Yesterday afternoon, at quarter to five, in the middle of rush hour, outside a Starbucks on the main street in my city, about one and a half miles from my building, there was a fatal shooting. Less than a month after the last fatal shooting (the one that happened across the street from my building, in the parking lot of a rec centre right after a hockey game finished) my city has been hit with another.
You guys, my city is not a murdery place. Our police department doesn't even have a homicide unit. We have to bring in the Vancouver homicide unit to investigate our murders, that's how few murders my city usually has.
They're saying both shootings are gang-related, targeted hits. Which is somewhat comforting, I guess. I mean, it's better than someone randomly shooting people on the street. But is it comforting to know that there are warring gangs settling their disputes on our streets in broad daylight? No, it is not. Are we supposed to be confident that they know how to shoot a gun with precise aim and that innocent bystanders aren't in any danger?
Look, I know that there are much scarier places than my little city. There are people living in much more dangerous places dealing with much scarier things. I get it. But I chose to live here. I have walked past that Starbucks a hundred times with Grady. The farmers market we go to is in that same rec centre parking lot. It feels like the steps I normally take to reduce my risk (step one: don't join a gang; step two: don't make anyone want to shoot my face) are no longer enough. But what can I do to protect myself in a situation like this? Don't leave my home, ever? It's tempting.