Thursday, December 29, 2005

Canadian Cluebat 2: Toronto

The Globe and Mail: Bystanders gunned down on busy Toronto street

On the Day after Christmas (known as "Boxing Day" in the UK and former colonies), a 15 year-old girl was gunned down in a busy Toronto, Canada mall.

Two "groups"of "youths in their late teens and early twenties" (Read: thugs or gangbangers if you're American, yobs in the UK) got into a fight and somebody pulled a gun. Probably more than one gun was involved, because 6 people were wounded, and at the end Jane Creba lay dead on the street.

This is a terrible thing to happen, and we grieve for the Creba family. We all agree that Something Ought To Be Done about this, but what?

Straight up, we already know that the guns were illegally carried. We've already talked about Canada's ultra-expensive, ultra-not-working gun laws. In fact, we've even talked about 'technologically feasible' gadgets which keep people from suing someone else's gun.

Just to make my point painfully obvious, we have seen that making guns illegal doesn't get them off the street; it just gets them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens who carry them for self-defensive purposes. The people who want to hoo-rah the down and raise hell, the people who are looking for an escuse to go out and shoot other people; those people already have their guns, and they're using them. They don't CARE that it's illegal to have a gun. They'll get them somewhere. (Possibly more on that later)

The rest of Canada . . . is a target. Also known as an "Innocent Bystander", in situations such as this.

Got it? Good.

Back to the story.

The Mayor of Toronto, Dave Miller, is shocked, SHOCKED!, that people in his town are carrying guns and these people ( say . . . "groups of youths in their late teens and early twenties") are using their guns to shoot each other and Innocent Bystanders.

The Prime Minister . . . well, read it in the original:

Prime Minister Paul Martin offered his condolences to the family of the victim in a statement Tuesday, saying he was "horrified" by the shootings.

"The taking of innocent young life is always an outrage, but doubly so when it occurs during a season which is dedicated to celebrating the joys of family and peace.

"What we saw yesterday is a stark reminder of the challenge that governments, police forces and communities face to ensure that Canadian cities do not descend into the kind of rampant gun violence we have seen elsewhere," he said.


Oh, yeah. I get it. You mean, as in the United States, your churlish neighbor to the South. Gun violence, rampant. You want to avoid that, right?

Well, here's a clue. Your plan, whatever it is (confiscation), isn't working.

The Toronto Official Police Spokesman had something interesting to say:

"I think it's a day that Toronto has finally lost its innocence," Toronto Police spokesman Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said at a news conference Tuesday. "It was a tragic loss and a tragic day."
I agree that it was a tragic loss, and a tragic day. But Detective Sergeant Kyriacou, how could you not be aware of the previous "Tragic Days" which Toronto experienced this year?

We've just been looking at the Globe and Mail. There are other news sources available, and some of them have been paying more attention to the "Tragic Day in Toronto" count than you seem to be.

The Canada Free Press ("Canada's Fastest Growing Independent News Source') will give you a rundown, if you wish:

On December 1, Toronto were looking for two men who killed a 25-year-old man in a car parking lot. This was the 74th murder in Toronto for 2005, and the 50th shooting death.

During the period December 3 thru December 27, there were ten other shooting incidents in Toronto. A couple of these incidents resulted in 'no injuries' (that they know of), but the box score by my count is:
Wounded: 11
Dead: 2

I repeat, this is JUST for the last 10 shooting incidents AFTER December 1, and in two of them there were no injuries reported.

I hardly think that the Boxing Day (December 26) shooting was the single incident in which Toronto "lost its innocence". That would be like trying to pin down the day when Heidi Fleiss lost her innocence.


The hat-tip to Hal Lindsey ( a columnist who I don't often read ) of WorldNet Dailey is in order. He posted a column today on this subject, and it piqued my interest to the point where I did a little background digging of my own. The results you see above.

The one point which Lindsey made, and which I won't try to steal because he did such a nice job of fisking it, is that . . .

