Toronto gun vi­o­lence be­comes new nor­mal

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

There was a time when the shoot­ing death of a 15-year-old — Toronto’s 81st mur­der vic­tim this year, well on its way to ex­ceed­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 89 in 1991 — would have been the talk of the city, and per­haps a good part of the prov­ince.

Par­tic­u­larly in the mid­dle of a mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion cam­paign. But not any more.

Even­tu­ally ev­ery­thing, no mat­ter how hor­ri­ble, be­comes “old news” if the same sto­ries keep re­peat­ing them­selves and noth­ing re­ally changes.

The record-set­ting spike in mur­ders and gun vi­o­lence on Toronto’s streets tells only half the story, which in­cludes the many life-al­ter­ing in­juries in­no­cent vic­tims of gun vi­o­lence sus­tain.

Danielle Kane was one of 13 by­standers in­jured in the July 22 Dan­forth Av­enue shoot­ing ram­page by Faisal Hus­sain, in which he mur­dered Reese Fal­lon, 18, and Ju­lianna Kozis, 10, be­fore killing him­self.

A bul­let from Hus­sain’s gun shattered part of Kane’s spine, leav­ing her a para­plegic, but it did not break her spirit.

Un­der­go­ing phys­io­ther­apy and de­ter­mined to re­build her life, she vows not to al­low the shoot­ing to de­fine her.

She still wants to be a nurse and, re­mark­ably, for­gives Hus­sain for what he did to her.

There are no magic so­lu­tions to the grow­ing prob­lem of ur­ban street crime.

But we be­lieve two worth­while steps would be:

First, restor­ing some form of the po­lice Toronto Anti-Vi­o­lence In­ter­ven­tion Strat­egy (TAVIS.)

Sec­ond, bring­ing back street checks that do not vi­o­late the civil rights of those be­ing ques­tioned by po­lice, while al­low­ing po­lice to do their pri­mary job, which is in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing.

Now we learn that Toronto po­lice will be as­sign­ing fewer of­fi­cers to the city’s guns and gangs task force and drug squad.

The po­lice ser­vice calls it re­align­ment of re­sources as front-line of­fi­cers re­tire, re­sign or trans­fer to other units.

Toronto Po­lice As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Mike Mc­Cor­mack says it amounts to “wav­ing the white flag” in the war against gangs, guns and drugs.

Mean­while politi­cians pro­pose ban­ning hand­guns, as if that will stop the crim­i­nals.

What it sug­gests is too many of civic lead­ers have es­sen­tially thrown in the towel on this cri­sis.

Now that daily re­ports of gun vi­o­lence on our streets have be­come the new nor­mal.

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