27dec05_bloodstain.jpg

Ask not WHAT but WHY?

- What has the city done to itself?-

I'd just like to put a disclaimer here: I'm NOT a politician nor do I hold any degrees in Criminology, Sociology, Anthropology ... I'm not even university educated. So the thoughts expressed here are from my gut ... but perhaps, you feel it too ...

About a week before Christmas, one of my best friends was mugged. His newly purchased prized Video iPod, that he had gone through a great deal of trouble to finally own, was snatched right out of his hands on the TTC subway. The brave soul that he is, RAN AFTER the thief and cornered him at the wrong end of the platform.

After numerous threats to my friends life was made, including the thief putting his hand in his coat pocket uttering the words, "Do you want me to pop you in the face?" The thief's final response was, "You're rich, look at you. You'll live without this!" He laughed as he ran away.

Just the DAY BEFORE, my dad came home with a page out of the National Post pinpointing the week of crime in Toronto; 52 reported incidents. So it wasn't surprising to hear that there was a shooting yesterday.

Still, it doesn't make me feel any better.

So exactly what IS the problem? Hand guns and gangs? Politicians who don't care? Is it Youth Violence or is it Youth Boredom? Far be it for me to even attempt to solve someone else's problem, but when it affects society's way of life, then we have an issue.

Hand guns and gangs are like a marriage made in hell. This has existed for years, so yes, it is a problem, but not the all encompassing issue people miss out on. In my opinion, it's the end result ... society's Darwinism.

It's incredibly callous to think politicians don't care about what's going on. Believe me, when the parties in my riding called to ask if I was going to vote, my response was, "Convince me that you are the lesser of the three evils." I don't think that it's that they don't care, I think it's that they have absolutely NO understanding of what is going on. You see, politicians, often, live in their own bubble, much like anyone of us. So their needs, are not the needs of you, who have 3 children, are a single mom and need to work 2 jobs to survive. Or you, whose mom works full-time and can't afford to send you on field trips or pay for tennis lessons you've always wanted because the rec centre in the neighbourhood closed down due to government cutbacks.

For years I've been hearing this, specifically from the community that gun violence and youth affects the most: the government cutbacks from youth programs is what has affected the now adult youths of today. The door was literally closed in their face and told to fend for themselves ... and THAT is exactly what they did.

The violence, in a way, is a result of youth boredom in impoverished and at risk communities ... especially senseless violence. This is breeding ground for pranks, anger and escalating aggression. At some point, pranks are not enough to spend ones time and so it 'tips' to say; cons and frauds. In a same way, anger with no outlet for its release, feels empowering and justified when you put a weapon in an angry person's hand.

Side note: I one time dated a guy whose mindset and answer to everything was forcing to make decisions at the barrel end of a gun. Needless to say, I don't date him anymore and thank the deities that it only took me 3 weeks to get myself as far away from him as possible.

So I believe that THAT'S the issue in why the gun violence has risen so dramatically this past year; the youth are not youth anymore ... they're adults. And nobody has ever asked them what they needed ... they've just been accustomed to taking what they can get and making the best choices from the options given to them.

What do we do about it?

Politicians certainly don't want to bite the corporate hands that feed them, and we've already taken numerous blows to health care that affects ALL of us middle class folk.

The banning of handguns and hand gun legislation is a start, but is more of a band-aid to the Tory's boo boo. Increased spending in community programs would be a great addition to guide the youth of today to become better adults in the future.

But what about the forsaken? The ones lost in evolution? I read in The Star that someone was quoted as saying the middle class of the community have an obligation to "take care of their own." While it sounds mildly elitist and perhaps even racist, it does have a major point. Only those in the community know EXACTLY what goes on ... and they also know what steps are needed to 'get out' or flourish in that environment.

Of course, what do I know? I'm not from that community and am only privy to hearsay. I just think we should stop asking "What are we going to do now?" and instead ask, "Why is this happening and what can we do to prevent it?"

Photo: The Star


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