Back in 2005 or 2006, a bunch of us rented one of those over-the-road sleepers and drove to Buffalo to see a Bills versus Dolphins football game. We got to the stadium, scalped some tickets and I found myself sitting upstairs behind three guys who had driven down from Hamilton earlier in the day.
During halftime, a small plane flew over the stadium pulling an advertising banner for some gun shop in Buffalo. One of the guy from Canada poked his friends and said, “You know you’re in the United States when you see someone advertising a store that sells guns.” They all laughed.
Used to be that the United States was a place with lots of gun violence and Canada had little or none. Used to be the case. Not true anymore.
This year the city of Toronto recorded more fatal and non-fatal shootings in the entire modern era with the exception of one other year, which was last year. So far this year there have been 214 people killed or injured with guns. Last year, the final number of killed and wounded was – ready? – 495.
I thought the only gun you can own in Canada is some old shotgun or hunting gun. I thought that Canada was a ‘model’ for what our gun-control advocates would like to achieve down here.
The gun-violence issue in Toronto goes back to 2005, when a battle between two street gangs on Boxing Day resulted in the death of a fifteen-year old girl and injuries to six other young men and kids. So, the Toronto cops launched TAVIS, a.k.a., Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, a nice-sounding euphemism which basically means put extra police in locations where guns keep going off.
These locations are in what we now politely refer to as ‘underserved’ neighborhoods, which we used to call ghettos, or what back in my childhood were referred to as ‘slums.’ The TAVIS program resulted in less than 30 victims being shot and killed in 2011, the number had been 80 gun-homicides back in 2005.
Know what Toronto did with this program in 2014? They closed it down. Why did the city close it down? Because there was too much talk and bad publicity about the fact that the only neighborhoods being patrolled were neighborhoods which happened to be Black.
So now Toronto is right back to where it was before the TAVIS program was put into effect. Residents of Toronto, nearly all of them residents of the ‘underserved’ neighborhoods, are getting gunned down all the time. And if you can’t flood these hot corners with cops because that’s a racist response, what can you do?
The answer to this problem may have been provided by a story that has just appeared in that online gun magazine which refers to itself as always maintaining ‘editorial independence,’ a.k.a., The Trace. The particular article is about the growth of a new gun organization, the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA), which claims to have more than 40,000 members, with ‘thousands’ joining in the last year.
Why do people join this group? According to the head of the Chicago chapter, they join for different reasons, but they all want to “exercise their 2nd-Amendment right.” And what is it about the 2nd Amendment which is beginning to catch on amongst Blacks? It’s the “pandemic, police brutality and civil unrest” which is fueling the growth of the NAAGA.
I have no problem with Blacks thinking they are making themselves safer by walking around with a gun. If they want to believe the same stupid nonsense that many White gun nuts want to believe, they can go right ahead and believe. They can even explain those beliefs to a reporter from The Trace. That’s their 1st-Amendment right.
My problem is with the tone of the reportage, which is different than the tone I have been getting from The Trace in their stories about the increase in gun sales over the past year. Those stories clearly associate increased gun sales with more injuries and deaths. So how come when Blacks arm themselves, the potential for increased gun violence isn’t mentioned at all?