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No Easy Answers On Toronto Shootings
28/12/2005

There's nothing I can add to the general sense of outrage that's being felt in this city right now after the Boxing Day shooting spree that killed one girl from my neighbourhood.

Unfortunately, much of what I've read in blogs seems to be fairly useless. People like to get angry, blame politicians they don't like, or blame ways of thinking that they don't like. But few offer anything by way of realistic plans or ideas that would actually make any difference.

It's all well and good to get angry at David Miller, but I don't think there is much if anything he could have done to prevent what happened this week. (I do, however, think he deserves full criticism for his support of Paul Martin's "handgun ban". Instead of being an election prop for someone with a cosmetic proposal, he should have been demanding something useful. As Jack Layton said, "it is almost certainly true that all of the weapons involved are already illegal - already banned".)

The thing is, no one really seems to know what to do. Sure, they say, "arrest the scum bags!" But, um, I think the police are already trying to do that. Why are they failing? I don't know for sure.

It is actually fairly difficult to have a real discussion about this when I don't feel like I have much by way of good information about the problem. With some exceptions, the media hasn't done a good job of going out and finding out what's behind this upswing in violence and also why the police are having such difficulty containing it.

We hear bits here and there about drug gangs, about people getting out on bail too easily, about witnesses afraid to talk. And we do get newspaper articles where they go out in the community and hear about youth who say they have nowhere to go. But we are lacking deep understanding of what's going on and what's changed so violently. Tthat needs to be fixed fast.


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