated through my head, and stayed with me until this morning when I learned that Nathan James De Jong and Junior Power Hooker picked up weapons, drove to a place and murdered a man of color here in my country.

Now, to be perfectly honest, the man they killed was allegedly a member of the now infamous Hardside chapter, so the prevailing thought stream is a) they chose a violent life and b) the victim chose that life so its targeted the rest of us do not have to worry.

That he was or might have been “affiliated” should not matter, the fact is that we have a gun problem in British Columbia. We have a problem with women being abused, children being neglected and men being gunned down in the streets, and it really will not take long for the violence affecting people of …..oh wait. I almost forgot, twice now armed men in Canada have gone into crowded locations and tried to murder as many people of color as they could. Once in the House of Parliament and a second time at a Mosques.

How much longer are we going to forget that people in Surrey are carrying guns in their hands and racism in their hearts while promising ourselves that violence only affects us if we are involved in gang life? How many more innocent lives could have been lost in this latest shooting? What if a child had been killed, would you be angry then? Would the life of Suminder Grewal have mattered more if his name was Mathew O’Connor? It is easy to chalk this up to gang culture, but how long until it is a Pride event, or a wedding? It has happened before, it can in fact happen here, and yes Mr. President, it is actually home grown terrorism.

The truth is that in the City of Surrey, we have gotton truly lazy about protecting our neighborhoods from this violence, because it cannot happen here…..except it did and an innocent man was killed. I say innocent, because last time I checked getting a coffee is not a crime that deserves death.

When as a city, are we going to decide that the problem is not gang affiliations, but young men with anger in their hearts and guns in their hands? Noone deserves to be hunted and gunned down in the streets, every life deserves better than that.

Rest in Peace Sir, may your next journey be long and beautiful,

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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