Where Is It Leading?


    How insightful it really is just now in Toronto when you think of the fact that, as I write, Toronto has gone through six months with the utter insanity of young and old gunners taking the lives, as of today, 54 citizens. As of yesterday, homicide Detective Jason Shankaran of Toronto Police said with ever deepening anger and frustration: “We’re all fed with people up getting senselessly gunned down in any neighborhood.” They are murdered by weapons in the hands of crazed citizens who often will probably be soaked in drugs and booze. What should be done with them?

     To tell you the practical truth the answer is “lock ‘em up.” Why? Because these people are, in my psychological experience, are probable psychopaths, which means they live without an ethic or a moral code. As of yesterday, I’ve worked briefly in connection such men in both Maritime and Ontario penitentiaries listening quietly as they smile and shake their heads, many of them actually laugh aloud as I give them a slight but, to them, satisfying smile. I mean it. That, in general I suggest, is the attitude of the psychopathic killers that Toronto now faces and, in one situation in affluent and comfortable Leaside, has probably seen it at its worst. (The Toronto police officers, have been digging up the decayed bodies for months.) I assure those of you in generally law abiding provinces, what has happened in this long drawn out burial incident is too horrible to describe in any honest detail.

            I expect that almost all, who engage in this, have either a low or a distorted IQ and as the years go by, they acquired no serious life purpose or sound lawful character. Sadly there’s still more to reflect upon. Their lives, in my experience, have not been effectively parented, and hence the individuals didn’t acquire character from the early presence of good parents because they had no good parents. Instead, even today, they have a gun in the pocket, so that, in the right time and the right situation they reach for it and, yes, as we know, they use it. Naturally, there are laws that almost always present in order to overcome the reckless past history of routine lawlessness. As an example consider handgun registration; it became law in 1934.  In theory that’s a fact but, truly the handgun is now rarely in a secure place with sound principle, either in the US or Canada.       

     For example, years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower, who led from The White House from 1953 to 1961, took a very skeptical view of those who carried a handgun. “I see no true justification,” he said, “to own a handgun and utilize it. Every gun that is made, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger, and are not fed, as well as those who are cold and are without clothing….” He said that in the later sixties, so it’s is clear that Five Star General Dwight Eisenhower and his noble view of not acquiring a personal gun, never went far in the aggressive culture of today’s U.S.A. Sadly, the situation in Canada today, isn’t far behind, indeed now rapidly adopting the American muscular philosophy. I’m deeply concerned that this Toronto impulse will become the way of life across the nation. Many years ago, Vladimir Lenin, a rascal of a man, urged the acquisition of private weapons. His rationale: “One man with a gun,” he said, “can control a hundred without one.” (Fantastic!  How humane that man was!) 

         Given what’s happening in Toronto, we have a lot of serious pondering to do. We simply can’t leave it all in the hands of the police who are not scholars of sociology and philosophy. In my view, we have to apply a long term practice, in which social science and good schooling lead the way. I know, I know, that it will take time and talent, by good social workers and wise and insightful teachers. Many of us will not be around to see this human improvement reach its goal – that boys stay in school as they certainly can, and acquire talent rather than the torch. The big danger is that a teenager hooks up with “a gang” which almost always can reach for the gun to provide a measure of security and power, but in fact is the most destructive path to criminality. That criminality is not just their burden but the community’s desecration and ultimate destruction. Take the example of a young woman, last March, who with her husband at a bowling alley, was the innocent victim, of a random shooting.

    This is a perfect example of why the society we live in, should create a band of social workers and outreach experts, who can reduce or at least control the random and highly dangerous young criminals. This may well be foreign to Toronto, but as the insightful Toronto Star editorial board wrote a few weeks ago, we must create segments of society who are qualified and will apply their social insights. As it has said:  “Instead of increasing police budgets and swarming high crime neighborhoods with heavily armed officers, as it has in the past, city council should hire more outreach workers who can reduce violence through intervention programs that aid troubled youths. It’s worked in such cities as Glasgow, Boston and Minneapolis and it could work here, too – if only city council members would sit up and take notice, says Irvin Waller, a professor at the University of Ottawa.

     Canada and perhaps even more, Toronto, is in a dichotomy, but also has the insight and intellect to move on to a creative and constructive practice and thereby a better future. A week or so ago, at our cottage, I was reading an essay by the late Leo Buscaglia , once a professor at the Southern California University and author of numerous insightful books. Among his recognized insights he said something I found constructive for us and our society at this stage: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest bit of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a person around…It’s time and it should be in our thinking for our future…”. He’s right. For them and for us.