Saturday, August 06, 2005

Toronto: Surviving in the city: Guns, gangs, shootings, deaths, Mayor, Prov #1, Police Chief TO, Prov Consvt #1 > spinich

Toronto Guns'N'Shootin's Watch

Criminals with 50% American guns aren't winning, Editorial, Toronto Star, August 6, 2005. For the entire editorial, click the blog-entry large-typeface headline at top. The secondary headline for the more immediate link is my version of what the editorial's means in the context of the official lines put out in the city in the last two weeks, in lite of the info which follows in the various other links of the blog entry below.

Our Toronto Mayor, David Miller, and our Provinicial Premier, Dalton McGuinty, both want to blame our predicament on the Americans - not the smugglers, who bring half our illegal weapons into the province and city, but more largely "the Americans" (see the last link on the different histories of the two countries on Gun Control). The Toronto Police Chief agrees with the datum in a hat tip to the Mayor and the Premier, but focuses on winning their and our support for a plan of police strategists to target the zones (not mere "neighbourhoods," mind you) where two top gangs of considerable size and reach are conducting a turf war. This has less public support than you may wish - for instance, among white liberals who are already primed for the division that will emerge in the Black communities whether to support the police or to decry them as being the worst of two evils. This predicatble pattern is one reason why the pusillanimous Mayor and Premier float their "blame the Americans" flusterbluster. Don't be smogged by this ploy (which Dalton has already used on the pollution of Toronto's air by the cars Torontonians drive, not caused in the main instance by the Americans as he would have it). - Politicarp

Residents of Toronto, and beyond, have been rightly shocked in recent weeks by a spate of shootings that have claimed at least six lives and wounded several innocent bystanders. Most appalling is the harm done to Shaquan Cadougan, a 4-year-old boy struck by a series of bullets to the legs in a drive-by shooting.

This violence is inexcusable. Those responsible deserve the harshest punishment possible under our legal system. And the public is justifiably expressing outrage over gangs, guns and some criminals' devil-may-care attitude toward taking human life.

But, despite what some critics would have us believe, Toronto the Good has not turned into Toronto the Bloody. This city's streets have not become out-of-control shooting galleries, filled with gun-toting thugs. And references to "Dodge City" are simply out of place.
Perspective is important. Violence does pose a serious challenge, but it weighs heavier on selected parts of the city, and selected communities, rather than Toronto as a whole. For residents of those unfortunate zones, life is punctuated by gnawing fear and — all too often — the popping sound of criminal gunshots. That's a tragedy. Every effort must be made to bring relief to these troubled areas of the city.

Canada Free Press' Weintreb fixes on McGuinty belated gun solution for Toronto, by Arthur Weinreb, Canada Free Press, August 5, 2005.

After the latest evening of multiple shootings in Toronto and the GTA (at least the latest at the time of this writing), the spate of violent gun crime finally got the attention of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. A group of people were sitting outside their homes on a hot summer night when they became the victims of a drive-by shooting. Included amongst the casualties was a 4-year-old boy who was shot in the leg and hip.

McGuinty seemed to have been rattled by the shooting of the 4-year-old. Well, at least this is some progress for our illustrious premier – the child wasn't even his kid. The last time McGuinty got excited about a young person being the victim of a violent crime it was when one of his sons became the victim of an Ottawa mugging.

After expressing his sympathies to the victims of the escalating gun violence, the premier, stuttering and stammering, said that it's time for a "rethink" about the laws. A rethink?

While Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair set up a task force to redeploy officers to areas of the city where most of the gang related shootings are taking place, Dalton has decided to think. Perhaps after all this thinking is done, some action might be taken to combat the nights of multiple shootings in Toronto that have recently become all too common.

