Pubdate: Wed, 12 Sep 2012
Source: Coquitlam Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012Lower Mainland Publishing Group, Inc.
Author: Susan Croll
Page: A7


Two horrible events deeply affected me this week, and both incidents
involved guns and killing people, in places that are or have been home
to me.

The first was the shooting of two men resulting in the death of Denis
Blanchette at the Parti Quebecois celebration at the Metropolis in
Montreal - the city where I grew up.

The second was even closer to my present home - in fact, right in my
own neighbourhood in Port Moody. If reports are accurate, a
32-year-old man was gunned down in front of his father and girlfriend
as they ate breakfast together.

What allowed these murders to occur so easily is simple: the killers
used guns to target and kill their victims. The bullets from these
guns killed these men; the perpetrators did not have to look their
victims in the eye, they did not have to touch them, watch them bleed,
cry out in pain, take their last breath, to let any moment pass
between them except for pulling the trigger and then, to flee the scene.

Would the killers have been so bold and cold-blooded if they were
required to use their bare hands? No, it was this shiny yet powerful
piece of steel that afforded them the bravado to carry out what they
did. I am not declaring that acts of murder are honourable or
excusable if weapons are not employed, but rather that having a
high-calibre weapon in your hand makes execution-style killings
efficient and sterile for the killer.

I am also weary of hearing people, including media and police, state
that victims "were known to police" as if this statement alone somehow
dismisses the seriousness of the killings and tidily puts the killed
into the category of the "deserving dead."

I realize that police use this statement in order to instill a sense
of safety and calm after a shooting, but really, here in Port Moody
after our third shooting fatality during the past months, it is
wearing rather thin.

What can we do? First and foremost, forget about gun registries - it's
time to put a moratorium on gun production and to stop the import of
weapons. Make gun and weapon production and imports illegal. Radical?

Impossible? No.

Secondly, take the drug trade away from the criminal world. Clearly,
it is not working for users, for those dealing in the trade,
especially given the rates at which they are killed, and for
communities at large, whether they be Surrey, Kelowna, Vancouver or
Port Moody.

As long as drug commerce is left in the unregulated and private
market, this level of violence will continue.

And thirdly, not a single service for people with mental-health issues
should ever be cut again.

It's when people are left to cope on their own and become socially
isolated that murderous visions of grandeur can become possible and

We don't need anymore of this false courage that comes from the barrel
of a gun. Rather, we need to advocate for gun-free communities where
criminals don't run the drug business, and those with mental-health
issues are well supported, not isolated.

Susan Croll

Port Moody
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