Toronto Star

Police need to have cooler heads


Re Peel police won’t ID cop who took knife, July 23 Jermaine Carby was shot for allegedly brandishin­g a 13-centimetre serrated knife; that’s a bit longer than my steak knife. Earlier this month, Andrew Loku was shot by police while holding a hammer. Before them were Sammy Yatim and Robert Dziekanski.

The police are trained to de-escalate volatile situations. It’s their job to have cool heads under such circumstan­ces, and they are equipped with bulletproo­f vests, batons and guns. I am appalled that, despite all this, they apparently won’t risk even minor bodily harm to spare the life of a suspect. Imagine if firefighte­rs refused to saved people because they might get burned?

We consider firefighte­rs heroes for risking their lives to save ours. It’s little wonder that fewer and fewer citizens consider the police to be heroes. Karen Wendling, Guelph The family of Andrew Loku is now in the same situation as the family of Sammy Yatim. While these families are right to demand apologies from the police for such irreversib­le wrongs, we as a society need to know much, much more.

What if both police officers, for example, felt compelled to draw their pistols, but if neither had planned on firing them? What if semi-automatic pistols, the weapons of SWAT teams that also use semi-automatic rifles, are simply too lively for first-response officers to carry at their sides? What then, in a society where such weapons are becoming a commonplac­e, not just among criminals and inner-city youths, but among civilians who collect them and enjoy firing them at gun-range targets?

No matter who forms the next government, everything we think we know about firearms must be re-examined.

Here in Toronto, a security guard drew his semi on two Caucasian men causing trouble, and now both of them are dead. A double murder/multiple wounding in northern Maine failed to even make the Canadian papers. The shooter got his gun by breaking into another man’s car.

Canadians need to awaken from our deep slumber about guns and what they mean for the fabric of society, lest the NRA and their close friends in the Canadian gun lobby and government change our safe and open society for the worse. Ron Charach, Toronto Once again, our full-service ( judge, jury and executione­r) police department reminds us all that mental illness is a capital crime in Toronto. Jim Conchie, Toronto

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