Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I read the news today Oh boy.......

Does it worry anyone else out there, that you or someone you love, may not make it home tonight?

Over the last month in Vancouver, there have been 6 deaths by gunfire. Some of those incidents involved people who were targeted in gang related hits, while others were innocent victims, either caught in the cross fire, or mis-identified as a gang member. No where seems to be safe, nothing is sacred. You could be sitting at a stop light, parked at a shopping mall, or driving along the street, and be caught in a hail of gunfire. That is our reality today. I used to think that as long as I stayed away from shady people, this sort of thing would never touch my life, clearly, this is no longer the case.

Yesterday, a Mother was driving down the street with her 4 year old in the car, and was fatally shot as she drove down the street.

Did you really read that people? She was fatally shot in front of her son.

Excuse me, I have to breathe for a second................

I could talk about bad parenting all day long and blame it for the gang problem in this city, but it's too late for that really. The problem is here, now, and we can't ignore it. Part of the bigger picture involves our lame-pansy-ass justice system that we operate under. So what if they throw officers at the problem? Even if these hoodlums get caught for a crime, they barely do any time. Do something bad in this city, and the slap is so weak, you may as well have been given a nice little vacation with 3 squares thrown in.

By comparison, I think back to when I used to live in the Middle East. I felt safer there, oddly enough. I could leave my purse on a park bench overnight, and it would still be there in the morning. If you get caught stealing there, you could lose your hand. Its darn good motivation to walk the straight line if you ask me. I really don't know exactly what we do to punish criminals in this city, but clearly its not enough.

And while I am discussing this, lets talk a little about why the gangs are operating in the first place OK? Forgive me because I really don't follow these things very closely usually, but I gather they make their money largely off of drugs, correct?

Here is what I don't understand about all this gang nonsense, why they are allowed to operate at all?

I know they weren't given 'permission' to operate, but they are basically left alone and allowed to operate (in my opinion), because the Govt. is inexplicably acting like the trading of drugs is not a business that is actually going on. Even though we all know it is. These gangs have no competition, no overhead and no responsibility to the government, so the profits are huge, and they monopolize the market. No wonder its become a matter of life and death.

And the Gov't lets these hoodlums have this monopoly. Too afraid of letting us take responsibility for ourselves. So instead of digging into the pockets of the drug lords and requiring them pay taxes for their business like the rest of us, the Govt. throws money and resources (police and justice system) at a losing battle.

What a waste, when there is clearly bountiful money resource right there. Legalization would devalue the very product that the gangs are in business selling. Making their product less lucrative, would make it less life threatening. I would just love to see what would happen if the Govt. would just choke the crooks cash flow by legalizing their Enterprise and requiring them to comply with licenses, paperwork and tax forms.

Did anyone notice that no one is shooting anyone over vodka or smokes?

Bleeding hearts try to make it so difficult for the Gov't to legalize drugs, yet people can legally choose to kill themselves with cigarettes and alcohol, and that makes a pile of money for our govt. Why don't all those people who don't want anyone to have any responsibility for themselves, GET that?

People are going to do what they want to do, no matter how the Govt restricts them or tries to take our personal responsibilities away. If they suddenly make crack legal, it wont make it attractive to me. I am not going to be wandering down to pharmacy to pick some up for a Friday night. The dollars earned in collected taxes could go to education, as well as helping with the treatment and recovery of the relatively few who do encounter problems. Quite frankly, I think we NEED to take responsibility for ourselves.

I do have compassion for people who are struggling with addiction, but quite honestly, I would rather let a drug addict kill himself with drugs he can legally buy at the pharmacy, than have a gang member kill me,......... or someone in my family.



C.S. Perry said...


Anonymous said...

I don't live in vancouver,
but I totally understand everything
you've pointed out and agree 100%.
Especially how law enforcement doesn't
do more about gangs and drugs.

bryn said...

amen sister.
the 'elephant in the room' that the government has been trying to ignore for years has started to stamp his feet...
it's like they've tried to sweep this problem under the rug- ignore it and it'll go away. or make a show of throwing resources at it (because it's the 'right' thing to do.. bullshit). they need to reframe their thinking. it's not condoning drug use to legalize it- it's putting some control on an otherwise uncontrollable problem. it's called 'harm reduction'.

that story about the mom being killed is so horrific... there are no words really to describe how awful that is.

great post.

bernthis said...

in L.A. we have a huge problem here and now in my 'nice " neighborhood as well. Push in robberies in the middle of the day. Moms tied up. Nice huh?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachael!

