Due to the recent surge in gun violence in Toronto there have been numerous discussions about how best to address this problem. I firmly believe that low and negative expectations are at the heart of what leads many black youth down paths that are lined with little more than underachievement, impoverishment and predatory violence.
There must be reasonable accommodation made between the robust ability of citizens to maintain arms and screening mechanisms to limit the purchase of weapons by criminals and the unfit. The overriding problem in Toronto and Aurora, Colorado this past week were madmen with guns, not guns in the hands of men.
Earlier today, an identified man was discovered in a school playground and pronounced dead from gunshot wounds. The latest killing was Toronto's 30th homicide of the year. In a desperate city that is looking for answers, its mayor, Rob Ford, and member of the mayor's executive committee, Councillor Michael Thompson, offer unusual Tea Party-like simple solutions to a complex made in Canada problem.
Margaret Wente attributes recent gun violence to broken families and suggests reforms to the Youth Criminal Justice Act as a solution. She is maybe the worst example of those who use cultural explanations in order to call for a tough-on-crime agenda. One would be hard pressed to find an editorial on The Globe and Mail discussing molecular biology by people with no expertise or experience in the issues. We should demand the same respect for complex social problems and cultural issues.
What to do about gun violence in Toronto -- or anywhere else, for that matter? Well, contrary to prevailing opinion, there's a lot that can be done. For starters, we (the police and government) should determine who is doing the shooting. Unfortunately, "Profiling" is a taboo word for many, especially human rights zealots who equate "profiling" with bullying or unfairly picking on a portion of the community.
The mainstream media outlets can trot out their sociologists and university professors and talk about programs for at-risk youth and gun control and disintegration of the nuclear family but the indelible image of grieving families, usually black and poor, are what stand out. And no amount of social programs or government money is going to stop it.
In a world in which I am dying to be invisible, it is sad to note this one seems to be yet another black-on-black crime that takes one to the deadly summer of 2005 -- the "Summer of the Gun" where the number of shootings were very high, and the role of gangs in our streets. Is the incident at the Eaton Centre an isolated incident?