Gangs,violence,media,the Olympics and new leadership.Vancouver waits for new direction??

It looks like the Vancouver (Metro)police have taken to the media in their fight against the gang war resulting from drug war policies.The deaths from gang violence have resumed in full if they ever subsided at all.Deaths may have shifted from all gun violence to a 50/50 of gun knife killings but there are reports of killings on a regular basis.Burned bodies in burned out cars,girlfriends killed in the home days later.These guys play rough.The campaign in my neighborhood (south slope) has resulted in several arrests but the cops always make it sound like these are homicide arrests when as far as I read,not a single homicide case has resulted from their work.The highest profile killing,the surrey murders resulted in arrests as one of the key players plead out and awaits sentence while the rest sit in prison probably trying to get at their former associate.This was an ugly and botched killing where three gang victims were killed along with two innocent bystanders.The police definitely got the medias assistance in downplaying the gang violence for a time as the daily deaths must have seemed to be self promoting but even with the increased police numbers,the gang task force and the bar watch system(bars are co operating in excluding gang members and eliminating guns from clubs and bars).Of course the police have never suggested an end to the drug war or even supported any of the efforts in the city to create heroin maintenance programs.The new police chief has a more hard line approach than his predecessor and the new mayor doesn't seem like a proponent of harm reduction measures like every Vancouver mayor going back years.In fact mayor Gregor Robertson,a left leaning former NDP member of the provincial legislature is impossible to nail down when it comes to harm reduction or drug policy in general.He supports the needle exchange but that's about all I can say about his leanings on drug reform.The media seems to have found the murder rate just too good to ignore for any longer and are once again reporting live from crime scenes and alluding to "targeted killings",the new code words for gang hits.One still has to look to the printed press for the full scope of the carnage as the TV coverage seems to be limited to the really graphic killings or stuff they can get the cameras to before deadline.The gang war has also created media darlings,some police spokes persons and others real academics presenting academia's outside look at something few people understand.There are also those with degrees that sell themselves to the police for a fee.These are the ones that always support the current police position and state whatever they are told.I certainly hope this is their reason as they are always wrong as to what is going on and what will come next.I imagine their goal is to calm the public when the police are in the dark and have no idea what to expect.Recent crime statistics show that we are in a 5 year downswing in all crimes with the exception of gangland violence.If a person just followed the media they would think it was just the opposite.People asked to respond to local polls think we are engulfed in the worst crime wave in decades.This goes to show the job the media is doing in reporting the news.It doesn't help that the Olympics arrive here in 140 days and we have the downtown east side drug theatre in plain view and the local major media responsible for broadcasting the games.This has caused some really creative policing policies that our current mayor has stopped temporarily.He is an advocate for the homeless.It's just impossible to ascertain whether or not he realises that the homeless numbers are to a large degree peopled by addicts and drug users.There is also the battle going on between those that are members of the longstanding treatment community and those that support harm reduction and drug reform.For some reason((perhaps the fact that a large % of their court awarded clients are marijuana smokers)these people have an open and vocal hatred of drug reformers.It remains to be seen who has the mayors ear and whether or not he is willing to listen.The media in Vancouver has always treated drug reform as a cute story or sometimes as a space filler on a slow day.Anyone that has been used by the media and tried to further move the story finds out really fast that you're the last thing they want as a long term story.I have been contacted on many occasions to appear on various local media and have never been given the tiniest bit of preparation or even an idea of what the direction or point of the story will be.Once they have finished with the story they're doing you are yesterdays news.As a reformer you have to take the openings when they come and just hope you come across as a sane and sensible person.Until the Olympics are over and gone there will be precious little that local media will be doing with stories of gang violence vis a vie drug supplies and in exposing our homeless problem and the DTES drug market.There is a lot of fear among the addicts and the homeless that some kind of purge will occur before the crowds arrive for the Olympics.Perhaps the downturn in the economy,especially in the rest of the world,will prevent any really outrageous incidents from occurring.We can only hold our breath and wait.
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I saw on the local news in WA

that the practice of forbidding entrance into Canada those who have had DUIs and other convictions may pose a problem for the Olympic games in Vancouver. Seems even if the conviction is very old with no recent offenses, visitors are still being turned away. Way to limit attendance at the games, Canada. Is every government stupid or what?

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

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