TORONTO The shooting of Ephraim Brown, 11
To be black and to live in or near public housing in Toronto is to face a big risk of dying young. The fatal shooting of 11-year-old Ephraim Brown while he was riding a scooter Saturday was not an aberration. It is what the city has become.
Toronto is an unusually safe city unless a gun battle happens to break out. It can break out at any time and in any place. Bullets have flown in the Eaton Centre, the big downtown mall. They have flown outside the mall, on Yonge Street. They have flown in bars crowded with 500 people, in the downtown entertainment district and in distant suburbs. They have flown on the streets outside the bars.
But mostly they have flown in and around the public housing projects where poor, black and usually fatherless families live. Six years ago, Dudley Laws, a local activist, produced a list of 100 black people, mostly young men, who had been killed in Toronto by other black people between 1996 and 2001. Today, however, even young children are at risk.
A 15-year-old boy, Jordan Manners, was shot dead in his high school in May. An 11-year-old girl, Tamara Carter, was shot in the eye on a packed city bus three years ago. Amon Beckles, 18, was shot dead two years ago on the church steps at the funeral of his best friend, Jamal Hemmings, 17, who had also been fatally shot. A four-year-old boy, Shaquan Cadougan, was shot in the knee two years ago. All of those shooting victims were black. And in numerous other incidents, bullets whizzed over the heads of children at play. But for good luck, there would have been many more Ephraim Browns.
The research shows that Ephraim's death is not an isolated incident.
Black residents in Toronto are murdered at a far greater rate than non-black Torontonians: roughly 10 victims for every 100,000 people, compared with just two non-black victims, according to research by University of Toronto criminologist Rosemary Gartner, covering the years 1992 to 2003. Homicide victims are younger than in the past, more apt to be shot than before and more likely to be killed in public spaces. (Seventy-five per cent of homicides occur in places such as parking lots and bars, up from 50 per cent in the 1990s.) Toronto has undertaken a variety of useful responses: setting up four 18-member police squads that blitz high-crime areas on foot, creating extra social programs, and keeping schools open for summer programs. But the underlying problem of large, poor, fatherless families, alienated teens and a gangster culture transplanted in part from Jamaica is sinking its roots into Toronto, and will not soon let go.
Read it all here.
These kinds of news reports need the obligatory "not all immigrants from (fill in the blank...)" and so I'll say it: Not all immigrants from Jamaica are criminals. That may be true but the Jamaican cultural norm of the fatherless family and the matriarchal household of single mothers with children by different fathers is alive and well in Toronto and these kinds of households are sometimes the roots of many of the social ills affecting that community which inevitably spreads out to society as a whole in the form of random acts of violence and the death of innocents.
It's the American's fault, of course, that these Jamaican immigrants or their children act the way they do because the Americans export illegal firearms to Canada. So there is the expected call for a ban on all firearms, yet again. When this is finally achieved then Canada will see an increase in murders by machete attacks.
When you import people from a failed state like Jamaica, how do you expect them to behave here in Canada? Why do you think Montreal has a problem with Haitian gangs? Until these countries can get their acts together Canada needs to stop importing their people because they apparently bring their respective countries' social ills with them and are therefore unfit to be called Canadians.