Toronto gun violence becomes new normal
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.