And as the jihad goes, so goes the Toronto crime scene. When nine citizens die in a single weekend in July, heaven forbid we should suggest these killings are connected to anything more specific than the very broadest of broad strata. Surveying the corpse count, Michael Bryant, Attorney General of Ontario, immediately demanded that the federal government tighten up the gun registry and make the all but total handgun ban even more totally total. Is Mr. Bryant some sort of crude animatronic prototype? The political equivalent of the talking Ken doll, capable of only a handful of robotically droned generalities? Instead of "Come on, Barbie, let's go party", the Attorney-General squeaks his new catchphrase: "No gun, no funeral."
Really? One day in the not too distant future, there will be one surviving legal gun owner in Canada - an octogenarian Newfoundland farmer who still has his grandfather's shotgun. But doubtless Mr. Bryant will be blaming him for the 20 gun deaths in TO that weekend. Despite the reflex pandering of lazy politicians, there remains no connection between legal gun ownership and murder rates. Actually, that's not true. If you look at the Top Ten countries with the lowest homicide rates, at least half of them have some of the highest gun-ownership rates in the world: Switzerland, Norway and Finland have more guns than Canada but lower crime rates.
More nuanced types recognize that neither Canadian long guns nor the modest number of legally registered Canadian handguns have anything to do with Toronto gang crime, and suggest instead that we need to crack down on guns coming in from the lawless cowboy country to the south. Well, we could try, I suppose. What level of scrutiny do you reckon would be necessary to secure a porous border strung out across thousands of miles on which 90 per cent of the Canadian economy depends? Canucks are already complaining about increased inspection times on shopping trips south, but if you want to install a huge Maple Curtain along the 49th parallel, go ahead.
And, when you've run the numbers for that project, maybe it's worth asking the Mayor of Toronto and the Attorney-General of Ontario why they cannot do the citizens of a mature democracy the courtesy of addressing the question honestly. There is no "Canadian" murder epidemic or "Ontario" murder epidemic. There is a problem within one very narrow stratum of Toronto society (as no RCMP assistant commissioner is ever likely to say). Innocent Madowo, "a former Zimbabwean journalist living in Toronto", wrote a column the other day headlined "Our Community's Scourge" - "our" meaning "black". But he does his community an injustice. It would be truer to say violent crime is the West Indian community's scourge, and truer still to say it's the Jamaican community's. In contrast to gun-infested Switzerland and Norway, Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates on the planet, and it exports its pathologies to wherever the Jamaican diaspora settles. In Britain, as in Toronto, gun crime is largely a Jamaican gang problem--"Yardies", as they call them. The only difference is that the United Kingdom has implemented to the nth degree all the policies Michael Bryant wants enacted here, and with the predictable result that the coppers would rather hassle the cranky farmer with the unlicensed shotgun than take on the rather more demanding task of going after Yardies with Uzis.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Mark Steyn on Toronto's "murder epidemic"
Mark Steyn has a recent Western Standard article up on his website called Gun Smoke. In it, he focuses his acidic wit on the handwringing going on in Toronto over the recent spate of gun violence that occurred "within one very narrow stratum of Toronto society":