About the only specific thing that McGuinty said was that he intends to take up the matter of illegal guns with the American Ambassador. He seems to be taking a page from Toronto mayor David Miller who blames the United States for shootings and murders committed in Canada by home grown Canadian criminals. Since becoming mayor, David Miller has refused to take any responsibility for any problems that occur in his city, preferring to blame the federal government, the provincial government and now the United States. But we expect more from the premier who is sinking quickly to the level of the Toronto mayor.

The notion that talking to the Americans is somehow going to get them to change their entire gun culture is totally absurd. And if McGuinty truly wanted to do something to stop American guns from being brought across the border, the premier would be talking to the federal government that is responsible for the border, not the American Ambassador.

Dalton McGuinty had promised to fund an additional 1,000 police officers for the province but that promise seems to be just lying around until it can officially declared "broken" as most of his other major promises have been.

McGuinty's undertaking a "rethink" and wanting to talk to the U.S. Ambassador while the streets of Toronto are being shot up on what seems to be a nightly basis proves that he is totally incapable of dealing with problems that don't fit into his special pet interests.

Apologies to Arthur for this lengthy quote, but the matter is so urgent, and his remarks are so cogent and backed up by longterm McGuinty-watching on numerous issues, that I'm doing my best to make sure all refWrite readers
get a chance to go thru Arthur's entire argument on the matter. - Owlb

Who's responsible for gun violence?, Letter to National Post, August 5, 2005. Click-up this pithy letter and read it, please. - Politicarp

Mother of shot boy: 'You have to thank God he's alive', by Christie Blatchford, Toronto's greatest crime and crime-trial reporter, making gruesome stuff a good read, now at Globe&Mail, August 4, 2005.

An apparent gang-shooting that begs for the determination of a motive. Miss Blatchfrod writes about the 4-year-old Shaquan Cadougan who was struck an incredible 4 times by the bullets that went into his lower body parts and legs. And he's still alive! Click up here story and read for your self, as Ms Blatchford's account is too close an investigation to be recapped here. - Owlb

Top cop takes aim at smuggled guns, but deftly spins the Miller-McGuinty line to advance police's definite plan for crime-hi TO rival gang regions, by Canadian Press, carried also in The London [ON] Free Press, attributed to Paul Choi, August 5, 2005.

Police Chief Blair

TORONTO -- Smuggled handguns and gang warfare are fanning the flames of violence and endangering the lives of innocent people, police Chief Bill Blair said yesterday in the wake of a rash of gunplay that left a four-year-old boy among the injured. ... Blair acknowledged that one of the problems still at the root of gang warfare is the proliferation of firearms, mainly handguns, that are being illegally smuggled in large numbers across the Canada-U.S. border.

"Our investigations have revealed at least half of all the firearms in the city of Toronto are being illegally smuggled across our border from the United States."

The "extremely alarming" shootings Wednesday night, which left one man dead and four other people injured, were the result of two gangs involved in a fierce turf war, Blair said as he announced plans for a special task force to tackle the problem of gang violence in the neighbourhood where the shootings occurred.

Residents tired of dodging bullets 'If police were harder, there wouldn't be this problem', by Armando D'Andrea and Nicholas Kohler, National Post, August 5, 2005.

Rash of shootings spawns new police unit Chief to deploy 'several dozen' officers to deal with troubled neighbourhood, by Robb Shaw, Globe&MailAugust 5, 2005.

MacLean's, Paul Choi (here's another fine reporter to watch for news stories that are Toronto and crime-related, has here a longer more-detailed version of what appeared later in other sources cited above. MacLean's, August 4, 2005.

McGuinty blames guns from U.S., Broadcast News via National Post, August 04, 2005.

The premier says there's no doubt the guns are coming into Canada from south of the border because it's very hard to buy a handgun in this country.

McGuinty he says police and all levels of government should look at gun laws in an effort to stem the problem before it gets worse.

Police chief pledges to battle crime in northwest Toronto
, / CBC News, last updated August 5 2005.

Weekend marked by shootings in Toronto, / CBC News, last updated August 1, 2005

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