It’s the same every day. I pick my way through the rough part of town. I arrive at work, greet the morning shift, read the logs from the night before, fire up my computer and begin plowing through my ever-expanding to-do list.
Then without fail, it starts. Bang! Bang! Bang! The familiar sound of gunfire and the shouts of angry men reverberate through my office. When it first started happening, I thought to stay away from the windows, perhaps take cover under my desk, but the Crack! Crack! of gunfire is so familiar now that I pay little attention to it anymore. Has the Down-Town-East-Side of Vancouver devolved to such a degree that it is now essentially a lawless, violent war zone like Somalia, Bagdad, south Chicago, and parts of Portland?
All the old duffers in my building love Gunsmoke and Bonanza, and the T.V. room is right next door to my office. Each day hundreds of rounds go off. I hear six-shooters, repeating rifles, and even the occasional rat-tat-tat of a Gatling gun as Matt Dillon, Festus, Little Joe, Hoss, and Ben Cartright take up arms to solve whatever problems they’ve gotten themselves into.
The DTES has many problems, but gun violence, mercifully, is not often one of them.