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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Loss of Innocence...? WHAT "Innocence"...?

Mourners have laid flowers and they have also lit candles at the site of Monday's shooting in downtown Toronto. A 15 year-old girl died there, the victim of a randomly shot bullet. Two rival groups of youths were busy shooting at each other amidst the crowd, see...? Street gangs no longer meet in parks for knife fights where anything goes... They have guns now. Times are achangin indeed...
Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou (why do I think of Kojak when I say his name?) of the Toronto Police Service (TPS? But... that's the French for... GST! Well, we know where our tax money goes...) was quoted saying that Toronto had "finally lost its innocence".
What - only now it did? Or rather is it only now that the Detective Sargent has noticed...? It sure took a lot then... Guns ablazin; hoodlums, as he called them himself, endangering everyone on the street... But that is the official time of "loss of innocence", Savas my good man - that is the culmination of it! Innocence has gone out the window a long time ago - in Toronto, in Buffalo, in Chicago, in El Paso... EVERYWHERE! A little taste of anarchy now is the result of it - not "it" per say. Crime is out of control - most criminals are out and about, not behind bars...
What is more mind-boggling about this, is the fact that Canada is supposed to have GUN LAWS... yet all the hoodlums have their own "piece" anyway! Canada is not any better than the United States then! What GOOD are those restrictive gun laws anyway? Everyone that does not have a permit and should not be carrying a weapon HAS ONE AND USES IT TOO! Even in Laval, Québec - Pépin, the guy who shot the female police officer fatally, owned rifles without any permit for such a high caliber weapon. His neighbours had no idea he had such an armory in his apartment! Your own neighbours could be packing a whole lot of firepower and you just don't know it! Nowadays, we don't know who we can argue in relative safety with! Fisticuffs used to be the worst-case scenario of an argument deevolving into barbaric behaviour - and no one dies of that (usually - there have been exceptions) - but now, one shouting match could get you a bullet in the head.
Alas, some bite the bullet without even having said a word - such as that 15 year-old girl who was simply out hunting the bargains advertised for Boxing Day. She was at the wrong place, at the wrong time... that bullet had her name on it... whatever cliché you want to use here, likely applies. Nowadays, teens are hardly as innocent as they used to be a mere few decades ago - but if there was any innocence lost there, it was the innocent bystander aged fifteen who lost her life last Monday.
And she was not the only one who was lost, as we know, in this year that some have dubbed the Year of the Gun.

Just in case - if the link has gone dead (and it eventually will) - the source article...

T.O. shootings take city's 'innocence': Officer News Staff

Up to 15 people were involved in a Boxing Day shootout among hundreds of shoppers on the sidewalks of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto.

"They were just set upon by these hoodlums, that's the only way I can describe these people," Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou of the Toronto Police Service said Tuesday.

He also offered this sombre opinion: "Toronto has finally lost its innocence. I think we're going to feel this day for a long time to come."

Two men are in custody, but no charges have been laid by police in the incident that killed one person and wounded six others.

At a morning press conference, Kyriacou confirmed that two men were arrested a short time after the shooting at the city's Castle Frank subway station.

"Those two people are being investigated at this point," he said. "We are still trying to determine what, if any, role they played in this incident. Charges have not been laid as yet. During the arrest, a handgun was seized from one of the people arrested."

The shooting took place on Toronto's busy Yonge Street shopping area just north of the Eaton Centre. Kyriacou said two groups of youths began shooting at each other, sending crowds of shoppers diving for cover.

A 15-year-old girl was killed as gunmen sprayed the area with bullets. An off-duty police officer was among those wounded. The injured officer did not require hospitalization, while at least two of the other five victims taken to hospital were in serious condition.

"It's an act of callousness and an act of cowardice that individuals would come down on our streets, take out guns and put so many innocent people at risk, resolving their disputes by engaging gunfire ... a day when so many people come down into the city," Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said.

Police will be combing through video surveillance tapes from cameras in the area to piece together what happened.

There have been two other shootings in the area this year:

In late July, a man died after being shot in a crowd of about 1,000 people at Dundas Square, despite a heavy police presence, and
In April, three were wounded after a gunman opened fire on the same stretch of street where Monday's shootings occurred.
There have been 78 murders in Toronto this year, including a record 52 by gunfire.

The rash of gun violence has politicians at all levels of government expressing their outrage.

In a written statement, Mayor David Miller said he is saddened and angered by what he called "a brazen act of senseless violence."

Premier Dalton McGuinty also issued a statement saying he is angered by the shootings, and that he wants to work with all levels of government to "stop the tide of gun violence."

Prime Minister Paul Martin, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton also made statements on the incident.

Meanwhile, leaders from Toronto youth organizations are expressing their outrage over the shooting and calling on their peers to do their part to stop the violence.

"Youth need to be empowered, the community needs to take action and we need to stand together if we want to see the violence end," Kofi Hope, president of the Black Youth Coalition Against Violence, said in a written statement. "It can't only be politicians who speak, youth voices must be heard too."

Representatives from the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the Black Youth Coalition Against Violence, Justice4Jeffery and Regent Park FOCUS held a press conference at Toronto's City Hall on Tuesday, to urge their peers to curb violence on the city streets.

"Youth need to stand up and take responsibility for communicating a message of anti-violence to those youth who are in trouble," said Saeed Selvam, director of Youth-Police Relations for the Toronto Youth Cabinet.

"Shootings are happening where we live, work, play and go to school -- a rock hard action plan needs to be set out if we want to control violence and help youth at risk."

Selvam also said: "Somebody asked me is this the crisis point. No. The crisis point was reached a long time ago and this is what it's come to -- an innocent bystander being hit, which is ridiculous. A 15-year-old girl? It's just too much."

With a report from CTV's Scott Laurie and files from The Canadian Press
At least the director of Youth-Police Relations for the Toronto Youth Cabinet acknowledges that this is not the crisis point - we are, of course, PAST the crisis point.

Crime rates have been going up - and even when they appear to be "under control", that is so misleading... Youth gangs have been a problem for a VERY LONG TIME...

Maybe Det. Sgt. Telly Savalas there has been with his head stuck in the sand or something... all this time...?
Yes I was shocked today when they said that it was an east end gang fight that killed this poor young girl and injured 5 others. What is our world coming to when you have to be scared to shop? Year of the gun sure says it all for this city and many others I am sure.

Many (((hugs)))
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