by Lorrie Goldstein
Shame on us if we don’t do something about this cancer of gun crime on our streets.
Shame on us if we don’t demand our politicians, on both the left and right, put their usual BS aside and act.
Politicians on the left must stop pretending that harassing law-abiding hunters, target shooters and gun collectors by reviving the long gun registry or imposing bullet bans, has anything to do with stopping gangsters, armed with illegal handguns, fighting over turf and drugs on our streets.
Politicians on the right must stop pretending the social problems which lead to gangs — racism, poverty, unemployment — can be addressed solely by toughening the justice system.
Politicians on both the right and the left must end their politically correct and cowardly silence about the roots of most gang crime — the disproportionately high breakdown of the nuclear family in the black community and the alarming number of absentee fathers.
(Yes, there have been other types of street shootings in Toronto, like the recent one in Little Italy, but let’s not kid the troops. Regardless of the ethnicity of the shooter or shooters in this latest tragedy, our big problem is black gangs.)
We must demand judges use the laws and sentences we already have — we don’t need new ones — so that gangsters do real time and, pending trial, aren’t out on bail before the police have completed the paperwork in charging them.
We must demand our governments provide enough Crown attorneys, courtrooms, detention facilities and prisons, so that the justice system isn’t perpetually on the verge of imploding due to overcrowding, necessitating the constant use of plea bargains, easy bail and early parole.
Fighting urban street gangs has never been about only being tough on crime or only spending money on social programs.
It’s about doing both effectively, which doesn’t mean building more basketball courts.
It means funding programs with a proven record of building up the nuclear family — such as those now offered independently by many black evangelical churches that emphasize sexual restraint, delayed gratification, marriage, self-esteem, financial and family planning.
Why don’t we fund them, instead of wasting billions on eHealth, Ornge and green energy scandals?
That said, effectively fighting urban street crime will cost us more money, both to build more prisons and to provide more support for kids living in vulnerable communities.
That’s why we should give the Toronto school board the power to tax again — subject to annual audits by the provincial auditor general — to ensure the money is actually helping kids who need it, instead of being blown installing electrical outlets at $3,000 a pop.
Right now, as the death and injury toll mounts, all we’re getting is the same old platitudes — it matters not if the mayor is Rob Ford or David Miller, or who the police chief is — about Toronto being a safe city.
Big deal. As if the only thing we should care about is that Toronto has a lower homicide rate than Detroit.
As if all that matters is that “statistically” crime is going down — as it has been all over North America since the early 1990s — for the primarily demographic reason that as our population ages, the percentage of young males most apt to commit crime also drops, thus “lowering” the crime rate.
So what? What comfort is that to the families of the dead and wounded?
We need to fight for the Toronto many of us remember — Toronto the Good — where street gunfights between gangsters shooting it out without regard to their own lives or anyone else’s simply didn’t happen, whereas today they are daily occurrences.
And if, ultimately, we don’t care enough to demand real solutions from our politicians, because, after all, it’s just a bunch of gang bangers shooting each other — no matter how many innocent bystanders they kill or wound on Danzig Street or at the Eaton Centre — then, truly, shame on us.