According to Toronto's mayor, Toronto's gun problem is Uncle Sam's fault. It seems – gasp! – that criminals aren't obeying the gun ban. They are going to the United States and smuggling guns back into Canada. (Yes, Canada also has a law against smuggling – but that's not important. Just ask the Canadians.)
Lindsey's coup de grace:

Let's see if I am following this correctly. I don't want to misunderstand. There are poor young people suffering discrimination in Toronto whose social condition is so bleak they will even resort leaving the country to get a gun they can smuggle back so they can shoot up Toronto ...and that is America's fault?

Sure is, says Canada's prime minister, Paul Martin. Martin says half the gun crimes in Canada involve guns smuggled in from the United States. Indeed, Martin said he raised the "smuggling problem" with Condi Rice when she visited in October.

That must have been interesting. "Madame Secretary, Canadians are breaking Canadian smuggling laws and we are powerless to prevent it. What does the United States propose to do to solve our border inspection problems?"

Okay, before this gets too long (or "Geek Length", as we here in Geekistan like to say), let's look at what a select group of Canadians have to say about the "Gun Violence Problem in Toronto". To do that, I'll just cite the folks who commented in the "Globe and Mail" article. (Okay, so it's going into Geek Length" territory. If it bothers you, stop reading. )

Testament Number One:

Paul Thompson from Cheongju City Korea, Canada writes: Sir: Some people have commented on the malevolent influence of such things as "gangsta"-glorifying hip-hop music and films such as Four Brothers on the problem of gun violence. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with listening to or watching such junk as long as you don't ACT on it! I recall watching a movie like Bonnie and Clyde but I don't remember wanting to rob banks or shoot people afterwards. Of course, given how that movie ended, one could argue that it didn't glorify violence at all. My point is that if we can find out what it is that makes certain people act on the violent messages they may get from the media, we will have solved at least one piece of the puzzle. Also, I find it quite nauseating to hear so-called "conservatives" blaming liberal or socialist policies for this problem when a redneck-infested place like Texas has a gun violence problem that dwarfs ours.
"Cheongju City Korea, Canada"? I had no IDEA that Canada was THAT multicultural!
Paul may have a point, no matter how vapid he sounds, in suggesting that the problem may have something to do with "people". He's not talking about GUNS as the cause of Gun Violence, he's talking about "People".

Unfortunately, he gives away his Moral High Ground when he resorts to name calling. "so-called "conservatives"" and "redneck-infested place like Texas" are high on my twit-filter rules list, and it should be on yours. My guess: Paul has never met a REAL Conservative, and he has never been to Texas. (However, he probably has a lot of personal experience with 'infestation' based on his apparent fondness for "liberal or socialist policies".)

Testament Number Two:

A Fraser from Canada writes:

Dennis Ergas, thank you for your insightful comments. I do not agree that locking all the criminals up solves anything. Look at the US, which has the highest rate of incarceration per capita in the industrialized world, yet still has higher per capita murder rates than Canada.

There has to be a multi-pronged approach to this issue.

Fraser (he isn't from Seattle, is he?) has a fine appreciation for "Dennis Ergas". Who is that? I googled the name, and found a sergeant (66-67) in the 27th Infantry Regiment ("The Wolfhounds") in the 25th Infantry Division ("Tropical Lightning", home station Scofield Barracks in Hawaii) of the United States Army. I served in that division in 1970, in Vietnam, and I never met Dennis Ergas. Guess I didn't get around much.

But I digress. I'm in good company, because Fraser digresses, too. That's hard to do, because he never establishes a point from which he may digress. He doesn't seem to favor locking up criminals, he's very big on "per capita" statistics (without any supporting citations) and is searching for a 'multi-pronged approach'. I don't know what that is, but I'm going to add that phrase to my Twit-Filter immediately. ("Per Capita" is already in there!)

