As a Canadian, I often balk at examples of racism and discrimination so explicit in American politics.In the fallout of Toronto's recent shootings, however, Mayor Rob Ford and Minister Jason Kenney's comments about reviewing "immigration law" (Ford) and "foreign gangsters" (Kenney) are guilty of exactly what members of Mitt Romney's team have done -- attempting to turn certain communities into "others" who are somehow less American or Canadian because they are racial minorities.
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.
I defend people charged with illegally possessing handguns. Many of them. There is at least one new such case every month; sometimes, there are two or three. If this crime is like any other, however, the number of people being caught illegally possessing handguns represents only a small fraction of those committing the offence.
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.
Isn't it impressive how every Torontonian with a newspaper column knows exactly how to prevent vicious gang violence? Truly, they have all the answers. In less blood-soaked news, the London Olympics are almost upon us, and you know what that means: time for the papers to be filled with bitter editorials about how horrible the Olympics are! (You won't be disappointed!)
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.