Six people were killed in a gangland slaying at a Surrey highrise in October 2007. Two were uninvolved bystanders. Outraged by the deaths of two innocent men, 16 months later, Gordon Campbell announced a crack down on gangs and gun violence linked to the illegal drug trade. Promising more police, prosecutors, jails, courtrooms and lobbying of the federal government for tougher laws, Campbell also announced a new telephone tip line to help put gang members in jail. Solicitor General van dongen said the additional resources “mean we can dramatically increase our efforts to get these gangs off our streets.”
Fifteen months later, as part of government`s effort to appear tough, the BC legislature gave final reading to Bill 12 – 2010, the Gunshot and Stab Wound Disclosure Act. It requires health-care facilities to report gunshot and stab wounds to police, although it exempts self and accidentally inflicted stab wounds from reporting.
However, once the legislation was passed, it was shelved, left without royal assent.
This past weekend, in a residential neighborhood one block from the Mayor`s residence, a gang shootout left ten young people wounded. Vancouver Police gave assurances the incident was an isolated event, not targeted at the neighborhood. However, earlier the same night, in an incident not yet reported, seven victims of stabbing were left at a Vancouver area hospital after a dispute at a party. The hospital went into partial security lock-down.
Two major outbreaks of shooting and stabbing in Vancouver led BC Liberal crime fighters to shift into a higher gear. Press releases were quickly prepared for Monday morning. Rich Coleman, the new, new Solicitor General, announced the Gunshot and Stab Wound Disclosure Act would be given royal assent and made effective February 2011, more than three years after the Surrey Six Massacre moved Premier Gordon Campbell to ‘immediate’ action.
I am reminded about the best time to close a barn door.