Testament Number Three:
Wilf Kruggel from Onoway, Canada writes: I've said it for years and I'll say it as often as it needs to be said, get the "cops" out of the ditches looking like coyotes hunting for that unsuspecting speeder or the one that doesn't come to a complete stop at a stop sign and put these very same highly trained cops dealing with the various gangs. The canadian police chiefs said several years ago that they are losing the fight to stop organized gangs. How long is it going to take before our idle politicians do something. instead of putting these crimminals into "fivestar hotels for life, say to "hell" with these human rights activists and put the criminals back into chaingangs and at the end of the day give them a lash or two, just as a reminder that what they did was seriously wrong. Talking to people in the middle East that had the lash, they weren't going for another round. That's what's needed in our justice system, "deterrants", not "coddling". I keep saying that we have to get away from this "socialist" mentality because that's what is the sole cause of our social problems. If nothing is done, people will just keep blowing each others "cans" off.
I'm a little intimidated by this. Wilf seems not to be a Fellow Traveler of Fraser. Won't that undermine Fraser's self-image?

Probably; and it might be a refreshing moment for Fraser, if he ever noticed it.

Wilf has take a step in the right direction; at least he doesn't seem to advocate patting Larry the Yob on the bum and sending him back out into the street to play. And he certainly agrees with me (always a virtue) by agreeing the Something Must Be Done.

But I'm afraid he's just looking a peneological solution (can I say that?).

Testament Number Four:

dave bussiere from Canada writes: This is a brutal event.
We can blame the US. We can blame immigration. But that would be naive.
The US didn't do this....some of our teens did this.
Immigration didn't do this...though maybe some immigrants did....and maybe some locally-born jerks.
I am not pro-gun.....but this is not a result of legal gun purchases by average Canadians. This is a sign of the times.
Awwww . . . shucks. If it weren't for the honor, I would have to decline the honor. "We can blame it on the US", dave says, and then he rejects the proposition entirely.

'dave' (I KNOW he has a Shift Key!) is hot on the trail, but he is perhaps only mildly in error when he says "some of our teens did this". Not. It wasn't "some of our teens", it was our (their) society which allows teens to grow up without knowing how to act. Nothing against the Canadians; we do the same thing in the US, too. dave, you're getting warmer! Keep up the good work, and keep posting.

Testament Number Five:

Jason Varmazis from Toronto, Canada writes: A child was killed on the streets of Toronto while shopping with her
parents in the late afternoon. If there ever was a wakeup call that we
must take action to address the issue of gun violence, this it.

Action is not targetting certain immigrant groups, bringing back the
death penalty, or other forms of non-judicial punishment for criminals.
And it is not another registry or gun control programme from our
corrupt and inept federal government.

Our civilized, just socitey (sic) is under attack. And we must effectively
defend her in a civilized and just manner. The will to accomplish this
is actually universal, regardless of our individual politics.

Laws concerning gun crimes must be toughened and strictly enforced.
Programmes must be funded and implemented to find and remove the
illegal guns out there. The police should put their best and brightest
on their gun removal teams. Also, you can pay with money or you can pay
with blood. Rewards for turning in illegal weapons (no questions asked)
and turning in gun offenders is money well spent. If people won't
volunteer information, it is unfortunate, but we will obviously have to
pay them for results.

And for those talking about social programmes for disadvantaged youth.
Such programmes should be funded because they will help willing
disadvantaged youth reach their full potential as adult citizens. And
that is good and just. But it won't turn around some gang banger who
lights up his weapon on a crowded street. We need tough courts and jail
for these individuals.
Darn it, Jason starts out like gang-busters (pardon the expression) in the first three paragraphs, and then he fades fast.

  1. Something Must Be Done. A no-brainer, but who am I to complain?
  2. Laws don't work. Another no-brainer, and I agree.
  3. This is a societal problem. Politics don't work. Doing good, Jason!
  4. We have to enforce our laws. What happened to Paragraph 2?
  5. Government can fund programs, and if the kids don't respond . . . hang 'em high!

No. You can't solve 'gun violence' by passing more laws, or by 'more strictly enforcing' existing laws. That has already been tried. It doesn't work.

The Government has done everything it can, which essentially consists of passing laws and throwing money at the problem. You can see where that gets us. (Here I'm talking about Canada, the US, UK, France and her riots which are NOT caused by Muslims, Holland with her street executions which are NOT caused by Muslims, etc.)

