What happened yesterday was appalling. You just don’t expect it in a Canadian city It’s a sign that the lack of gun laws in the U.S. is allowing guns to flood across the border that are literally being used to kill people in the streets of Toronto.
- Toronto Mayor David Miller
Gun violence is deplorable wherever it happens. Here in the US, it’s something that we have sadly grown accustomed to. Yes, killing one another with handguns is an inalienable and Constitutionally-guaranteed American right- just ask anyone who’s tried to mess with the Second Amendment, only to come face-to-face with the awesome, unspeakable power that is the National Rifle Association.
Most other countries in the civilized world are not nearly so sanguine about senseless gun-related violence, though anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that it is becoming more prevalent. So, what’s a relatively peaceful country to do when faced with a seeming epidemic of the poor and desperate committing violent, murderous acts with the aid of illegally-obtained handguns? Well, if you’re Canada, you do what you nomally do when bad things happen- you blame the United States. Yes, it’s not bad enough that American products and television show have taken over a country in which something like 60% of Canadians live within 50 miles of the US border. It’s not bad enough that so many Canadian hockey players are exiled to far-flung outposts like Columbus, Phoenix, and Nashville. Now it would seem that we slimy, underhanded Americans have discovered that there is a market in Canada for senseless violence…and where there is a demand, you know there will be an American looking to make a few bucks off meeting that demand, eh?
Of course, it’s certainly easier to blame America for your problems than it is to figure out what to do about them, no? Indeed….
TORONTO, Ontario (AP) — Canadian officials, seeking to make sense of another fatal shooting in what has been a record year for gun-related deaths, said Tuesday that along with a host of social ills, part of the problem stemmed from what they said was the United States exporting its violence.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Toronto Mayor David Miller warned that Canada could become like the United States after gunfire erupted Monday on a busy street filled with holiday shoppers, killing a 15-year-old girl and wounding six bystanders — the latest victims in a record surge in gun violence in Toronto….
Miller said Toronto, a city of nearly three million, is still very safe compared to most American cities, but the illegal flow of weapons from the United States is causing the noticeable rise in gun violence.
“The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto,” he said.
Miller said that while almost every other crime in Toronto is down, the supply of guns has increased and half of them come from the United States.
Miller said the availability of stolen Canadian guns is another problem, and that poverty in certain Toronto neighborhoods is a root cause.
“There are neighborhoods in Toronto where young people face barriers of poverty, discrimination and don’t have real hope and opportunity. The kind of programs that we once took for granted in Canada that would reach out to young people have systematically disappeared over the past decade and I think that gun violence is a symptom of a much bigger problem,” Miller said.
I won’t argue that the flow of illegal handguns from the US is a frightening and very real problem. And I certainly won’t argue that there is an election campaign taking place in Canada, and demonizing America is a hell of a lot easier than working to solve Canada’s indigenous problems. Until and unless Canada addresses the problems of poverty within it’s own borders, and until and unless it addresses the inadequacy of it’s own border (in)security, Canadian politicians attempting to blame the US for their own problems only smacks of demagoguery…never mind a complete lack of originality.
Certainly, many of Canada’s problems are aggravated by having the US to it’s south. Nonetheless, if Canadians are willing to accept and pay for our products and our music, movies, and television shows, their politicians ought to stop their whining and get their own house in order.
I sincerely hope that Canada doesn’t become the new home for American-style handgun violence. Canadians and their government have it within their power to take the actions necessary to ensure that this doesn’t become an established reality. It’s going to mean doing the hard work to address and fix their own problems- NOT blame the US for all the bad things that happen to them. After all, unless I’m missing something here, it wasn’t an American who pulled the trigger in Toronto’s Boxing Day shootings. It was a Canadian.