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Targeted Surrey shootings show teens are 'dispensable resources' for gangs: advocate

Last Updated Dec 29, 2020 at 8:38 pm PDT

Summary

Police have not said whether the 'targeted' shooting deaths of tow teens in Surrey were gang-related,

An advocate says kids are getting recruited into the drug, gang trades at younger ages

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Calling the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in Surrey on Monday heartbreaking, an advocate says teens need to be aware of the dangers of gang and gun violence.

Police have not said the killing was gang-related, but they have described two fatal shootings in that city in a 24-hour period as “targeted” and both teenaged victims as “known to police.”

Kal Dosanjh is the Founder and CEO of KidsPlay, a local nonprofit organization that helps support at-risk youth.

“It’s obviously disturbing because it’s essentially indicative of the trend that’s going on with respect to more and more younger kids getting involved in the drug trade and the gang trade,” he says.

“This is something that could have been forecasted years ago based on how the trends were going — that these kids are gonna get younger and younger. In fact, there is no remorse on the part of other gangsters when they’re shooting these kids down because the money is that much of a draw. These kids are a dispensible resource.”

RELATED: 14-year-old killed in Surrey shooting, two murders within 24 hours not connected: IHIT

The lure of money and acceptance into a “brotherhood” is attracting kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds, which Dosanjh says was not always the case.

“The drug trade is so lucrative, and gang lifestyle has been glorified and romanticized so often that these kids are drawn to it. It’s no longer a matter of kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds who are getting into the drug trade. There are kids who have all the amenities, resources, and support at home, and nonetheless, they’re still getting involved in this lifestyle,” he explains.

Younger teens don’t necessarily realize the risks, Dosanjh notes.

“They don’t have the cognitive ability to understand the depth and scope of the ramifications and consequences of being involved in this lifestyle. When they finally do get involved in this lifestyle, that’s when they truly begin to realize and it’s extremely difficult and challenging to get out,” he says, adding that kids can quickly become addicted, indebted, or otherwise beholden to a gang or drug dealer.

Dosanjh adds parents and guardians should be talking to kids about the dangers associated with the drug trade, and organizations like his are there to help.