“I found my son with a gun, he didn’t hurt anybody, it’s not a big deal, I’ll throw out the gun, it’s not a big deal…it’s going to bring shame to our family.”
That’s Surrey filmmaker and anti-gang activist Mani Amar on the conditions he says have let violence take root.
Amar says despite the issue taking centre stage at recent community forums, families aren’t stepping up.
“If these parents are not willing to say you know what, my kid is going down a very dark and dangerous path, and I need help….if parents are not willing to say this, how can you expect your kids to be like, “you know what? My friends are going through a dark and dangerous path,” or “I’m going through a dark and dangerous path.””
He recently organized a candlelight vigil to raise the issue, and says another one is on the way.
But he says he worries the gun violence focuses all of the attention on policing — and away from stopping the next generation of gangsters.
“There’s always going to be a need for intervention and enforcement for the people that are already making the mistakes. But what about the recruitment pool of the young men that are growing up coming up that are going to make these bad choices?”
Amar says focusing on police can produce results in the short term. But he says without equal or bigger investment in prevention — the violence will be back on the street in a matter of years.
Amar also says families know who is responsible, but until they’re willing to admit it, events like this past weekend’s shootings won’t stop.
In the meantime, a former Surrey mayoral candidate broke her silence on the recent run of gang violence.
“What do we do with these people who have no respect for the law, who are causing parents like me to be concerned at 10 o’clock at night when you hear these sirens go by? It’s not about laying blame, it’s not about partisanship in terms of who’s right or who’s wrong, but I think we have to talk about deterring crime at two levels. One is preventative, and one is how do we really deal with prolific offenders?”
Barinder Rasode spoke with Liza Yuzda Sunday on CKNW’s Sean Leslie Show.
During her campaign last year, Rasode actively campaigned for community-based policing, an idea which she still maintains would be effective today.
“It allows for more flexibility, more boots and eyes in community, on the ground, one on one, and you know all of those things. I don’t think that there’s anybody who either lives in Surrey or even outside of Surrey who is taking this lightly. This is very serious.”
Rasode believes finding ways to keep prolific offenders off the street is something else which should be discussed.