Another fatal shooting, another young man murdered in cold blood while neighbors and witnesses watch in horror.
It feels like this is a never ending problem, and I am curious as to how long we can keep pretending that we don’t have a gun problem in this town, and nothing seems to get done about it.
Sure every few years some enterprising young person makes a big splash in the paper, and every once in awhile a rally will be held somewhere important so that the community can cry about how important it is that we stand up to these gangsters, but still nothing changes.
Gangs are the seedy underbelly of every city, we all have them, and yet we can’t seem to find solutions to deal with them, and that’s because the problem of gang violence is systemic.
It’s not enough to say that we need programs to ensure that gangs can’t get a foothold in our community, we need to have Politicians who genuinely care about the safety of the children who live here, and right now I am just not seeing it.
One after another, nearly every school in Surrey BC has had an outbreak, and it’s purely because we went back to school too early, and at the end of the day it is the teachers and students who are suffering the most.
So what can we reasonably do to ensure the safety of our kids? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think that the RCMP is fucking useless against gangs, but after two years of the Mayor Doug McCallum fighting for the RCMP to be replaced by a Police force, I am forced to say that I finally don’t agree anymore.
For two years we’ve been promised a Police force, but even I have to admit that what the RCMP need need in this town is more funding. They need sensitivity training, for starters, they need to have the proper supports in place to deal with people who have mental health issues secondly, and thirdly they need to be out in the community far more than they are now.
Four years ago the RCMP closed down the Community Policing Program, and transferred those cops, so that the city could say they had added more police officers. Really all they did was allow these former Community Policing Officers or CPO’s to carry guns, when they weren’t able to before.
We have no more RCMP officers then we had four years ago, and for a town that is nearing on 600,000 people, just over 800 cops to service us all is not enough.
Surrey is not a town, it is a full sized city, and it needs to be treated as such. It starts with connecting with the community, it starts with knowing that when you go to a police officer, or well an RCMP officer you’re going to get the help that you need.
When I went to the RCMP and told them that NXIVUM was running out of North Delta BC before it was ever called that, I was called psychotic and put into a mental hospital. more than once. Then they put me on drugs and hoped that I would keep my mouth shut.
No such luck. I am not going to stop talking about the fact that I was gang raped for twenty-two years, because it’s uncomfortable for the cops who are supposed to be doing their job.
If the police in this town actually cared, this young man wouldn’t be dead. I can say that knowing that the RCMP would rather classify a victim as psychotic, then admit that she knows more about what is happening in this town than they do.
It’s absolutely time that we start actually doing the work to make sure that young people are not getting involved in gangs, but it starts with the community.
I swore when Doug McCallum was hired as Mayor that I would keep my mouth shut about what was happening in this town, because I knew that I wasn’t being heard anyways, but that’s not good enough for me anymore.
I live here, I have a vested interest in not dying until I am ready, and the only way that’s going to happen is if and when the RCMP steps up and starts doing preventive work to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, but I have little hope that will be our reality.
If we want to stop gang violence in this city, then it absolutely has to start with the communities deciding they are going to do the work to ensure that their children don’t get involved in gangs in the first place.
It’s not just marginalized kids getting involved in gangs anymore, it’s South Asian kids, it’s white kids, Indigenous kids, it’s kids of all cultures who feel like they don’t have a voice in the world who are getting involved in these gangs, because no one else is listening to them.
Do you know how many kids would have a completely different life, if someone told them that they could be more than just another gangster?
I can confidently say that there is no one in this town who isn’t somehow related to someone who is involved in a gang, but at what cost? How many kids grew up being told they can do whatever they want, only to turn into gangsters, because that seemed like the only option?
How many grown ass men are out there running around with guns because they don’t see a reality where they could be anything other than a gangster?
If we want change, we have to be the change.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall