Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tough day in Toronto

As you may know if you follow Toronto events, there was a drive-by shooting in the downtown -- at King and Peter.  This was almost like a hit out of the movies, where a car pulled up to another car and somebody shot a dozen shots into the other car.  The man that was shot died of his injuries.  This is a truly shocking elevation of the occasional gang violence that simmers beneath the surface in Toronto.  I would say there is less of this happening here than in Surrey for instance, but a day-time shooting downtown is really taking it to a new level.  I work only a few blocks away and we heard about this just as we were leaving.

Cynics, particularly cynical Americans, will just say this proves how useless it is to restrict handguns, since then only the criminals will have them.  I will never agree with that line of thought.  Having guns out of general circulation is a good thing in my view, since it means that people that "snap" (and boy there are a lot of people in that category in these challenging times) don't have easy access to a lethal weapon.  Also it doesn't hurt that in general Canadians are a bit more civilized and less prone to settling arguments with violence than Americans.  (Again, I am not saying that stupid, drunken fights don't break out all the time in Canada, but it is still less prevalent than in the U.S. and they are so rarely fatal up here.)  Basically, Canada would be much better enforcing its gun laws if it didn't border one of the most gun-happy (or really gun-crazed) countries on the entire planet.

One of the events that I do expect to cover in my novel (but not the stage adaptation) is how the infamous murder at Just Desserts cafe in 1994 really unsettled the city.  A few stories about the case are here and here.  (It even made it into an academic article, which is unfortunately behind a paywall.)  A weird twist is that one defendant was acquitted but then murdered in Jamaica a few years later after being deported there.  What made this case so difficult -- along with the even more sensational Eaton Centre shooting -- is that it feeds directly into the narrative that most of the truly violent crime in Toronto (and certainly the random violent crime that intrudes on the "nice" downtown districts) is committed by visible minorities.  I'm not sure that it is true, but it feels true, and that is always enough to get people riled up and taking a hard line about changing immigration laws and even deporting people.  I don't really have an answer, other than I think it is completely ridiculous that anyone in Toronto is foolish enough to adopt U.S. ghetto culture or think it is something to aspire to and yet that is clearly happening.

Ok, enough about that.  I put in another couple of hours at work and then left.  I was on the subway at Bay and Bloor when they announced there was a medical emergency on the train ahead (at Yonge) and we just sat and waited and waited and waited.  I didn't even have a book with me, but I did clear out 4 newspapers that I had stashed in my briefcase.  I guess the good news was that it probably was someone actually sick on the subway and not a suicide.  I don't want to be too cold-hearted, but I can't understand why they can't find a way to address these incidents better (maybe even stationing a medical team permanently at Bloor-Yonge and perhaps the Eaton Centre -- or if that was unfeasible ensuring that the station agents at those locations had extra medical training/certification, though I know that would raise their salaries even further).   Anyway, it took a solid 15 and perhaps even 20 minutes to get the trains moving again (and absolutely no one could cross the city east to west on the subway during that time).  That is a huge hit on people's time to say nothing of lost productivity, though I suppose it was a bit after the PM rush hour.  Then I managed to just miss the bus after I got back to Pape, so I was in a bit of a state when I finally got home.

I think some of this generalized anxiety has sunken in, as I had a deeply distressing dream where I was pulled in 4 or 5 directions and managed to disappoint a lot of people who were waiting on me.  (That's hitting a bit too close to my actual life as a consultant...)

But today's a new day and I am going to try to be upbeat.  I figured out why I couldn't get the outdoor outlet turned on, and now we have Christmas lights in the tree in the front lawn.  I just need another strand of lights -- and some duct tape that will actually keep its stickiness outside in the cold, so as to keep people from tripping over the cord.  I also tracked down a receipt, so I can return a book that was purchased twice.  And I managed to get my daughter into skating lessons and will go pick up some skates I found on Kijiji this weekend (probably tomorrow).  So it looks like the weekend will be a bit better -- than yesterday at any rate.

No comments:

Post a Comment