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Perilous Times

      “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 

     For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 

      Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 

       Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 

     Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Canada: 10 shot in outrageous display of gang violence in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER From Monday's Globe and Mail

Published Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010 11:04AM EST       

Less than a week ago, Vancouver-area police warned of increased tension between gangs, and sparked concerns the region might see a war like the one that brought in near-daily shootings in early 2009.

Early Sunday, after what had been a relatively quiet year for gang violence, residents of a west side neighbourhood awoke to the sounds of rapid gunfire and desperate screams. Police were flooded with 911 calls, including one from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, a resident of the area.

A gun is seen lying on the ground near the scene of a shooting that injured ten people in the early hours of Dec. 12, 2010 in Vancouver.

The Oak Street shooting injured 10 people, two of them critically.

Constable Jana McGuinness, a police spokeswoman, said the crime scene spanned several blocks and the number of victims was the highest she ever witnessed at one shooting. She called it an outrageous display of gang violence.

Six men and three women were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds. One of the women was released Sunday afternoon. Police would not say if any of the injured were bystanders.

The 10th victim refused treatment and was questioned by police.

At least five people were taken into custody, although no charges have been laid. Constable McGuinness said it would take investigators several days to complete interviews.

Police were tight-lipped about the sequence of events or motive. Evidence markers could be seen outside two restaurants in particular. Yellow police tape cordoned off numerous blocks, quieting a typically busy stretch of Oak Street, a mix of commercial establishments and apartment buildings.

While the high number of victims in Sunday shooting might have come as something of a surprise, blood spilling onto the streets was not.

Last Tuesday, B.C. Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit issued a news release to warn that there has been an increase in gang tensions and instability in Metro Vancouver resulting from recent violent events, including a high-profile murder at a Burnaby mall in October.

The written statement added that investigators had prevented several acts of violence on our streets and detailed incidents in October and November that involved firearms.

Last Friday, two men were shot in Coquitlam in an incident police said was likely gang-related. The men, both 28, were hit while sitting in a truck and drove themselves to hospital.

Sergeant Shinder Kirk, the enforcement unit spokesman, said that even though suppression efforts were successful after the 2009 upswing in violence, investigators were not naive enough to believe gang violence was a thing of the past.

Robert Gordon, director of criminology at Simon Fraser University, agreed that the number of violent gang incidents appears once again to be on the rise.

It’s been quiet for a while, but certainly we seem to now be entering another period of conflict between competing groups. The underlying issue continues to be the drug trade.

In early 2009, the battle over the Vancouver-area drug trade led to more than 40 shootings. More than 20 people were killed and the gang war fuelled headlines around the world.

Vancouver police did not specify what type of weapon was used in Sunday shooting. Photographers spotted a gun on the ground near the crime scene. Sgt. Kirk said area gangs have shown a preference for automatic and semi-automatic weapons.

Once the trigger is pulled, any number of bullets are fired and that just increases the likelihood of any number of people being hurt and that certainly the biggest concern for us. An innocent party could have been hurt.

Mr. Robertson, who lives a few blocks away from the site of the crime, called the brazen shooting unacceptable and offered his support to the police force.

Concerned area residents quietly walked toward the deserted street on Sunday to chat about the incident. One woman, who declined to give her name, said she called 911 after hearing gunshots.

We basically bolted out of bed because of the noise, she said. And then we heard screaming and then we heard [another] succession of gunfire.

Ryan Heshka said he heard five or six pops followed by women screams. Mr. Heshka said he lived in the area for about 18 months.

It never seemed like a gang hub.