So let it be written…
When it comes to these shootings on our city’s streets, Surrey residents can be forgiven for feeling like Bill Murray in that movie Groundhog Day.
In the film, Murray’s weatherman character enters some kind of twilight zone loop that has him reliving the same day, with the same events, over and over, and over again.
The shooting early Saturday evening in Clayton, where a man was gunned down at a gas station in the 18600-block of Fraser Highway, is of course shocking.
What’s happening in its wake, however, is quite predictable.
First, media outlets break the news about a “brazen” shooting. Is there any other kind?
Then, we learn from police that the victim is “known to police.” Typically, police also make some kind of declaration that the public isn’t in danger as these kinds of shootings are “targeted.” But the laws of physics, reality of bullets flying everywhere, and presence of innocent people in the vicinity at the time, strongly suggests otherwise.
After the headlines, and police’ remarks, we hear from the politicians. The mayor of the day says the latest shooting is outrageous, unacceptable, etc. Someone from a higher level of government, typically the solicitor general, chimes in.
Hot on the heels of a fatal street shooting last October, in the final stretch of the civic election campaign, a 30-year-old man was gunned down in Newton, police connected it to “gang conflict,” and mayoral candidates Doug McCallum and Tom Gill pumped out press releases arguing, respectively, for a new force to replace the RCMP, and for a ban on handguns. Both were accused of politicizing a tragedy.
Hot on the heels of a fatal street shooting last November – in which a 22-year-old man was gunned down in Newton, police connected the shooting to gang violence and McCallum jumped on the occasion to buttress his argument that the city needs to ditch the RCMP, saying “This latest incident of deadly gun violence further emphasizes the need for the City of Surrey to have its own police force.”
This rankled RCMP brass, and they let it be known. McCallum, again, was accused of politicizing a tragedy.
Then, this Monday, a statement from McCallum released not quite two days after this latest shooting, declares that “now, more than ever,” Surrey needs to “work as quickly as possible to get SPD officers out on the streets.” The unstated, but nevertheless crystal clear message from McCallum, is that the RCMP is dropping the ball. In response, Surrey Councillor Jack Hundial, a retired Mountie, accuses the mayor of politicizing the tragedy.
Back to that loop. In Groundhog Day, Murray’s character falls in love, adjusts his attitude and somehow escapes the loop he’s in, which always began with him waking up to “I Got You Babe” on his radio alarm clock. But that’s Hollywood, which is unlikely to come to the rescue here.
Before Saturday’s shooting, the Liberal campaign machine announced a re-elected Trudeau government would ban semi-auto guns and empower cities to do the same with handguns.
Does anybody really believe this would deter gangsters from doing crimes, particularly shooting other people? Someone prepared to risk drawing down a life sentence for murder likely has little fear of a gun ban, in any form.
But here’s one possible solution all levels of government might consider, that just might help. Perhaps, if government all pulled their hands out of our pockets, even just a little bit, maybe parents wouldn’t have to work like madmen and madwomen just to keep their family’s heads above the water.
Maybe, if they weren’t working so darned hard to feed those taxation furnaces in Ottawa and Victoria, and paying more and more for everything else every new week, perhaps they might actually have some spare time to spend on their children.
You know, actually get to know them and their associates, before they end up in a gang, or on either side of a gun.
So let it be done.