Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stop the Madness

One of the two people killed in the Danzig shootings on Monday
credit: Liam Casey/Toronto Star

There was another public barrage of bullets yesterday in Toronto. Two people died and twenty-four others were injured.

Twenty-four others were injured. I'll let that sink in for a moment. Now I'll continue: one of the victims is twenty-two months old. Good luck letting that sink in.

Originally we were told that many of the victims were injured as people rushed to vacate the area of the gunfire. But that wasn't the case as all but one of the twenty-six people who were either killed or injured in the melee last night were hit by a bullet (or several bullets).

In Toronto, we are told that "violence is down" from past years and our mayor insists that this was an "isolated incident". Later that same mayor declared a "war on gangs" (a month too late), which is a poor choice of words at the best of times, quite aside from everything always being a "war" with RoFo. In Ottawa, predictably, the amoral Harper Government seized the spotlight to make it all about them, as usual.

Taking cover in the Eaton Centre
credit: @Mr_Webbb
But what really rankles me about the coverage of yesterday's insanity is the fact that everywhere I look it's being reported that this is "only" the second case of innocent bystanders being hit by gunfire this year (actually, in just over six weeks). These reports usually go on to link the 2005 Boxing Day shooting of Jane Creba to the current situation to really drive home Ford's repeated assertions that these incidents are rare and "isolated". But this is woefully missing the point. In the first place, the "innocent bystanders" were killed yesterday and whoever the intended target was is still alive. Not only is this exponentially worse than the Eaton Centre shootings, but now there is the obvious seeking of revenge that is bound to happen, and likely soon. In the second place, there was a public shooting at Ashbridge's Bay on Canada Day that could very easily have injured scores of "innocent bystanders", but is hardly mentioned in any reports of recent Wild-West-style shootouts. This came exactly two weeks after another shooting in Little Italy where crowds had gathered to watch a soccer match, information similarly omitted by most media outlets. That's four shootings in six weeks where the people with the weapons had no concern whatsoever for who they were actually hitting with their deadly gunplay.

It's so very easy to look at violent crimes in various parts of Toronto and say, "Oh, that's to be expected in [insert low-income, high-density neighbourhood name]". But that's not been the pattern this year. The four high-visibility shootings have been in the middle of an annual block party, in a crowded cafe, at a major public fireworks show, and in the food court of one of our main tourist attractions. And in case that's not enough to convince you, Toronto Police Services released this map today:

Toronto Police Services map of YTD shooting locations in Toronto

Take a really good look at that map and answer this one question: how in the hell can anyone call what's been going on this summer in Toronto "isolated"?

I have never been one who goes in for the hand-wringing or the deliberate fear-mongering of much of the media, but I think this time we really need to be worried about the safety of this city for the immediate future. As I have posted here many, many times, the lack of empathy that has been so evident in Toronto in recent years is now coming back to bite all of us firmly in our butts. Do I have any answers? Not really. To my mind, this is a natural, logical progression years in the making and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

And I can't get out of Dodge soon enough.


  1. I am so glad I escaped in '98!!

    1. That was perfect timing. That's almost exactly when I started wanting to get out myself, but I'm still here. Soon, though, soon....


I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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