Go Back to Sleep Vancouver
By Kevin R Burns
Since I wrote this, they have announced an anti-gang task force comprised of more police and
over 100 citizens. So it is a step, however small in the right direction. What I object to is the apathy of Vancouver residents:
"It is the gang members killing each other." This is one of their common quotes.
Vancouver is the new Chicago - it is Al Capone time again, and it should be stopped and you
can stop it if you choose. Or not if you don`t. But it is in your power. Unfortunately,
one day it may be your son, daughter, or mother who is caught in the crossfire or mistaken for
a gang member, or a gang member`s girlfriend. I can`t count how many times people have
mistaken me for someone else. And mistakes have been made quite a few times if you
have read The Vancouver Sun the past year or two.
It was just another shooting in the neighbourhood. I wonder if that onion really can beat Stephen Harper on Facebook? What if that pickle really is more popular than Nickelback? That would be funny eh?
Did you see the Canucks game? The Sedins were great!
Go back to sleep Vancouver, while your great city rots at the core. Ignore the Al Capone-like problems and be happy in knowing that your neighbourhood at least, has few if any shootings.
"It doesn't happen around here you say, we are rarely affected."
"It is the gang members that get shot." Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it is your innocent friend, or mother. Sometimes you buddy at work is mistaken for a Bacon brother or some other undesirable, and is taken out by a hitman. I can`t tell you how often I have been told I look so much like so and so. Who do you look like?
Ooops! Another innocent victim blown away in Surrey.
I lived in Vancouver until 1989 and I have gone back almost every year since then, and sometimes three times a year. I am blown away (even if you aren't) by the changes. And I am not talking about a revitalized downtown, the Olympics or the state of the Canucks, which are all good.
I am talking about the drug wars that really are not only decimating your city (even if you won`t believe that), but are decimating your reputation as a safe place to travel to and a great place to do business.
Vancouver if you don`t do something to stem the drug problems, you may find that tourists choose Calgary for tours, study and business.
When I left, Abbottsford was a quiet farming area. Now it is a hotbed (it would seem) of criminal activity.
Check out Wikipedia if you have the stomach to see the long list of murders just from 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Vancouver_gang_war#Progress_.26_escalation
Martin Luther King and others have shown us what a small group of people can accomplish. Now is your time Vancouverites. It really is your time to take back your city. Enough is Enough! These drug wars have got to stop! This shouldn't be tolerated. Shootings on Oak Street should not be glossed over, no matter what time of day or night. It just should not happen.
The politicians will listen. They want to be re-elected, but you have got to show them with your letters, your protests, your comments on the street, that this has got to stop. You can do this. And it is important to your community and your children. Because in Abbottsford, they always thought their community would be a quiet, safe, farming community. If it can happen to them it can happen to your quiet, safe community.
Kevin Burns, formerly from Vancouver, has lived in Japan for over 20 years and owns a small chain of English schools in Japan, and teaches English at a Japanese university. He owns "How to Teach English in Japan,"
a website all about teaching in this very exotic and interesting part of the world. Teach English in Japan
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