Terrible about that mom getting killed in front of her son. Awful!

I am lucky here in Idaho, there isn't much of a problem with gangs yet...I'm sure it will filter in slowly. I'm thankful for every day.

(I went private with my blog. If you would like an invite just e-mail me and I'll send one along.
Thanks Dear - I'd love to have you!)

Light and Fluffy said...

I love your post, the one thing that I think everyone ignores or doesn't consider is that really, jails are not the answer;. Not in their current state anyways.
All they are is basicly a holding tank, one that breeds and incubates gang and criminal affiliations.
Honestly, not much attention is paid to it, but in order for jails to keep us safe in any sort of meaningful way, there needs to be at least an opportunity for those who want to (and believe it or not, a lot do) to be able to be rehabilitated from the lifestyle.
A person can go to jail (and contrary to media sensationalism, people DO go to jail, hence the massive overcrowding) with virtually zero criminal friends and come out doing things they never would have otherwise.
My point is basicly that jail may seem like the solution, but realistically it is only creating more problems in the long run and not so distant future.


Very true I heard about this incident in NPR. also during the broadcast they talked about a program with the DA, that worked directly with the community basically the DA, police and the regular citizens build a personal relationship with each other on a regular basis thus making it easier to report crimes, etc. Based on that interview they had successfully locked up some people. There is no easy solution to these social problems. bummer huh. Anyhow hopefully i shed some light into this. It is rather unfortunate that gangs are an epidemic and have gone far beyond borders that a government can control.

-anyhow ran into your blog via a houdini blog. :)

Memoirgirl said...

First, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. Really appreciate it.

Second, I am wondering how a "bleeding heart" makes it harder to legalize marijuana. In America, the most progressive people want to legalize marijuana, or at least that is my perception. My husband if very much for the concept of legalization (although is not a user) and I am on the fence. I agree in theory but with all of the drunk driving out there killing also innocent people (like my girlfriend and her two children), I am not sure I want people high behind the wheel.

Thought-provoking post. Nicely done.

rachael said...

Thanks all, nice discussion and thoughtful comments, I appreciate them all!

Memoir. NO problem, I liked your blog and I will visit again! :) In my experience, its usually people who are overworried about the legalization of controversial things who put up the protests and roadblocks that muck up the process and prevent anything from getting done. Its misguided in my opinion, because it wont stop anything.

People are already high on the roads, today, right now. Today, anyone who wants drugs, is going to get them, they are not hard to find. Except that today, in order to find drugs you have to deal with criminals.

All the energy those people put into protesting could be more effectively used if they were lobbying for use of the taxes collected, to be designated for education and rehab, etc......

Here is another way to look at this, think of the seedy old abortion shop of yesterday, found in a back alley somewhere downtown, where terrified young girls were forced to go to terminate thier pregnancies because abortions were illegal and there was nowhere else to go. Right or wrong is not the issue at hand, girls were going to get it done anyways, even if it meant having the baby removed with a dirty coat hanger.......right or wrong, it made so much more sense to legalize it an provide a safe place for them to do what they were goign to do. People who disagree are still welcome to offer help and programs to teach girls that they don't have to abort, but at least those who do, have a place to do it.

I do agree we don't need any high people on the roads, but they are there already, drivng right beside you, today, this is nothing new.

What is new to this city, is the fact that you can be driving down the street with your child in the back seat, and you could get shot, and that is directly related to the lucrative nature of the drug business. If it was less lucrative, then there would be no reason to have public shoot-outs over it......

I agree with what my pal Bryn said:

"it's not condoning drug use to legalize it/or de-criminalize it- it's putting some control on an otherwise uncontrollable problem. it's called 'harm reduction'."

Raul (hummingbird604) said...

Yeah, I can compltely relate. Awesome post, Rachael!

Steve said...

It makes so much sense to legalize drugs I'm amazed the UK and US Governments don't do it - moral, safety and economic sense. I mean what would be the downside? As you say, they're happy to push beer and fags onto us and tax them to the hilt to get their cut. As for the crime on the street - I can't pretend things are anywhere near as bad where I live but we do have our moments. Zero tolerance is the only answer - that and hefty sentences plus of course carrots to go with the sticks - better education, more opportunities for young people to get involved in positive life affirming pasttimes. Hell, I should get into politics. It's easy. Just a bit of commonsense and an ability to resist corruption and the lure of too much power...

Mama Dawg said...

Hear, hear!

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobbie Leigh said...

I understand exactly what you're saying. One of my close friends in highschool was murdered for his coat. It boggles my mind to this day.

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