The sight of police tape is becoming a little too familiar in Langley.
The ongoing gang wars have littered Langley, and our neighbouring communities, with bodies and burning cars.
The latest shooting near 201A Street and 56th Avenue was just a short stroll from City Hall.
We don’t know yet if it factors into some tit-for-tat attack between rival gangs, but the victim appears to be, as we are constantly told, “known to police.”
There are two main reasons why the gang wars that first flared more than a decade ago have repeatedly erupted into fresh flames.
First, our police agencies have had a great deal of difficulty coming to grips with the nature of gangland violence.
A conspiracy of silence and a steady supply of new young foot soldiers for an ever-changing cast of gangs has made it difficult to investigate.
At this point, we need to ask if our key agencies, especially IHIT and the CFSEU, have the right resources to tackle this problem. That’s a question for the politicians and senior police officers who hold the purse strings.
Second, we’ve just started to take the violence for granted.
It’s easy to overlook the plague of shootings if they don’t hit “civilians,” people outside the realm of gangs and drugs.
But the violence does ensnare innocent people. Multiple bystanders have died or been injured in the shootings. Beyond that, it’s notable that many of the younger recent shooting victims were 10- to 15-years-old when the gang wars first flared up. If we’d suppressed the gangs effectively then, they might never have become cannon fodder in the ongoing war.
Whether it’s drug decriminalization or nabbing gangsters for tax evasion, we need alternate methods of ending the gang war that just won’t stop.