Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gun violence isn't about guns

An (most probably, reports say) innocent bystander was killed in Gerrard St. E tonight -- and this is Toronto's third homicide this year.

I was at the media office of the boat show tonight, registering media and phoning some outlets, and I realize this was why CTV, CityTV and Global weren't interested in covering the boat show ("Bad timing" and "We're pretty full on the agenda tonight," they say).

This after a similar incident on Yonge St. last weekend. Predictably there will be more talk about the handgun ban proposed by Mayor David Miller, and more talk about capturing these out-of-control "gunmen" and putting them behind bars.

The news is fresh and will be analyzed in editorials in the coming days, and I'm hoping the focus will be in getting to the root of the problem instead of on "guns" and "criminals." Take a look at out how the suspects for the Yonge shooting were described in this CTV article

The first man is described as:

  • In his early 20s
  • Between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11
  • Medium build
  • Possibly Hispanic
  • He was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and a white baseball cap

The second suspect is described as;

  • In his early 20s
  • Between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10
  • Skinny
  • Light-black complexion
  • He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt
What does this info suggest? We can all make our own guesses and not come up with any conclusive answers, but it's common sense that aggression is linked to disenfranchisement and all the influencing factors in an individual's life, if you look at it from a developmental/lifespan perspective. It's not about guns. There are so many other ways to kill. This is about what community has provided -- or not provided -- these young men.

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