A different approach to mass shooting tragedy

This happened a week ago in Toronto, one of the worst shootings in the city’s history:

Toronto police are concerned about possible retaliation in the wake of one of the worst incidents of gun violence in the city’s history, which left two people dead and another 23 wounded.

Shooting erupted at a block party in a Scarborough neighbourhood on Monday night, which police believe was attended by at least 100 people. The shooting left crowds of people fleeing the neighbourhood near Morningside Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East, as police arrived at the scene.

Police soon determined that two people were dead and nearly two dozen others were wounded in the spray of bullets. One person was trampled as panicked partygoers fled the scene.

Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson identified the deceased during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon as Joshua Yasay, 23, of Ajax, Ont., and Shyanne Charles, 14, of Toronto.

The news coverage had a distinctly different tone than the Aurora coverage here. News coverage included public demands for stricter gun laws, and public officials demanding that the government step in with stable funding to deal with the city’s gang problems – not just more money for police, but for community prevention efforts.

It was really disorienting, to read of public officials discussing the root causes of a problem — and sounding like they had every intention of attacking them.

I also learned that Canadians blame increasing gun violence on the easy flow of guns from… guess where?

There was also a palpable sense of mourning over the loss of Joshua Yashay, a recent criminology honors graduate who wanted to be a cop, as someone who was really going to make a difference in his community:

Pallbearers dressed in white suits carried in the casket as onlookers broke down outside the church.

“He was the type of guy that was fighting to curb this type of violence and unfortunately he got caught up in it,” said Yvette Nelson, whose daughter was a close friend of Yasay’s.

Nelson added that those affected by Yasay’s tragic death can become angry and lose perspective on the issue, by calling the shooters “senseless” and “thugs”, but added “obviously they need help.”

“We have to forgive and we have to have that compassion and we have to help them, otherwise I don’t know, maybe the killing just continues, the shootings just continue.”

You know what I didn’t find anywhere? A public figure saying that if only more people at that cookout had guns, Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay, 23, would still be alive. That was refreshing. Apparently we haven’t infected the Canadians with the wingnut virus quite that badly yet.

But they didn’t get away scot-free. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a man who’s well-funded by American conservatives, started decrying recent court decisions that struck down mandatory sentences for gun crimes.

Why I heart charter schools

Because they’re such an efficient use of taxpayer dollars:

A charter school mogul was charged today in a multimillion-dollar fraud case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dorothy June Hairston Brown, who received accolades for students’ test scores and gained notoriety for collecting large salaries and suing parents who questioned her actions, was indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

Brown, 75, and four executives from her charter schools, were charged with defrauding three charter schools of more than $6.5 million in taxpayer funds.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger announced that a federal grand jury had returned a 62-count indictment against Brown and four of her trusted employees.

Quote of the day

Stephanie Davies, who was in the Aurora movie theater and whose friend was shot:

“It’s sad for me to know that people go through so much in their life,” said Young, “that they would want to hurt, to massacre people. I feel so sorry for him, I feel so sorry.”

I would love to meet that young woman’s parents, because they did a wonderful job of raising a compassionate human being.

Site Meter