Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 2009
Source: Now, The (Surrey, CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Tom Zytaruk


"You Gotta Do Something."

That's what Newton resident Lynne Ryan had to say while waiting for 
Sunday's rally against gang violence to get underway at the Central 
City Plaza across from the Surrey Central SkyTrain station.

The rally, organized by Surrey youths Paul Hillsdon and Trevor Loke, 
drew about 600 people.

People were carrying placards with slogans like "Judges are the 
problem." Others carried signs with messages like "Prohibition funds 
organized crime."

"I think you can't help but being affected by what's going on and I 
think all of our lives have changed," Lynn Ryan said of the recent 
spate of gang violence on our streets.

"I think we're much more wary and nervous and scared about what's 
going on around us... I'm worried more about my kids and my 
grandchildren more than myself.

"I don't want them to grow up in a world like this," she said, 
braving the inclement weather. "This isn't the way it's supposed to 
be, and I'll do whatever I can to make a difference, whatever that is.

"You gotta get behind stuff, you've gotta be part of the solution 
rather than sit back and say 'too bad.'

"You gotta do something. If it just means showing up here or signing 
a petition or electing the right people, then that's what I'll do."

Her husband Mike, a truck driver, added, "I think the problem is we 
have a legal system, not a justice system."

Sarah Masters rode SkyTrain over from New Westminster to attend the 
Surrey rally.

"I've read in the paper that they arrest people and they let them go 
and I don't think they should do that because, obviously, they're 
going to probably end up shooting people again and it's not right," she said.

"It's gotta stop. Everybody's sick of it anyway."

Said Peter E. Scott, of Fleetwood, "I'm concerned about rampant crime 
on our streets.

"I'm concerned that the criminal element has taken over. Are we back 
to the days of Al Capone, where you're afraid to walk down the street 
because you might be machine-gunned by one of the opposing gangs, you know?"

Scott said he was in New York visiting his son over the Christmas 
holidays and by comparison felt completely safe, even on the subway at 3 a.m.

"I felt safer in New York, despite its bad reputation, than I did here."

Why isn't it about time we start enforcing the rules around here and 
start cleaning up the Lower Mainland? It's absolutely disgraceful."

Ilan Friedenbach, meantime, came all the way from West Vancouver to 
hoist his sign, which read: "How do we stop the violence? End drug 

"The main reason why gangs are getting powerful every day they are 
getting money from the drug dealing," Friendenbach argued. "Cocaine 
is getting so expensive that it is incredible how easy it is to gangs 
to get money."

On Monday, FACT, or Families Against Crime and Trauma, staged a 
"proposal launch" on the steps of the Legislative buildings in 
Victoria, calling for more government financial aid for victims of 
violent crimes.

"Canada's criminal justice system is unstable," said Vern Campbell, a 
retired Vancouver police superintendent. "It's not delivering safety 
and security to our communities. Justice must and will be rescued 
with innovative ideas. FACT's proposed 'True Cost of Crime' proposal 
will help bring stability to the system and justice to victims of 
violent crime."

A rally for change to the justice system will also be held at Surrey 
provincial court house at noon on March 10.

"We need tougher laws with longer sentencing," says organizer Jeanie Fraser.
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