You want the answer in the simplest possible terms? I'll give you a term in two words, and you'll laugh because it is such an out-of-date concept:

Nuclear Families.

That's right. It's not a matter of governmental programs or federal/state/local laws. It's not even a matter of any religious concept such as the Ten Commandments (which just happens to be the simplest, most concise and easiest-to-follow Handbook for Life which was ever composed), although religion can be one of the more powerful tools for raising a child to be a peaceful, law-abiding, responsible, respectful and respected adult.

Here's the basic scenario:

A man and a woman get together, they make a pact to cleave to each other and forsake all others for the sake of their own children. That's their responsibility: their children.

They provide the children a good, stable home. They also provide instruction on how the children should live. They serve as role models, which only means they are an example of the kind of people that the children should attempt to emulate when they reach their own adulthood.

They love their children, and they teach them. They don't keep their children safe, warm, well-fed, clothed and happy because there's a law saying they have to, or because if the Social Worker comes around and finds they're living in a pig-sty, the Department of Human Services may cut of the Welfare Check.

At least one parent brings in an income, at least one parent provides a save and nurturing home environment. The way this is accomplished may vary according to circumstances, but that's a basic minimum.

Little Johnny isn't running around with a gang, because all of the other potention Homies are also in safe and nurturing environments. Have you ever read the studies of street gangs which state that for most of their members, that's the only family they have? Maybe you should, because that is the key to the answer.

This isn't stuff you learn in school. Teachers are there to teach you how to read and write and do ciphers. It's not THEIR job to teach them to get along with other people, or to know 'instinctively' the difference between right and wrong. It's your job.

Sometimes, you may learn part of it in a church. Even if you're not 'religious', you can see that religion is a way to live and it probably has a lot of practical lessons that will help you see the way to fulfill your obligation to your family.

This is the hardest possible way to resolve the problem of "gun violence". We've gone so far down the wrong road, we're in our umpteenth generation of people who believe that the Government (including schools, and even churches) should be responsible for removing the threat of violence -- any violence -- from our culture.

We have to fix the parents, so they can fix the children. That means it's a family problem, and they only way the family can function is if they REMAIN a family where each member is responsible to every other member of the family.

By the way, I couched this essay in terms of Canadian Cluelessness. Apologies to our Canadian friends (and Australian, French, Deutch et al) if I seem to be singling you out. We're all in the same boat, we've all lost our way. It isn't a national problem, but all nations are struggling with it. Why isn't anybody listening to the people who are already pointing this out?

Because it's just too hard.

I never said it would be easy.

I just said it would work.

Less than 24 hours after I wrote this piece, I found an article about an assault in Milwaukee which illustrates almost every point.

MILWAUKEE - A prosecutor began reviewing possible charges Thursday against five juveniles in the brutal mob beating of a man yanked from his car while driving through a north side neighborhood. Two are 17 years old, two are 16 and one is 14, according to a police statement that did not give the genders of the suspects in the attack on Samuel McClain, a 50-year-old father of 12. Police continue to seek more suspects, the release said.

"I thought that the last time this happened in our community that people would wake up," Johnson said. "It's time for this to stop. Parents need to sit down and talk with their children about what's right and what's wrong."
("Johnson" is the wife of the victim in the beating)

State Rep. Leon Young, D-Milwaukee, said he plans to introduce a bill in the Legislature early next year that would toughen the penalties for those participating in group assaults. Young, a former Milwaukee police officer, started working with the department after several 2004 mob beatings.

The penalty enhancer would kick in when three or more people take part in violence against a person and would range from one extra year in prison to five, depending on the severity of the victim's injuries.

Locally, a group of City Council members said Thursday they will introduce an anti-gang ordinance that would allow police to ticket groups of people who loiter in a menacing fashion.

Sure, keep it up. Treat the symptoms, but not the cause.

Of course, it might have been worse. He might have been attacked by a gang of youthful Chihuahuas.

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