And if you do in fact shoot someone you can go to jail - even in Surrey.
When Steven Brandon Mulligan-Brum apologized in court last month for shooting and killing a teen on a Surrey street in 2010, he said he was foolish, had grown up since then and hoped the victim's family would forgive him.
But during his sentencing in New Westminster Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 30), Justice Elizabeth Arnold-Bailey said she didn't buy it and didn't feel Mulligan-Brum was at all remorseful for taking 16-year-old Adem Aliu's life.
"His delivery in court was devoid of any real emotion," she said, noting he was not struggling to stay composed and seemed to talk mostly about how his own life had been impacted.
Arnold-Bailey handed Mulligan-Brum a sentence of seven years, minus two-and-a-half years credit for time served since his arrest, meaning he'll spend another four-and-a-half years in prison.
Mulligan-Brum, 22, pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter for shooting Aliu to death in the early hours of July 14, 2010.
Aliu and a group of about six teens were drinking and roaming the area near 141 Street and 103 Avenue, allegedly vandalizing cars, including a BMW owned by Mulligan-Brum.
Mulligan-Brum was inside his home at the time, and after hearing a ruckus on the street, went outside and around a corner, carrying with him a loaded handgun. He fired two shots in the direction of the group. One of the bullets struck Aliu in the head, killing him.
Defence lawyer Lawrence Myers said his client had a gun in his possession for protection because he felt his own life and that of his family might be in danger. Meyers argued Mulligan-Brum had no intention of killing anyone and was immediately remorseful.
But Justice Arnold-Bailey noted he didn't go to police, and instead hid the gun and waited for police to come to him. The shooting also took place while Mulligan-Brum was on probation for a prior offense and was prohibited from possessing weapons. He has past convictions for uttering threats and drug trafficking.
Mulligan-Brum displayed behaviour considered "truly abhorrent" in a civilized community, said Arnold-Bailey, calling his actions "profoundly" careless, thoughtless and misguided. Still, she credited Mulligan-Brum for furthering his education while in custody and said she's hopeful he can be rehabilitated.
In a victim-impact statement last month from Aliu's adoptive father, Nezir Alija, said the teen was a good student, a talented soccer player and wanted to become an air traffic controller. He had come to Canada from Kosovo in 2006 for a better life, Alija said.http://www.surreylea.../155779915.html
And if you try to exact vigilante justice you can end up dead as Sam McGowan and his family learned to their regret:
The teen who stabbed Surrey dad Sam McGowan in the chest, killing him in the summer of 2009, has been ordered to serve a three-year intensive rehabilitation and custody sentence.
He will spend six months of those three years in a youth detention centre, with the remainder of the sentence spent in a rehabilitation and counselling program – the terms of which have yet to be determined.
The 17-year-old, who has already served one month of his prison term and who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was convicted of manslaughter last June and was sentenced in New Westminster Supreme Court this morning (Jan. 27).
He was just 15 years old in August 2009 when he and a buddy committed two robberies, stealing cellphones from other teens – one of whom was McGowan's son.
McGowan, 42, gave chase, eventually finding the youth hiding behind a tent trailer in the yard of a neighbourhood home. McGowan yelled and the teen ran. He then turned around, facing the victim with a knife, and plunged it into McGowan's chest, killing him.
The youth was initially charged with second-degree murder, but was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter by a jury. The defence argued the young man feared for his life. He also pleaded guilty to two robbery charges during the trial.
In December, the teen apologized in court, saying "I am disgusted with the way I behaved...it's something I'm going to regret for the rest of my life."
His lawyer, David Tarnow, said Friday his client, who has no prior criminal record, was "very disappointed" with the sentence because he felt he'd been doing well since his arrest.
In court, Justice Laura Gerow acknowledged the sentence was in no way a measure of the value of the victim's life.
"There is nothing this court can do to fix the pain.
"No sentence will ever restore him to you."
McGowan's family and friends cried and hugged one another following the sentencing. They said while the accused did not receive a lot of jail time, six months is more than they expected, and they were pleased to see him led from the courthouse in handcuffs.
McGowan's girlfriend Michelle Proulx said she feels for other victims of crime she sees in the news.
"Knowing what we've already gone through and knowing that they're going to be going through this now...
"The case is over now but it's never going to be over ... because seeing what's been going on is a constant reminder," she said of recent violent crimes.
Madison, Proulx's 11-year-old daughter, said McGowan was like a father to her.
"Sometimes I wonder what would've happened if Sam wasn't killed. Would my mom and him be married like they had planned?"
Proulx's older daughter Macky said her mom and McGowan had a "puppy love" type of relationship.
"He had the power to make everyone happy," said Macky. "He tried to make the best of the worst situations."
Longtime family friend Mae Ward encouraged other parents to "stay vigilante" with their kids.
"See who they're talking to on Facebook... wonder where they're going, why they're sneaking stuff into their pocket. Where are they during these hours during the day? What are they doing?http://www.surreylea.../138208034.html
Leave such things to the police.