A couple of things strike me about this insane gang war now plaguing Vancouver.

One is the young age of the dead suspected gangsters: 23, 21, 19, 25, 22, 26, 24, 23, 24. I guess gangsters are like pirates — there aren’t any old ones.

Even though most are barely old enough to vote, their lives of crime started even earlier. Look at Shane Messent, 24, the kid (and that’s all he was) who died in the bizarre home invasion/shootout in south Vancouver Tuesday. He had a record that goes at least back to 2003.

Since that first arrest, Messent interacted with the law at least six times, mainly on weapons and assault charges. As far as I can tell, he’s spent less than six months in jail — all in — for going to war on civil society.

So, although there have been 12 shootings in 16 days, this gang war didn’t start 16 days ago. It’s been brewing a lot longer, a toxic mix of fantasy and delusion, drugs and weapons, fast cars and an overburdened justice system simply not geared to the Wild West II.

Face it, Mom and Dad. When your darlings are raised on video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Mafia Wars and Mob Wars, what do you expect? Boys will be boys? By the time they turn 13, these guys know how to field strip a machine-gun or the number of horses under the hood of a Cadillac Escalade, but they cannot name the 10 provinces. Nor do they care.

The other thing that strikes me about this gang war is nobody has the faintest idea how to stop it. On the talk shows and blogs, the good citizens of Metro Vancouver are all over the map. They can be forgiven. They are scared, outraged and cringe every time a Range Rover passes them.

The police? They are so overworked, they remind me of Inspector Clouseau: They suspect no one and everyone. Drugs, weapons and gangbangers are everywhere. Maybe even you. Yes, you. While we were squabbling about the Olympics, Vancouver became a world capital for ecstasy, and it was already a major port for the shipment of B.C. bud, cocaine, etc. Plus we have one of the largest concentrations of customers in the world … just a short walk from the cruise ship terminal.

The politicians? Good at one thing — pointing the finger.

Meanwhile, for those of you “lucky” to live here in Lotusland, I have one word of advice, the best you’ll get all day: Duck!