By Louis March
Seven shootings in six days, with two fatalities. That was the tally in Toronto last week, and not one word of concern heard from political leaders at all three levels of government.
Over the past three years, we have seen an almost 100 per cent increase in gun homicides and incidents in Toronto along with many un-reported shootings as they have become” normalized ” in some communities.
We continue to see traumatized families and communities with many people’s lives permanently impacted by lost loved ones as demonstrated by the August 19 march and rally from City Hall to Queens Park, organized by Zero Gun Violence Movement and Communities for Zero Violence. This was an attempt to deliver a loud and clear message to political leaders that we do have a gun violence crisis in Toronto.
Zero Gun Violence Movement has already requested that Mayor John Tory immediately organize an anti-gun violence forum to bring all the many stake-holders to the table and challenge them to acknowledge the crisis and then find solutions.
Why is it still easier for some people in some communities to access guns rather than access jobs? This is a question that political leaders do not want to address. Why are we seeing more guns on the streets, higher caliber guns being used in criminal activity and younger people using them in brazen day-time shootings?
Like the drug overdose crisis in which all political leaders were quick to respond, the gun violence crisis must also be addressed with the same leadership, courage and commitment. The politicians must be held accountable to all citizens and not only to a few.
We can do better. We must hold our political leaders responsible for their in-action.
(Louis March is the founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement.)