Were the Toronto news media trying to make a point the other day? They were switching from the funeral of the young man killed in a gunfight at a recent barbeque to a meeting at Queen’s park about gun violence in Toronto. The three blind mice were there: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
When considering these three men, it is very important not to confuse ignorance with stupidity. No member of this trio is stupid. They are all intelligent men. Many people confuse Rob Ford’s brashness and the ignorance of many of the things he says for stupidity. This is a mistake. The man is very smart. He knows his constituents and he plays to them. If he turns you off, so what? You probably did not vote for him two years ago. Watch him a year and a half from now. He might decide to win another term and it is likely he can.
Bill Blair also plays his role on the civic stage. He has all the wiles and charm of a highly successful con artist. He has the police services board securely under his thumb. He poses for the news media. He is a cop’s cop. He brings no new ideas or openness to policing in Toronto. And it is at a time when the city is in need of solutions.
And, as for Dalton McGuinty, the man does not even belong at the table. When you consider the brain power available to him and the resources at his fingertips, he was probably laughing at Ford and Blair having to come to see him. He promised them nothing and he gave them nothing. The only concession was that funding for the extra police for the anti-violence program will be allowed to continue. Ford figured that was all he was going to get so he treated it as a win.
What these three men and their many aides and acolytes need to understand is that Toronto does not have a huge gun problem.
But Toronto still has a gangs and guns problem that has to be contained.
Containing young gangs and keeping guns off the street takes a multiplicity of actions. You have to offer our youth more than malls to hang out. You have to give them opportunities in their community. You have to make sure they can get jobs. You have to give them pride in their community. Give them pride in themselves.
And if the federal government is going to so ignorantly let the border leak guns from America then get ahead of it. Offer to teach youth about guns. Give them a place to shoot. Teach them that hoods are the dorks and only use guns because they lack the manhood.
The reason Toronto does not have a larger guns and violence problem is because it has a basically law abiding citizenry. Toronto is a great city. It is a peaceful city. The city needs to keep building on what is great about it.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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