While we were browsing Toronto Life‘s newly-blogless website, we got all excited to see that August’s print edition will contain an item by Carl Wilson about Fauxreel and “the murky world of profitable graffiti.” But we couldn’t help but notice the magazine’s presumptive cover story: an article about how “violent crime is migrating downtown,” our “acclimatization to it,” and how “Toronto is learning to live with the gun.”
We’ll have to wait a bit before the entirety of the article’s available, but a preliminary look at some statistics for the past few years is all it takes to undermine the story’s entire premise. The Star‘s newly-rejigged interactive homicide map shows no such migration of homicides downtown from 2005 to 2008. Neither do the Toronto Police’s year-to-date statistics for shootings and homicides, which also show that every month from April this year on has had fewer shootings than the same months in 2006 and 2007, and that there have been fewer homicides so far this year than at the same point in the last two years. The data warrants both a closer and broader look, which we’ll be doing soon. But it’d be hard to disagree with Eye‘s editorial about gun violence, written in the wake of Dylan Ellis and Oliver Martin’s deaths, which sought to emphasize that “as paranoia seems on the verge of taking hold…Toronto’s streets are not an obstacle course of gunfire.” What happened, Eye wrote, “should make us sad. It should make us angry. But it does not need to make us afraid.”
Toronto Life, then, is on to something: we should never become acclimatized to gun violence in Toronto. But we also shouldn’t ever become acclimatized to being told that we’re “learning to live with the gun” when the evidence shows that “the gun” is on the way out—if it was ever prevalent at all.
Photo by Tigresblanco.