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Friday, December 30, 2005

Boxing Day Blood Bath

That is the title that the media has given to the shoot out on Yonge Street in Toronto on Boxing Day. When I read headlines like that I think of the Valentine's Day massacre and Bloody Sunday. Two incidents that claimed lives. The difference is that those incidents were far away and/or long ago. The Boxing Day Blood Bath happened here. In the city of my birth and the city in which I raise my children. And it happened only days ago. That in itself is terrifying. What makes it heart wrenching is that a beautiful, funny and talented little girl lost her life in the crossfire. Someone so young and with everything ahead of her. A soul with the promise of contributing good to this world and leaving a positive mark on it.

I cried for her mother the other day, as I read the "day after" articles in the Toronto Sun. Why? Because as a mother myself, I know that my heart and soul would ache and cry for a very long time at losing one of my children. I have not felt that agony but in imagining only a small portion of it I ache too. Afterall, There but for the grace of God go I.

Jane Creba, her mother, her father, her sister and brother need justice. As I write this I hope that those that know what really happened do not remain silent. We as a city need to take our lives and streets back. We need to stand up and say YOU WILL NOT SCARE ME. You will not take my freedom through violence and fear. And if you contribute to criminality, we will turn you in. We will not tolerate our city falling to ruin. Jane's death needs to not be in vain. And in her tragic end we must find something to begin a new. Something that can be attributed to her.

We do not need another gun law. Gun possession is already restricted. In the end the only thing gun laws do is restrict legitimate, law abiding citizens. The criminals do not buy guns through legal avenues, they do not register guns and they certainly are not going to abide by any regulations related to their illegal weaponry.

If the politicians want to know what action needs to be taken they need not go further than their own employees. The police of Toronto are on the front lines. They know and they see this violence and criminality everyday. They live in that world, politicians do not. I'll tell you what the police will say. Hell, it's what they've been saying all along. The judicial system needs to get it's ASS IN GEAR!! The judges that are far to lenient and far too often give out concurrent sentences. The crown attorney's that like to plead down far too many cases just to "save some money and time" for the courts. I don't give a DAMN how long it takes or how much money it costs. Take these thugs to trial and go for the MAX!!

It's bad enough that the sentences are minimal, but when they get to the "big house" and if they're good little inmates they will get out early, sometimes with as much as two thirds of their sentences off. So ten years is not ten years, it could be as little as three years with pre-trial time and good behavior. Pre-trial time, which is usually dished out as time and a half - what the hell is that? You're not working a legitimate job through Christmas or Easter, YOU'RE IN JAIL!!

If the politicians want to really make a difference and take a stand against gun violence there are laws that they could put in place. Mandatory minimum sentences for all violent and gun related crimes. Minimum sentences for gun related crime should be ten years. A full ten years of which must be served before even being considered for release. This minimal sentencing should also apply to young offenders. I don't care what anyone says, but when I was 15 years old I knew a hell of a lot more then adults gave me credit for. I certainly knew what it meant to take a life, to commit a crime and certainly knew that GUNS KILL!!

Politicians, special interest groups and criminal's parents also need to stop blaming society or poverty or locale. I grew up in Metro housing on welfare in a family of 5. No one in my family is a criminal. None of the people I grew up with in metro housing and with parents on welfare, killed a person. The two people I know that have been involved in murders were not in metro housing and never were. They were from middle to upper class families. They had big houses and nice cars. They could have went to college or university or back packed across Europe. I don't know if they did, we weren't tight. But my point is they could've and they did have whatever they wanted. But instead they chose to take another's life. They chose their paths and now they sit in prison for it, as they should.

Poverty and locale do not make you a criminal. YOU do!! There is some point that everyone must take responsibility and ownership of their own actions. Perhaps if these kids parents were teaching them that instead of blaming everyone else for their lot in life, perhaps then they would take some pride in what they do.... Instead of committing shameful acts such as opening fire on Yonge Street, in the middle of the day, on the busiest shopping day of the year. Perhaps then another 15 year old girl will not die and a family will not be devastated.

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