There is a quiet,angry sadness growing over Surrey this morning and the silence speaks volumes as a family grieves and a community is left reeling.
The young man murdered early Sunday was the nephew of MLA Harry Bains. And while death on the street is not new to a city that has been home to many infamous examples of how it ends for those connected to gangs and drugs,it’s hit home hard for many today that this can and does happen in anyone’s family because of the connection.
I felt sick when I first heard Sunday evening before media had confirmed it.Local residents already knew. Harry and I had just spoken via twitter early yesterday morning as I reached out asking for his help in setting up a meeting between all three levels of government and the community that was agreed to, but never arranged by the city.
He agreed,saying he will keep trying because the issue was too important to give up. And sadly now for Harry, it’s become a personal issue as well. My thoughts are with him this morning ,and his family as they go through the very difficult and public process of having this played out in the press as well.
RCMP have stated Arun Bains had associations with those involved in the current disputes going on in Surrey and Delta, and are asking for anyone who knows something, for the families of these men, to speak up.The family will undoubtedly be going through much reflection as they grieve. But I fear that this will not end here. I hope the families of the young men involved think hard about this murder,and that it could be their son next.
During the 2008/2009 gang wars, I lived in the heart of Newton and it was an experience much like one many Surrey residents have been dealing with in the last 6 weeks. Having lived in Steveston for some time, it was an education to say the least.
It’s one thing to hear about gun violence in the news like many do- it’s horrifying enough to read or see – but it’s another thing entirely when you’ve seen the blood on the sidewalk that was spilled as a direct result of one persons attempt to kill another.I won’t forget it,nor will any other person who’s seen it either. And it does change you – it’s not like the blood involved in childbirth, or injuries from non violent means. Seeing the blood from gun violence was different because there was intent behind it.
It was a miracle then that no one innocent was caught in the crossfire and it’s equally a miracle now,considering the number of times occupants in vehicles have been shooting at each other in traffic in family neighbourhoods during the day and early evening. During the 08-09 gang wars, bullets found their way into innocent families homes, lodged in bedroom walls. They were found in the side of school. They hit cars on the street.
But people forget.
Largely not commented on is the fact that RCMP state only 11 of the 20-something shootings between vehicles and into homes are connected to an alleged drug turf war between Somali and South Asian drug traffickers. What about all the other incidents? Are those just regular run of the mill targeted shootings connected to other kinds of disputes or crimes? Does this make anyone feel better? No.
While I applaud the RCMP’s decision to release the photos of the young men involved that are not cooperating with police, I don’t applaud the complete disagreement RCMP media reps have taken in the media when it comes to gun violence and ‘targeted’ hits.
Today IHIT rep Sgt. Stephanie Ashton issued this statement:
“This is not magic, we can’t solve crime unless the public works with us to do so. Someone out there knows something about what happened, those people need to come forward and tell us what they know.”
This is where I must refer to two things.
1) a post written in 2013 where I call out Chief Supt. Bill Fordy for his public relations driven position in the media: https://lailayuile.com/2013/04/25/but-i-thought-we-are-all-safe-chief-supt-bill-fordy/
2) The public hesitates to come forward because they worry about things like this- a comment made when I urged anyone with info – including families- to share info with the police:
Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith has come to the conclusion that if ” progressives put more effort into discussing solutions, it could change the tenor of the conversation and yield some positive results.”
Progressives have been talking about solutions for years, often to no avail.
There have been several community forums hosted by residents, and even a series of Town Hall meetings hosted by the city where excellent suggestions were brought forth by residents and community leaders. Some have been implemented,many were not.
Ironically some community associations who have brought forth progressive ideas born from knowledge of their own communities needs, were ignored or negated by the city, who have said publicly it is a perception of crime, not reality.
It brings us back to the meeting called for by Darlene Bowyer at the last Newton forum hosted by residents, one that would bring every level of government together at the table to deal with all these issues. The city was to arranged it,some emails went back and forth and the meeting never happened. These politicians have their heads in the sand.
And here we are again. It’s time for every politician in this city, at every level, to put aside the politics and come to the table with the community. Every single MLA from both sides of the legislature. It’s time to discuss funding. It’s time to discuss accountability in policing. It’s time to deal with all of it.
And that’s where you come in.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone, whether you live in an area impacted by this gun violence or not, to step up here.
This violence knows no boundaries and bullets don’t care. If you have kids in school here, this is your problem.If you have neighbours who call dial-a dope dealers, this is your problem. If you care about a liveable community, this is your problem.
Please attend Tuesday nights meeting being held by the city in conjunction with the RCMP, Surrey schools and other agencies at Tamanawis Secondary school at 12600-66 Avenue, in Newton. You need to be part of the solution.