On Boxing Day (Dec 26), with downtown Yonge St. crowded with shoppers looking for a bargain, rival gang members opened fire on each other, injuring several shoppers, and killing one of them.
The 15-year-old victim of the Boxing Day shooting was Jane Creba, a Grade 10 student, police said Wednesday.
Creba was a star student and athlete and will be remembered as a loving and caring soul with a cheerful open heart, said a statement by the family. As I scoured the various news reports for an identity to the
A suspect is placed under arrest.
If there is a major terrorist attack, the first thought that comes to any mind is that a 'Muslim' is responsible. Similarly, if there is any shooting incident in Toronto, the suspect is almost all cases will be black.
As usual, the blogosphere was quick to comment upon the case. One Canadian commentator described two black gangs fighting, even though such a description is not to be found from either the police or the press. Another said the government should be voted out of power, so Stephen Harper can come and clean up our immigration system. As if all crime is the fault of immigrants. These gang members are probably Canadians by birth.
I can admit that the first thought to come into my mind is that somehow black culture is a gun culture and is responsible for it. Almost immediately I banished that thought. As a Muslim I am used to people assuming certain things about 'Muslim culture', and blaming the whole community for the action of a few bad apples. Just as Muslims range from all cultures, so do blacks. There is no such thing as a specific black culture. Black Canadians who have immigrated to Canada from African countries in recent times, for example Nigeria or Somalia, are very different from black Canadians from Jamaica, for example. The music industry promotes black culture as hip-hop, drugs, scantily clad girls and guns, whereas black culture as a whole is far richer than that (think jazz, blues, crafts and so on). The media always focuses on the crimes committed by a minority of black people, while it is understood that most black people are just engaged in common, every day activities and pursuit of happiness.
I can make such a statement and not tarnish the whole black community with the same brush as I am a Muslim, I have first hand experience of how it is. What about those who have no black friends, or have never met any black person, or has never faced any discrimination? I can tell you I have heard first hand comments from some people who have no qualms about saying it is a gun culture 'down there', and so on. People are afraid of what is not their own. Black people have a unique way of styling their hair, or wearing bandannas, or different taste in music, and others are afraid of those differences.
I was happy to see both Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP leader Jack Layton talk about such crimes being a product of 'exclusion'. Somehow I think Stephen Harper's get tough on crime approach will play better with voters. I wish I could combine both their approaches.
We must give justice to Jane Creba. Those who commit such acts of terrorism must be punished, and given such a strict punishment that it deters other people from picking up a gun in the first place. Tougher laws need to be made and enforced, including mandatory punishment for having an illegal gun, or committing crimes with guns. On the other side, social programs need to be implemented so that underprivileged kids have a choice. Parents must play a role. Young single mothers in particular need to ensure their kids are getting proper attention and moral guidance. The government must help people climb up the social ladder, by a) providing support for mothers so they don't have to work a lot and can be at home caring for their children and b) forcing the father of the kids to play a role in their upbringing. Religious leaders have to emphasize that a materialistic approach to life is not the best one, as well as warn young people who want to enjoy sexual relations without any thought to any of the consequences of the result of such a live-in relationship.
Police try to direct Boxing Day shoppers away from the crime scene.
Tags: Jane Creba Toronto Boxing Day Shooting Black culture