A 15-year-old boy, an innocent bystander, is dead in the latest in a series of gang shootings that have put entire cities on edge — and left police looking ineffective, always a step behind.
This isn’t a headline from Chicago, Sao Paulo or Johannesburg. This is Metro Vancouver.
That 15-year-old boy was from Coquitlam.
He was travelling in the relative safety of his parents’ car on Saturday night, as his family made its way down Broadway Avenue, one of Vancouver’s busiest streets.
They were on their way home when shots rang out near Ontario Street.
A family friend says the boy was hit in his heart, ribs, lungs and kidneys, and spent the last 48 hours of his short life hooked up to machines in the hospital.
WATCH: Teen bystander not expected to survive shooting
A 23-year-old drug trafficker who exchanged gunfire with an unknown gunman is dead as well.
The dead man had a record for trafficking and a lifetime firearms ban. Evidently he paid no attention it.
Everyone from B.C. Premier John Horgan to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to Police Chief Adam Palmer expressed sadness, shock and grief.
The chief described the shootings as reckless and reprehensible, and has vowed to do whatever it takes to seek justice for the grieving Coquitlam family’s son.
All three called the tragedy unacceptable. Yet, apparently, it is.
WATCH: Charges stayed against notorious gangster Jamie Bacon
Some argue that as long as the drug dealers are shooting each other, who cares? They’re taking care of the problem.
Explain that to the family of this 15-year-old boy, or to the mother of Chris Mohan or the family of Ed Schllenberg who were innocent victims of the “Surrey Six” killings.
Or the 64-year-old woman who was hit by a bullet as she was driving through the Newton area of Surrey last July.
How is justice served by the Crown staying all charges against Jamie Bacon in the Surrey Six case? How can we be sure our legal and police system won’t screw up this investigation as badly as they did the Bacon case?
The people who have the power to make justice happen are always full of words and comforting phrases meant to soothe and placate the public. But when are those same officials going to take the actions necessary to turn those words into tangible reality?
The public and innocent bystanders demand it.