column was published in the North
Shore News on
Aug. 27, 2003)
Weapons search a must when clubbing
By Leo Knight
Since last week's column, the Vancouver police have released the name of one of the victims of the Loft Six massacre as Mahmoud Alkhalil, a 19 year old from Vancouver.
His mother said he was a good boy.
His older brother, Khalil Alkhalil, died in a hail of bullets in Surrey in January of 2001. I'm sure he was a good boy too. Right up until his gangster enemies decided it was time he shuffled off this mortal coil.
As a side note, it was Alkhalil's family and friends who allegedly attacked lawyer Phil Rankin outside a New Westminster court a month after that shooting.
Rankin was defending Michael Naud who was accused of the second degree murder of Khalil.
Rankin and I have never been friends. In fact, we are typically on the opposite side of most issues. But, no matter what I may think of the job he does, he does have a job to do and he should never be subjected to threats and intimidation as he tries to provide his clients with a competent defence.
I'm sure the family and friends who went after Rankin were all good boys too.
And so were all the other 65 or 70 good boys killed over the past few years in the so-called Indo gang war on the streets of Vancouver.
What's happened to the Vancouver area? When yet another drive-by shooting barely draws a yawn or another young man lies dead in a river of blood on the sidewalk, we barely take notice.
And that might have been the case here had not one of the dead and two of the wounded caught in the fusillade of bullets been innocent bystanders.
It was, after all, the death of an 11-year-old boy in Montreal's biker wars that finally managed to get the murder and mayhem on the radar screen of the federal government and ultimately resulted in the moderately effective anti-gang legislation.
Last week, following the Loft Six massacre in Vancouver, police, government groups, club owners and an assortment of community groups met and talked and met and talked, all trying to figure out some way of protecting the innocent from the ravages of the gangsters.
The 4 a.m. openings were a major subject of discussion at these meetings as if this horrible act of violence wouldn't have happened if bars still closed at 2 a.m.
The subject of metal detectors was also raised.
Loft Six door staff were supposedly using metal detectors.
Although, according to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), it seems not all patrons were subject to search.
VPD spokeswoman Const Sarah Bloor said last week, "Basically, our information is that some people do not have to go through metal detectors."
Either the security people were too intimidated to search the gangsters or they were let in with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge, by a club trying to encourage the bad guys.
And why might that be, pray tell?
Your imagination is as good as mine, but one can probably assume dope and dough were somehow involved.
From the halcyon days of the Cotton Club in Harlem, night clubs and gangsters have gone hand in hand.
Be it the North Burnaby Inn catering to the Hells Angels or the Tantra at Lonsdale Quay playing host to the Iranian gangsters, wherever the hot, trendy action is, the gangsters will follow.
Such problems are no different in North Vancouver than they are in Manhattan or East LA.
While the gangsters cannot be stopped from going to clubs, the onus must surely be on the clubs to stop them from coming in with weapons.
Many clubs are now using metal detectors to ensure knives and guns are not brought in.
This should become mandatory at all nightclubs. After all, there was a time when we used to be concerned about patrons bringing in a flask to BC Lions or Vancouver Canucks games. Now, spectators are being subjected to hand-held metal detector searches at the gate.
In all of this, the federal government insists on plowing through with its billion dollar act of stupidity trying to force Canadians to register Uncle Dan's squirrel gun. Guns are a huge problem in this country, as evidenced by the Loft Six shootings or the dozens and dozens of dead bodies that have littered our streets in the current Indo gang war. Handguns, that is, found in the waistbands and pockets of thugs and gangsters.
The tendentious Liberals refuse to admit their gun control legislation is the stupidest idea this side of Montreal's Big O.
There has been handgun control legislation on the books since the 1930s. And still the blood flows in the streets.
Any thoughts on where taxpayers' billions wasted on the gun legislation might have been better spent?
How about things like tangible organized crime investigation funding instead of pretending, as they did last year, when the prime minister tried to convince us his government put $500 million into the fight against organized crime?
The money went to long-overdue wage increases for the RCMP and a new computer data base planned long before the PM's self-aggrandizing announcement.
How about enacting legislation with teeth and mandatory minimum sentencing instead of forcing judges to "consider" alternative sentencing?
To do less is to demonstrate failure as a government, not the legacy the PM is seeking.