2003-08-12 15:20:44 UTC
>As the plague spreads northward...
>Guns, gangs and race
>By MARGARET WENTE
>Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - Page A15
>Yesterday, I opened my morning papers to read yet another dreadful
>story about gunplay in Toronto. Late Saturday, a bunch of drive-by
>shooters opened fire in a townhouse complex where a children's
>birthday party was in progress. The people they were shooting at shot
>back. Four men were injured. Luckily, no children were killed.
>Black-on-black gun violence has been big news in this city for months.
>So a curious reader might have wondered if this incident was more of
>the same. Alas, the curious reader was left to guess. Neither The
>Globe and Mail nor the Toronto Star included any information on the
>shooters or their victims, or described the ethnic makeup of the
>townhouse complex where the shootings happened.
>This scrupulous omission of certain facts is not unusual. Last week,
>an ugly street brawl broke out on Yonge Street in the wee hours of the
>morning. Several people opened fire at random, and when the police
>appeared the crowd pelted them with bottles and insults. Why was there
>a big crowd on Yonge Street at 3 a.m.? Was the melee in any way
>connected with the Caribana festival that weekend? Inquiring minds
>were left to guess.
>In fact, the townhouse complex is populated by Caribbean blacks and
>East Africans, including a substantial number of Somalis. The angry
>crowd on Yonge Street was largely Caribbean. But in these times of
>excruciating sensitivity about crime, race and ethnic origins, certain
>facts are deemed to be irrelevant. Or maybe it's that anyone who
>mentions them will be accused of ethnic smears.
>Jan Harder found that out the hard way. She's an Ottawa city
>councillor who represents a middle-class suburb with a growing crime
>problem. Teenage gangs from outside the neighbourhood have been
>swarming the local kids and shaking them down for jackets, cash and
>alcohol. They carry knives or baseball bats.
>After a 23-year-old man was assaulted and slashed with a knife, Ms.
>Harder decided to speak out. "The problem arises when a large group of
>-- I'm going to say it -- non-whites comes into our community looking
>to cause trouble," she told a local weekly paper. And with that, the
>waste matter hit the rotating blades.
>"Those remarks are racist, there's no ifs, ands or buts," fumed city
>councillor Alex Cullen. "To categorize [gang problems] in racist terms
>is misleading and counterproductive." A group called the Visible
>Minority Action committee called for her resignation and reported her
>to the police hate-crimes unit. The equity and diversity advisory
>committee for the City of Ottawa declared that her comments "caused a
>lot of pain and anguish," and demanded a retraction.
>"I was asked to retract my comments, but I didn't, because they were
>true," Ms. Harder told me. She has a lot of sympathy for Bob Runciman,
>the Ontario cabinet minister being blasted for saying some black
>activists have a "vested interest" in maintaining tensions with the
>Yet, in a way, Ms. Harder's comments shed more heat than light. What
>did she mean by "non-white"? It was a mystery to everyone but her
>constituents, who say teenage Somali males are to blame for the
>swarmings. And so Ms. Harder, loathe to demonize one single ethnic
>group, instead tarnished dozens of them.
>Somali gang behaviour is a problem in both Ottawa and Toronto. What
>are the root causes? Naturally, that depends on whom you ask. Some
>people blame those old reliables, poverty and racism. But there are
>other explanations. Somali kids come from immigrant families who
>arrived as refugees, speak little English, and are unfamiliar with
>Canadian values. War has left the families fragmented and often
>fatherless. But because Somali women have low status, mothers often
>can't control their sons, whose aggression and contempt for the law
>are partly rooted in both culture and religion. "They feel that since
>they're in Canada, they have open access to whatever they want,"
>community worker Mohamoud Hagi-Aden told the Ottawa Citizen. "They
>feel entitled to it, and they don't feel they necessarily have to work
>In Toronto, we suffer from a similar linguistic vagueness. We have a
>mythical "black community" that is said to suffer from racial
>profiling and police discrimination, and also seems to have high rates
>of violent crime. Yet the gang problem is not Ghanaian or Nigerian,
>Trinidadian or Barbadian or St. Lucian. It's overwhelmingly Jamaican.
>And despite a steady stream of grieving mothers pleading for leads to
>killers who gun down their sons, no one will co-operate with the
>In fact, the gang problems in Toronto, Ottawa and other cities aren't
>a race problem at all. They are an immigration-control problem, an
>illegal-handgun problem, a drug-crimes problem, a fatherlessness
>problem, and a problem of certain specific subcultures.
>We're afraid to tell the truth because we don't want to demonize the
>innocent. But unless we dare to speak up, solutions will remain very
>hard to come by.
So the destruction begins. One the indigenous black population hits
about 5%, the crime rate will have doubled, the white exodus will
begin, and Toronto & Ottawa will spiral downward into just another
bombed-out crime-ridden ghetto. You may thank the Liberal party (esp.
Shiela Copps) for that. They see immigrants as automatic liberal
votes. Liberals will stop at nothing to win, even it means the
complete destruction of the nation (which they've already been working
on for decades, btw.) I hope they are proud of their latest