Jack Brezina: The summer of the gun, again
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | July 26 2018|
I am sure I am not alone in my concern over the growing incidences of gun violence being experienced in Toronto. It seems a day does not go by that there isn’t a report of people being killed with a handgun. As someone who has friends and relatives in the city, it is alarming and worrisome, and while I am well aware that many of these attacks represent gang-related targeted shootings, it seems that more bystanders are being injured and killed.
Particularly troubling is the incident on June 14, when two children in a playground were injured by stray gunfire that was supposedly targeting someone else in the same park. Equally troubling is the random shooting spree this past weekend on Danforth Avenue. While, at this writing, it is too early to determine what prompted this attack, like the van rampage of April 23, the random nature of those hurt or killed, sends a chill that colours our perception of the city and the degree of security of its residents and visitors.
Many of us have enjoyed a stroll along Yonge Street, taking in the cosmopolitan character of the street, or visited the Taste of the Danforth to enjoy the delights of Greek Town. And, while the chances of being caught up in an incident such as these two are slim, it still gives one pause before considering a visit to the busy areas of the city.
While our relative distance from the gun violence seems to provide a feeling of security, we cannot slough it off as a big city problem that doesn’t touch us. Indeed, we are all impacted when these incidents occur and are splashed across the headlines. These actions erode the sense of security we all feel living in this province and country. Every time an incident like this occurs, we are all impacted, even though it may seem distant.
We all share a responsibility to our fellow citizens to bring pressure to bear on those in political power and those in authority to double down on their efforts to reduce the number of violent occurrences. I do not claim to have the answers or any magic formula to reduce these tragic events or make them go away. In fact, there are many facets to reducing these violent acts: more intense gang control efforts, stepped up handgun seizures, earlier youth interventions, greater access to mental health services and action on many other fronts is required.
Perhaps most importantly is to see this as a societal issue that requires the attention of all of us. It is certainly not just a political or police problem. These acts, random or targeted, require all of us to demand that something more than the mouthing of ritualistic platitudes be done to halt this escalation in violence.
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.