August 2010

Educating Youth on Gangland Murders

August 2010
By Ranj Dhaliwal

Is it still shocking to see “gangland murder” on the front page of newspapers anymore? Not to many it is not. The Lower Mainland of British Columbia has seen more than its fare share of gangland murders, and the majority of these murders go unsolved.

These violent and sad events where individuals that led a life of crime have been murdered are, unfortunately, a great way to open the eyes of our youth that are considering a career as a criminal. Only to name a couple events where it was apparently an “internal cleansing” was the Surrey Six Murders in Surrey, BC and the Shedden Massacre in Ontario.

To recap: The Surrey Six was where two innocent bystanders were murdered along with four alleged drug traffickers that were once part of, or associates of, the Red Scorpions. There are five suspects that are going on trial in the murders and one has pled guilty and sentenced already. Recently, it was also uncovered that an RCMP officer is alleged to have had an affair with a potential witness in the case. The Shedden Massacre was where it was alleged that the Bandidos MC apparently had ordered an internal cleansing of the Ontario chapter of the club and eight men were murdered gangland execution style. All six suspects were found guilty of the murders. One suspect found guilty was a former police officer.

Youth, for the most part, find gangsters to be invincible and if they do die, that they will be remembered in history. The only problem with that is that the majority of those killed in gangland murders are rarely ever spoken about in the media again. Sometimes the media doesn’t even name the victims anymore. There is no longer a guarantee that even after death the victim will get their fifteen minutes of fame because their identity isn’t publicly revealed.

This criminal life is just as my novel Daaku is described as, “A story of betrayal, cold-blooded murder and the rise and eventual fall of one gangster, Daaku is a bullet-riddled grand tour of …” Now, a former Red Scorpions gang member and convicted murderer turned informant is quoted in the Vancouver Sun newspaper as saying, “I chose to become a ‘rat’ when it was abundantly clear that the game was fake and everybody in it were frauds, no real honour, no real friendship, nothing to ever be proud of.”

We need to educate our youth on the downfalls of this violent lifestyle and at the same time show them options they may not have thought about in regards to a good stable career. Our educators are doing the best they can in getting youth to think about their futures, but there are always unseen obstacles and undesirables lurking in the background. It is all too often that students know someone through family or friends that is part of this lucrative, but dangerous lifestyle that sucks them in. It is all of our responsibility to volunteer our time and make a difference in our youth’s lives. It doesn’t take much, but a little bit of your time to encourage the youth of today, so they may stay out of the gang life and then go on to helping other youth.

I am a very strong advocate of positive peer pressure. Not only us adults need to get involved in helping our youth, the youth need to help each other stay on track as well. This message is to the youth: If you see a fellow student or youth about to, or is getting involved in the criminal or violent lifestyle, do your part and help this individual get back on the right path. You, as the new generation, understand each other much better than the old generation does. You understand each other’s problems, so we need your help in understanding the problems of today’s youth. Only you can teach us how to assist you.

Parents need to take an active role in their kids’ life as well. I think this is the first step in keeping youth away from the criminal lifestyle. If you haven’t already, please refer to my May 2008 column entitled “What can I do to keep my child out of a gang?”

Until next time …